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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Dibattito Aperto su “The Impact of Diversion and Trafficking of Arms for Peace and Security”

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Stefano Stefanile, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Dibattito Aperto in Consiglio di Sicurezza su “The Impact of Diversion and Trafficking of Arms for Peace and Security” —

Mr. President,

I wish to express Italy’s sincere appreciation to Mexico for convening this debate and for dedicating special attention to the global challenge of the trafficking of arms. I also wish to thank the briefers for their contributions.

Italy aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union and would like to add the following remarks in its national capacity.

First off, I wish to reiterate Italy’s enduring commitment to all international efforts – particularly within multilateral fora – to curb the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons. We attach the utmost importance to the universalization of all relevant multilateral instruments and we will continue to work toward the effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty, the UNPoA, the International Tracing Instrument, and the Palermo Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition.

The illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons constitutes a very serious threat to peace and security in every region of the world. There can’t be no underestimation of the devastating consequences of the widespread and illegal availability of these weapons: it contributes to instability, violence, and insecurity and undermines the effectiveness of development efforts.

The risk posed by illegal arms flows has steadily evolved to the extent that, today, arms trafficking is not only associated with transnational organized crime, but also and increasingly with terrorist entities. The use of online marketplaces, including the Dark Web, to sell and acquire weapons creates further challenges for national governments and law enforcement agencies. Moreover, in recent years, non-state actors have improved their capabilities to design and produce improvised explosive devices. Mr. President,

Illegal arms trafficking is a key driver of violence and contributes to eroding institutional stability and the rule of law. The Security Council has often addressed this scourge by tasking peacekeeping operations with assistance to national authorities in controlling the flow of small arms, developing appropriate legal frameworks and improving law enforcement capabilities.

In light of the Secretary-General’s latest report on SALW, we encourage the Council to remain fully seized of the challenges posed by the illicit transfer, excessive accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons.

Mr. President,

It is important also to recall that illegal weapons usually start as legally produced and traded weapons. However, their irresponsible diversion and export can produce harmful effects and facilitate the spread of illegal flows. In recent decades, the international community has become increasingly aware of the pernicious consequences of illicit, unregulated, or irresponsible transfers of conventional arms in fueling conflicts. The Arms Trade Treaty is a crucial instrument that has the potential to mitigate this risk. We supported this year’s thematic focus of the Presidency of the Seventh Conference of States Parties on eradicating the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons and we consider this as a positive contribution to addressing human rights violations, terrorism phenomenon and gender-based violence.

Italy stands ready to actively contribute to the efforts of the international community to curb the accumulation and misuse of SALW and their ammunition, also by offering its cooperation to interested States and partners. In this regard, we welcome the successful outcome of the 7th Biennial Meeting of States of the UNPoA and continue to believe that applying the UNPoA provisions also to SALW ammunition would be beneficial. Moreover, we express our full support for the EU 2020-2025 Action Plan on Firearms Trafficking, which complements the Roadmap for a sustainable solution to the illegal possession, misuse and trafficking of small arms and light weapons in the Western Balkans.

Finally, let me stress the importance of including gender-based issues and perspectives in all negotiating tables, including when discussing strategies on non-proliferation and disarmament, conventional arms and SALW. In this spirit we welcome the significant progress made in the BMS7, and specifically the fact that the outcome document that called for the equal, full and effective participation of women in all processes related to the PoA.

I thank you, Mr. President.