April 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 March 2010
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Small Arms

Expected Council Action
The Secretary-General is expected to submit a report on small arms in the coming weeks. Given the recent Council debate on this issue, and the Council presidential statement adopted on 19 March, no Council action is expected.

For additional background, please see our 12 March 2010 Update Report on Small Arms in Central Africa.

On 29 June 2007 the Council requested biennial reports on small arms starting in 2008. The last Secretary-General’s report, dated 17 April 2008, widened the discussion from the original area of illicit trafficking of small arms to such issues as production, marking and tracing, illicit brokering, end-use verification, ammunition and stockpiles.

Key Recent Developments
At the initiative of Gabon, the Council held a debate on 19 March on the impact of illicit small arms and light weapons on peace and security in the Central African region. Twenty-seven member states made statements during the debate. In a presidential statement adopted at the conclusion of the debate, the Council:

  • reiterated that small arms pose a threat to peace and fuel armed conflict and that states should effectively implement existing arms embargoes;
  • recognised the importance of the forthcoming UN Fourth Biennial Meeting of States (BMS) in June 2010 to consider the implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects; and
  • requested the Secretary-General to take the content of the presidential statement into account in his upcoming biennial report.

Key Issues
Key issues for the Council in the future include:

  • the relative roles of the Council and the General Assembly in addressing the issue of small arms and light weapons, and
  • how best to take supportive action on the small arms issue in the way it has recently taken up several times the question of drugs and transnational criminal threats.

Options for the Council include:

  • deferring consideration of the report until late in the year; or
  • adopting a press or presidential statement that will encourage the BMS process by responding to particular recommendations in the Secretary-General’s report.

Council and Broader Dynamics
Council members are in general agreement on the importance of continuing to address the issue of small arms. However, it does not appear the Council as a whole is prepared to take further action in April given the focus on the issue in March.

Several Council members are sensitive to the fact that an arms trade treaty is currently under discussion in the General Assembly and appear to favour holding off on any further action until after the BMS in June.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2010/6 (24 March 2010) was adopted at the conclusion of the thematic debate on small arms and light weapons and the Central African region.
  • S/PRST/2007/24 (29 June 2007) inter alia requested biennial small arms reports from the Secretary-General starting in 2008.

Selected Report of the Secretary-General

  • S/2008/258 (17 April 2008) was the last report on small arms.

Selected Security Council Debate on Small Arms

  • S/PV.6288 and resumption 1 (19 March 2010) was the thematic debate on small arms and light weapons and the Central African region.

Full forecast