On the fifth and final day of the second Meeting of Governmental Experts, the importance of the UNPoA and the ITI were once again emphasized, being globally recognized instruments. Member States urged each other to make use of these instruments that are already in place, to whatever extent possible in their respective countries. Other international instruments were also mentioned during the session, in particular the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and UN Security Council Resolutions. Member States including Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, and Sweden noted the importance of the possibility of synergies by using these international instruments and UNSC resolutions together. Cuba and Egypt, on the other hand, expressed that the UNPoA and ATT are two very different mechanisms and documents, and the difference should be more clearly distinguished by member states.
The issue of ammunition and marking and tracing thereof were mentioned by numerous member states. Australia, Austria, Brazil, CARICOM, Guatemala, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, and Sweden all believed that the issue of ammunition should be considered for further discussion. CARICOM encouraged technology transfer and information sharing among member states. Nigeria suggested that ammunition should be included in the ITI, while Portugal stated that ammunition should be considered in the UNPoA. Russian Federation, on the other hand, felt that the UNPoA did not need any changes made to the document. Brazil shared that all ammunition sold to the Brazilian government are marked. New Zealand also stated that in their country, ammunition can only be given with a license, and reminded member states that a weapon is ultimately useless without ammunition, thus the importance of discussions on ammunition.
Sweden raised the issue of education and awareness, emphasizing the importance of gun control, since guns do not fire by themselves, but rather by individuals who possess them. Sweden also raised the issue of permits. Many other member states agreed with the importance of education and awareness. The importance of international cooperation and assistance was once again reiterated by many member states.
After statements from member states, the Chair opened the floor for suggestions to the draft of the Chair’s summary of the meeting. Algeria, Belgium, Caricom, Cuba, Germany, India, Iran, Japan, Morocco, the US, and Venezuela all made minor suggestions to the Chair in order for the Chair’s summary to be more concise and provide more clarity.
The afternoon session saw the continuation of the informal consultation on the Chair’s Summary. European Union wished to support the view of inclusion of ammunition and the synergies of ATT and ITI in the draft report, and promised its continued support and implementation of international assistance and knowledge and technology transfers.
The meeting then proceeded to consider Agenda Item 10, “Consideration and adoption of the report of the meeting.” The Chair noted the circulation of the draft Chair’s Summary, and asked the meeting to consider and adopt it. Algeria, Argentina, Cuba, Ecuador, Islamic Republic of Iran, Morocco and New Zealand took to the floor to make comments and suggestions. Algeria, Argentina, Cuba and Ecuador expressed concerns over the number of blanks within the report. Islamic Republic of Iran and Morocco suggested methods to clarify and best reflect the outcome of the meetings.
After a short break to resolve the issues at hand with the contending states, the Chair ran through the Summary paragraph by paragraph to be approved by the meeting. The Chair’s Summary was subsequently approved and authority entrusted to the Chair and the Secretariat to complete the report after the meeting’s conclusion. Morocco, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (representing CARICOM) and Sierra Leone took the floor to make concluding remarks. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines highlighted the need for further international cooperation and knowledge and technology transfers, as well as the major challenge posed by training and capacity-building. Sierra Leone called on NGOs to help states assess and manage stockpiles and the UNODA to further efforts in transfer of knowledge and weapons destruction.
The Chairs draft summary of MGE2 can be found here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/unoda-web/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/20150604-Draft_Chairs_Summary-MGE2.pdf