Tuesday 17th June 2014
Summary (PDF at bottom of page)
17 June 2014 – Morning Session
The third meeting of the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States was called to order by moderator, Anthony Simpson, of New Zealand. This session debated on the implementation of ITI for states to identify and trace small arms and light weapons and their ammunitions in a timely manner as contained in document a/conf/192/bms/2004/1. Two brief presentations were made on the related topic as proposed by the chair.
The first presentation was by Ms. Virginia Gamba, Deputy to High Representative of Disarmament Affairs, in response to states’ request to the Secretary General. The aim of this presentation was to provide a brief overview to the challenges and new solutions for the implementation of the PoA and ITI. Three main points were addressed in her presentation, they are as follows: new features of designing and manufacturing technology pose challenges to traditional ways of tracing and marking mechanisms (i.e. use of polymer materials, and 3D printing); technology development produces new methods of marking and tracing the weapons (i.e. print codes and micro-stamping); sustainable international assistance in technology transfer is needed for training and regional harmonization.
The second presentation was by Jeffrey Sterling of INTERPOL on the firearms tracing component of the agenda. According to M. Sterling, iArms provides three separate and distinct tools: records management system, ballistic fingerprint of bullets and ammunition, and the INTERPOL firearms reference table. With the use of these tools, the ultimate ambition of iArms is to build a global database on any lost or stolen weapon. INTERPOL has accounted for 121 countries that use iArms which is an impressive number given the total INTERPOL membership is 190 and the program has only begun in January of 2013. Thus far, INTERPOL has over 300,000 firearms recorded and 1,088 traces. Finally, M. Sterling emphasized the integrative nature of iArms with other weapons tracing tools such as the European Union’s eTrace.
After the Chair opened the discussion EU, Jamaica (CARICOM), Qatar (Arab Group), Egypt, Japan, Algeria, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Costa Rica, People’s Republic of China, France, Peru, Liberia, Belgium, Armenia, Brazil, the United States of America, Czech Republic, India, Guatemala, Venezuela, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Qatar (Arab Group), Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Zambia, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Benin, and Spain took the floor in the above mentioned order.
Algeria, Austria, Benin, CARICON, EU, France, India, Peru, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Zambia showed their full support of the implementation of ITI; Algeria, Austria, Brazil, Japan, Qatar (Arab Group) recognized it is an important instrument which complements the PoA. Costa Rica and Guatemala suggested the inclusion of ammunition in ITI. India suggested it is particularly important to review its implementation and believed there should be full reporting as part of the national reports. Algeria mentioned the final document must fully respect the sovereignty and national integrity of states and national laws as under Article 51 of the UN Charter.Australia, Malaysia, European Union, France welcomed the meeting of experts in 2015. Belgium encouraged other supplemental documents to the ITI including UNSC 2117 and re-established the need for SALW to be strongly regulated within the arms trade treaty. CARICOM, Costa Rica, France, United Kingdom, mentioned that the ITI should be legally binding, while Kazakhstan emphasized the ITI should be left for states to decide the nature of their commitment.
A number of nation states including Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, European Union, France, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, the United States of America, Zambia all stressed the importance of implementing tracing mechanisms in combating illicit trade of SALW. Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, European Union, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, mentioned that these mechanisms are especially important in conflict and post-conflict regions.Belgium and Japan encourage the exchange of tracing results at national, regional, and international level. Spain and Zambia urged the adoption of a universal marking mechanism for SALW; at the same time, Czech Republic suggested the creation of a robust system of tracing which prevents transfer of legal weapons into illicit channels. At the same time,Venezuela raised the concern that technology in the fabrication of SALW seems to go at a faster pace then technology in the tracing of such weapons. Australia, Belgium, Netherlands pointed out tracing should be seen in conjunction with DDR and SSR to increase the effectiveness of arms control measures, and for broader instruments for conflict prevention.
Armenia, Austria, Belgium, European Union, Guatemala, Nigeria, Spain, the United States of America, Zambia stressed cooperation and information exchange as important at sub regional, regional, and international levels. Guatemala suggested the information should be accessible to all nation states and recording of corresponding ballistic info as well. On the issue of submitting and receiving tracing requests, Australia and Brazil promised to provide responses to tracing requests from other states in an accurate and timely manner. Zambia pointed out the importance of international cooperation on border controls.
In terms of the responsibilities of arms producing states, Argentina, Belgium, Botswana, Czech Republic and People’s Republic of China agreed that a level of responsibility lies with arms manufacturing states to adequately mark and trace their weapons. People’s Republic of China noted that this would be necessary for improving global tracing abilities. In addition, The People’s Republic of China urged arms producing states to promote their best practices and that all nations should draw strength from one another’s experiences on a basis of voluntary cooperation. CARICOM and Venezuela addressed the problem of limited resources and unlimited demands within the developing nations. Therefore CARICOM called for a comprehensive international assistance framework on resources, training, capacity building, as well as technical support.
Several states mentioned the importance of the iArms tool in providing a common global platform for information exchange, reaffirmed their utilization of iArms and encouraged its use in weapons management agencies globally. Belgium, Botswana, European Union, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, and United Kingdom are amongst the nations who encourage the use of iArms. The European Union also mentioned the faculty of eTrace and encourages the integration of iArms and eTrace to garner the most data for exchange. Spain also suggested that all nations standardize their various databases to include iArms. The United States however, wanted to draw a clear distinction between a tracing tool and an information exchange tool. According the United States delegation, iArms is not a tracing tool; tracing tools follow supply lines from the point of manufacture to the point of demand, or diversion.
Marking of small arms and light weapons was another component of the thematic debate. Botswana, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Spain all made particular reference to the procedures of marking. Malaysia recalled that according to the ITI marking should be of national prerogative. Kazakhstan also makes a point that the ITI leaves it up to states to decide the standards of their markings, but also demands that national standards are fully complied with internally and markings must be recoverable. Colombia elucidated new technology in their domestic marking capacities through laser marking machinery that is now used by their military industry. Spain proposed that an international tracking instrument focused on marking of arms and ammunitions that universalize marking systems prior to their sale would reduce the possibility of weapons entering the illicit market. Botswana stated that they had complete a programme of marking for stated owned SALW and would shortly begin one for all civilian possessed SALW.
Several nation states addressed the importance of legal enforcement nationally and internationally. Costa Rica stated nations must include in their national firearms laws and regulations People’s Republic of China, Qatar (Arab Group), Republic of Korea emphasized establishing legal framework should be accordance with national legislation.
All delegations made some mention of the effects of new technology on the marking and tracing of small arms. There is a dichotomous outcome of technology enhancement: the availability of new methods to mark and trace weapons but simultaneously the use of technology to create weapons impervious to marking and tracing and further enhancing the illicit market trade. For example, Japan notes the challenges made by the emergence and growing ubiquity of 3D printers. Jamaica highlighted the challenges posed with the new use of polymer materials and modular designs, the former making permanent marking more difficult and the latter enabling multi-calibers, which are not accounted for by the ITI. Finally, Venezuela flagged the difficulty that developing nations face in keeping up with the technology required to trace new types of weapons. Without access to the appropriate materials and resources, developing nations are severely disadvantaged in preventing the illicit SALW trade due to technology improvements in weapons production. Nigeria stated that they were open to new, progressive and implementable technologies, if the objective was to help member states.
Armenia, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Costa Rica, European Union, Malaysia, South Africa also presented their national achievement in terms of national law enforcement, regional, and international cooperation in combating the illicit trade of SALW. Australia and the European Union indicated assistance that they provided to the nations in need. Benin thanked international aid providers for the assistance they have thus far received.
17 June 2014 – Afternoon Session
The afternoon session on Tuesday began with Daniel Prins responding to a number of questions that had been posed in the morning.
Mr. Prins clarified for South Africa that his references to request from member states, in his morning presentation on national reports, concerned assistance requests for capacity building and not tracing requests. South Africa then highlighted that the high number of requests for assistance underscored the fact that many states still need assistance in implementing the PoA.
Mr. Prins also responded to Egypt’s question about technology transfer, referencing p.53 from the Secretary Generals report on technology. Egypt highlighted that the transfer of technology was a key element in developing sustainable assistance. Mr. Prins responded that the principle of technology transfer is vitally important and that it is necessary to ensure the implementation and choice of technology was embedded in wider plans for compatibility and maintenance.
Following this dialogue there was a very short continuation of the morning’s discussions, which only saw three countries take the floor. As such, their statements have been included in the thematic summary above. The order of speakers in the afternoon was: Austria, Botswana and Nigeria.
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