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Nordic Statement at the UN SC Open Debate on Small Arms and Light Weapons

Joint Nordic Statement delivered by Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden
at the United Nations Security Council meeting
on “The impact of the diversion and trafficking of arms on peace and security”,
New York, 22 November 2021

Mr. Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country, Sweden.

Let me start by thanking Mexico for convening this important meeting, and the briefers for valuable insights.

The illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their ammunition are key drivers of conflict and armed violence at the national, regional and global levels. They facilitate organized crime, impede humanitarian assistance and endanger civilians, including women and children. Therefore, we must intensify our efforts to combat all irresponsible and illegal trade in or use of SALW. As highlighted in the UN Secretary General’s seventh biennial report on SALW, our efforts must pay special attention to the serious effects of uncontrolled arms flows on children and youths.

The UN Programme of Action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects (UN PoA) and its International Tracing Instrument are important tools for reducing the threats posed by uncontrolled SALW. The Nordic countries are also firm supporters of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which provides fundamental norms for responsible trade in conventional arms. Innovative approaches and the promotion of synergies between relevant instruments, as well as regional initiatives, will be vital in advancing our joint efforts on SALW control.

Advancing the integration of gender perspectives across the entire spectrum of disarmament and arms control is a key priority for the Nordic countries. The serious effects of weapons on sexual and gender-based violence cannot be stressed enough. To address the gendered impacts of SALW, we should strive to streamline SALW control efforts with the women, peace and security agenda, including by ensuring the full and equal participation of women in disarmament dialogues.

The consequences of uncontrolled or illicit flows of SALW go far beyond the immediate human impact of armed violence – it seriously hampers attempts for economic and social development. As highlighted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament, uncontrolled flows of arms and ammunition is a global development issue which must be addressed in a comprehensive manner. The Nordic countries are longtime supporters of work in SALW control in several countries and regions, and we support several UNODA programs such as UNSCAR, research institutions, the ATT Voluntary Trust Fund, the Saving Lives Entity, civil society actors and bilateral cooperation projects to this end.

Thank you.

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