Permanent Mission of Iceland to the United Nations
Third Biennial Meeting of States 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
Priority Issues and other Issues
New York, 16 July 20008
Allow me to congratulate you on your election as Chair of this meeting and other members of the bureau. We appreciate your excellent work and able preparations by the facilitators for our main items of discussion. Our congratulations go also to the UNODA, in particular for the Implementation Support System that was introduced last Monday.
At the outset, I would like to reiterate Iceland’s strong support for the Programme of Action and full implementation of the International Tracing Instrument. I will be brief in my comments. Iceland’s implementation of the Programme of Action and the International Tracing Instrument is laid out in detail in its national report, which can be accessed on this meeting’s website.
As I did not take the floor last Monday, in spite of your gentle encouragement, I hope you will allow me first to make very brief points on our previous items of discussion. On the subject of cooperation, assistance and national capacity building, among the projects Iceland is supporting are the destruction of small arms, munitions and “manpads” in the Ukraine, enhancement of physical security and stockpile management in Afghanistan and an ammunition destruction facility in Jordan.
On illicit brokering, Iceland would like to associate itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of France on behalf of the European Union. On stockpile management, we can fully support the comments made by the distinguished representative of Norway yesterday. In addition we would like to emphasize the necessity of taking a comprehensive approach to the management of stocks of arms and ammunition.
The importance for all our countries and peoples of making progress in combating the illicit trade in small arms, as well as their ammunition, can hardly be underestimated. It constitutes a threat to human security, human rights and humanitarian law. It threatens peace building efforts and hampers development. In this connection, I would like to recall the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence. We welcome the planned summit review conference planned for this fall. I would also like to recall here the importance of including gender perspectives in our considerations for strengthening the Programme of Action.
Iceland is among those countries that have advocated for the conclusion of binding legal instruments on brokering in small arms and light weapons, as well as on marking and tracing. This is why we are following closely the preparatory work for an arms trade treaty. Hopefully the necessary elements on small arms can be included in such an instrument. At the same time, we would like to recall the importance of the Protocol on the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. We hope that membership will become universal.
Finally Mr. Chairman, I would like to emphasize the importance of enhanced co-operation between all stakeholders, governments, national and local, international as well as regional organizations and civil society, including NGO’s and research institutions. We express our appreciation to those Governments and others that have contributed to events on this issue. In particular I would like to draw attention to the successful conference for regional organizations on implementation of the Programme of Action, held in Brussels 28-30 May. I understand that we will be offered a presentation on its conclusions during this week.
Mr. Chairman, please be assured of our delegation’s full support for you and the work ahead.