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The United nation Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects was held in New York from 9–20 July 2001 as decided in United Nations General Assembly Resolution 54/54 V. Preceded by three preparatory committee sessions, the two-week Conference resulted in the adoption of the 'Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.'[1] States are required to report to the United Nations on the progress of their implementation of the UN Programme of Action, commonly known as the PoA.

The PoA was predicated upon a hypothesis that the illicit trade in small arms is a large and serious problem requiring global action through the UN. This hypothesis was ultimately disproven through progressive improvements in scholarship in the 2000s. The global size, scope, and impact of the entirely illicit international trade in small arms turned out to be much smaller and less of a concern to countries themselves than first hypothesized, with internal societal factors rising in relative importance. According to a well regarded 2012 Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution publication, "the relative importance of diversion or misuse of officially authorised transfers, compared to international entirely illegal black market trafficking has been thoroughly confirmed."[2] The authors go on to elaborate that..."For most developing or fragile states, a combination of weak domestic regulation of authorised firearms possession with theft, loss or corrupt sale from official holdings tends to be a bigger source of weapons concern than illicit trafficking across borders."[3] The United Nations General Assembly scheduled a review conference in New York[4] which was held from 26 June to 7 July 2006.[5] The Review Conference was plagued by disagreements and states were unable to agree on a substantive outcome document.[6] There have also been four Biennial Meetings of States to consider the implementation of the Programme of Action, in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2010. The 2008 Biennial Meeting of States resulted in the adoption, by vote,[7] of an Outcome Document[8] focusing on three main issues: international assistance, cooperation and capacity-building, stockpile management and surplus disposal and illicit brokering in small arms and light weapons. The Fourth Biennial Meeting in 2010 was able to adopt, for the first time by consensus, a substantive Outcome Document which addresses the issue of illicit trade across borders. A review conference of the Programme of Action is scheduled for 2012.

See alsoEdit


  1. "Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects". Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  2. Edited by Greene and Marsh (2012). Small Arms, Crime and Conflict: Global governance and the threat of armed violence.. London: Routledge Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution.. pp. 90. 
  3. Ibid, p. 91
  4. United Nations General Assembly Session 59 Resolution 86.- | / | A-RES-59-86 }} {{#strreplace: - | / | A-RES-59-86 }} 3 December 2004. Retrieved 2007-10-18.
  5. "2006 Small Arms Review Conference webpage". 
  6. "UN world conference on small arms collapses without agreement". 
  7. "Small Arms Conference Nets Agreement". 
  8. "Report of the Third Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the IllicArms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects". 

External linksEdit

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