UN to address small arms trafficking

The eighth biennial meeting on implementing the UN’s principal small arms trafficking agreement begins today in New York.  The unanimously-adopted

The UN’s principal small arms trafficking agreement begins today in New York – Photo: Kola Sulaimon/AFP via Getty Images

The eighth biennial meeting on implementing the UN’s principal small arms trafficking agreement begins today in New York. 

The unanimously-adopted 2001 UN Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons calls on member-states to improve national small arms laws, import-export controls and stockpile management. The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development directly addresses firearms trafficking. 

While discussions typically focus on the domestic impact of small arms trafficking, expect this biennial meeting to debate the role of firearms movement in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A major component of NATO’s strategy is supplying Ukrainian armed forces with a steady stream of weapons, both of a small and large capacity. The Pentagon, for example, announced just last Thursday that the US would double the number of medium to long-range missile launchers it is shipping to Ukraine. Russia has similarly waged proxy war by funneling military aid to allied Belarusian military forces. 

Expect the political controversy surrounding the war to largely derail discussions, driving delegates’ focus away from typical domestic issues of concern, like mass shootings, terrorism, gang violence and guerrilla insurgencies. 

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