United Nations Leadership Launches Initiative Against Unregulated Small Arms Circulation

United Nations Secretary-General: António Guterres

“The United Nations has sought to tackle the widespread availability of illicit small arms and ammunition from many angles: peace and security, gender equality, sustainable development, transnational crime, counter-terrorism and humanitarian action. United Nations peacekeepers often work on disarmament programmes around the world; they are an integral part of our work on sustaining peace.

But our work has been spread across twenty different agencies. It is fragmented and limited.

I am therefore launching a new initiative to combat the illicit circulation and trade in small arms at the national level and across borders. I will dedicate resources within the Peacebuilding Fund to support government action on illicit small arms and light weapons, including collection and destruction, and the development of legal and policy frameworks.

United Nations peacekeepers work on disarmament programmes around the world.

My initiative will have a strong basis also in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the world’s blueprint for peace and prosperity on a healthy planet.

Excessive spending on weapons drains resources for sustainable development. It is incompatible with creating stable, inclusive societies, strong institutions, effective governance and democracy, and a culture of respect for human rights.

And there is also a strong gender dimension to this work. Almost universally, guns are infused with masculine characteristics. Men make up the overwhelming majority of the owners and users of firearms. Women are several times more likely to be victims of gun violence than perpetrators.

The presence of excessive and unregulated firearms exacerbates gender-based violence and shores up traditional gender roles and power relations. We must prevent a culture of violence and bloodshed, and a cycle that is difficult to break.

Disarmament prevents and ends violence.

Disarmament supports sustainable development.

And disarmament is true to our values and principles.”

Source: Extract from speech on given on May 24th, 2018 by United Nations Secretary-General His Excellency António Guterres at the University of Geneva, Switzerland at the launch of the UN Disarmament Agenda


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