A landmark resolution to tackle the devastating impacts of small arms and light weapons (SALW) was adopted by the United Nations Security Council today. The adoption signals a major step forward in international cooperation on arms control and is the first time that the Security Council has ever adopted a resolution on this subject.

Resolution S/RES/2117 brings together a broad range of tools and actions for the UN Security Council to use to prevent the destabilising accumulation, illicit transfer and misuse of small arms and light weapons. These include provisions relating to improving the use of arms embargoes, mandating peace operations to conduct disarmament programs and calling for nations to ensure the strong involvement of women in disarmament activities.

The resolution references the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in its preamble and as an operative paragraph where it urges States to consider signing and ratifying the Treaty as soon as possible, and further encourages States and other actors to offer assistance in capacity-building so as to enable implementation.

It was adopted by a vote of 14 in favour, with Russia abstaining, and as part of a high level meeting convened by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke at the meeting and stated that, “Small arms are a source of crises, conflict and criminality.” In addition to the ministers and representatives of the Council’s 15 members, the meeting also heard from Christine Beerli, Vice-President of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The majority of statements referenced the ATT and welcomed its opening for signature earlier this year and encouraged other States to sign or ratify it as quickly as possible.

Control Arms applauds the leadership of Australia in this initiative, and welcomes the adoption of the resolution by Members of the Security Council.

Photo: AP/Mary Altaffer

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