We are half-way through the Third Review Conference (RevCon3) of the UN Program of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons celebrated at the UN Headquarters in New York 18-29 June 2018. During the first week, member states provided their views and gave statements on their priorities and commitments to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. The inclusion of gender perspectives and provisions as part of the outcome document that will be agreed by all state members, was highly supported.
The interventions were followed by a series of side events to expand delegates’ knowledge on the linkages of gender-related issues and armed violence. For instance, if governments are looking forward to detect early warning indicators of the causes of armed violence, they need to apply a comprehensive dynamic approach to understand in which ways armed violence affects women, men, girls and boys differently.
RevCon3 President, Ambassador Jean-Claude Brunet, has remained committed to providing an outcome document that reflects the priorities of each member state but also listening carefully to the needs of civil society organisations and representatives. The upcoming debate and side events this week in New York will provide Member States an opportunity to present formal, on-the-record statements, and encourage further efforts to implement meaningful policies and procedures.
Mainstreaming gender provisions across the UNPoA instrument remains an important part of the conversations between member states. Aspects such as adapting national legislation to ensure equal representation of women and men in decision-making is part of this debate. Furthermore, since women and men represent an important role in actively addressing situations of armed violence and conflict at the national and international level. This premise was supported by the Australian delegation during the General Exchange of Views: ‘Gender is an essential element in any final outcome of this RevCon’.
The final outcome document will be delivered on Friday 29th with the closing of the Third Review Conference at the UN in New York.
Catch up on some of the biggest supporters of Gender and the UNPoA
CARICOM: Secretary-General Guterres, in his May 2018 report on Securing our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament, outlined that ‘Greater efforts are needed to achieve equal, full and effective participation of women in all decision-making processes related to disarmament’. The role of women should be recognized and encouraged in keeping with SC resolution 1325 and other related GA resolutions including 71/56 on Women, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. We must build on the important progress made during BMS6 regarding ensuring that gender perspectives are fully incorporated in our deliberations.
Australia: Australia also welcomes the references to gender specific issues in the President’s most recent draft outcome document and see these as essential elements in any final outcome of this RevCon.
Canada: Mr. Chair, we wish to note that we were particularly pleased to see that a meaningful portion of the draft outcome document specifically addressed gender issues. Canada is sensitive to how illicit transfers of small arms and light weapons can fuel the differential gendered impacts of armed violence.
Germany: Germany further believes that the role of women in security needs to be strengthened, inter alia by more explicit and effective integration of Security Council
Resolution 1325 into the PoA.
Slovenia: The promotion of women’s rights is one of our national priorities, as well as a priority within the Human Rights Council that Slovenia currently presides. Gender equality is also one of the recurring themes of Slovenian Chairmanship of the
OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation. We held a special meeting on Women, Peace and Security and are including a gender perspective in all other events, including the one devoted to the issue of SALW.
Netherlands: the Netherlands fully supports the recognition and integration of gender as a factor into all cycles of small arms control. The linkages between small arms control and gender are increasingly demonstrated in research. Disaggregated data is crucial for conducting such research. We would like to urge those collecting data for all types of research to take this into account.
Sweden: Sweden wishes to emphasize the importance of applying a gender perspective in the implementation of the PoA. Mainstreaming gender issues and fully integrating a gender perspective into all aspects of small arms control is of utmost importance in addressing the consequences of illicit arms flows. We must ensure the equal participation and representation of women in policymaking, planning and implementation processes related to the PoA and the ITI. We also need to recognize that armed violence affects women, men, girls and boys differently. While both women and men can be victims and perpetrators of armed -violence, cases where small arms contribute to acts of sexual or gender-based violence are of particular concern.
Ireland: … It also remains essential to fully integrate the gender perspective to all efforts of preventing and combating the risk of the misuse, diversion and illicit circulation of small arms and light weapons so that the gendered aspects of armed violence are adequately addressed. We must also ensure the full and active participation of all – men as well as women – in decision making processes.
For more statements go to the RevCon3 official website at https://www.un.org/disarmament/convarms/revcon3/