This module is a resource for lecturers
Other United Nations Processes
Relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council
On 2 August 2017, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted UN Security Council Resolution 2370 (2017) on preventing terrorists from acquiring weapons, particularly small arms and light weapons. By the resolution, the UNSC strongly condemns the continued flow of weapons, military equipment, unmanned aircraft systems and their components, and improvised explosive device components to and between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da'esh), Al-Qaida, their affiliates, and associated groups, illegal armed groups and criminals. The Council urges greater collective effort to eliminate the supply of weapons to terrorists and calls upon the UN Member States to counter threats posed by improvised explosive devices, and to become party to related international and regional instruments. The resolution, therefore, specifically aims to further enhance the effectiveness of instruments relating to disarmament and arms control implemented at the national, regional and international levels to curb the illicit flows of weapons.
Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts
SCR 1373 was adopted following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States of America. It established the Counter-Terrorism Committee and imposed binding obligations on all UN Member States. The goal of SCR 1373 (2001) is to contribute to increasing " the capacity of each nation's legislation and executive machinery to fight terrorism" (Rosand, 2003:334). In the resolution, the Security Council, among others, calls upon all States to " find ways of intensifying and accelerating the exchange of operational information, especially regarding actions or movements of terrorist persons or networks; forged or falsified travel documents; traffic in arms, explosives or sensitive materials". SCR 1373 (2001) remains today a key United Nations document in the field of counter-terrorism and retains its topicality.
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
The Secretary-General's Reports on small arms to the General Assembly
Since 2009, the Secretary-General (SG) of the United Nations informs the UNGA on various topics linked to small arms. The SG's first report focused on promoting development through the reduction and prevention of armed violence. It examined the different aspects of the relationship between armed violence and development and placed emphasis on tackling the risks and effects of armed violence and underdevelopment.
In 2014, the SG informed the UNGA about the recent developments in small arms and light weapons manufacturing, technology and design and implications for the implementation of the ITI. The report highlighted the main new trends and innovations in small arms manufacture and design and evaluated them with respect to the purposes and principles of the ITI.
In 2016, the SG provided feedback to the UNGA on the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. The report focuses on governments' responsibilities to address the risk of diversion and illicit circulation of arms and ammunition, to improve storage conditions for small arms, and adopt adequate legislation for tracing and destruction of weapons.
The UN Register of Conventional Arms
The UN Register of Conventional Arms was established in 1991 as a key confidence building measure. It has received more than 170 reports from governments, which include information about transfers (imports and exports) of arms under seven major categories of conventional arms. Additionally, countries can report on small arms and light weapons. States have decided to continue working on expanding the scope of the Register and have deliberated various options through the Groups of Governmental Experts. These groups meet every three years and report to the General Assembly. States can also share information on the national arms export legislation and on what further policies the export decisions are based.
The Conference on Disarmament
The Conference on Disarmament (CD) was formed in 1979 as the " single multilateral disarmament negotiation forum of the international community", after agreement was reached among Member States during the first special session of the UNGA devoted to disarmament (Nuclear Threat Initiative, 2018). It constituted originally 40 members, however the number has increased to 65 after a decision in 1995 to include new members. The CD has discussed various issues, including nuclear weapons in all aspects, disarmament and development, reduction of armed forces, and conventional weapons.