Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the UN Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat, Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects
At the outset, please allow me to join other speakers in congratulating you for your election as the President of this Second Review Conference. We are confident that your able leadership will lead us to a successful outcome. I would like hereby to reaffirm our support to you and your team.
I would also like to seize this opportunity to congratulate the Vice-Presidents and the members of the Bureau on their election, and welcome the appointment of Australia, Egypt, Guyana and Japan, as facilitators.
Excessive and destabilizing accumulation and uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons pose a significant threat to global, regional and national peace and security. The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons also threatens the social and economic development of many countries. Furthermore, there is a close interrelationship between their illicit trade, and terrorism, organized crime as well as drug and human trafficking. Turkey’s recent history has bitter memories of human suffering from the accumulation of small arms and light weapons in the hands of terrorist organizations. Therefore, Turkey has always been, and will continue to be, a staunch supporter of international cooperation to combat and eradicate illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
We therefore regard the UN Programme of Action as a milestone document. We believe that it constitutes is the starting point to the only global action in the fight against the illicit trade and use of small arms and light weapons. We are convinced that its implementation constitutes a concrete contribution to global peace and stability.
Much progress has been achieved since the adoption of the UN PoA in 2001. However, we still have not been able to implement it fully. We should redouble our efforts and make best use of this Conference.
It is obvious that our goal in this Conference is not to re-negotiate the UN PoA. Nonetheless, we believe that the Conference, while focusing on progress made in the implementation of both the PoA and the International Tracing Instrument, could also identify new measures to strengthen them.
I would like to draw your attention to few general and cross-cutting views that we would like to share, regarding the implementation of the PoA at national, regional and global levels. We believe that these areas could further be strengthened:
- Transfer controls lie at the heart of the matter. Improving transfer controls, without prejudicing legal transactions between states, is among the areas where further substantive work is required.
- End-user documentation, has fundamental importance for the prevention of diversion, and which should be dealt together with transfer controls.
- Marking, record-keeping and tracing should be further improved. We continue to believe that the International Tracing Instrument, despite its shortcomings, helps to further international cooperation and implementation of the UN PoA.
- International and regional cooperation should be fostered in assisting countries in need of ensuring effective management and physical security of their stockpiles.
- Transparency and information sharing would certainly help promote consistency in the implementation of agreed standards and measures. The PoA should attempt to improve transparency and information sharing, which in the long run, would bring more consistency and confidence to the implementation process.
- Training and capacity building for law enforcement agencies, in particular customs authorities, carries special importance.
- International cooperation and assistance are fundamental to the successful implementation of the UN PoA and other relevant documents and measures. The gap between available resources and needs should be filled appropriately.
Additionally, there are many efforts and instruments that are complementary to the PoA, at national, regional and international levels. There are others that could be devised, such as a legally-binding instrument to regulate the transfer of conventional arms, including small arms and light weapons.
All three levels, national, regional and international, are equally important and mutually reinforcing. The best practices at all three levels should be closely examined and utilized to strengthen the PoA where appropriate.
We welcome revised drafts of the outcome documents. We believe that they are a good basis for our work in the coming days. We remain ready to cooperate with you, the facilitators and other delegations during the consideration of the Outcome documents.