Last week was a great week at the United Nations for progress on disarmament! There were a number of major developments targeting the distribution, trade, regulation and possible elimination of weapons.
First, the United States finally signed on to the Arms Trade Treaty. This Treaty, adopted by the UN General Assembly in April 2013, represents the first global regulation of the arms trade industry. Its goal is to promote peace and security by restricting the flow of weapons into conflict zones.
The UN Security Council furthered these aims by passing its first resolution restricting the trade in illicit small arms. The resolution notes that small arms are an impediment to peace-building everywhere and explicitly mentions their ‘disproportionate impact on violence perpetrated against women and girls, and exacerbating sexual and gender-based violence’. The Security Council also called for an increase in women’s participation in disarmament efforts.
The first ever UN High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament also took place on Thursday, with world leaders – including representatives from Iran – committing to take steps forward in the regulation and elimination of nuclear weapons. Syria’s use of chemical weapons was also addressed, with the Security Council passing a resolution calling for the country’s stockpile of weapons to be destroyed and for a peaceful political transition.