Promoting effective global action on small arms: Emerging agendas for the 2006 UN Review Conference

This discussion paper in the Biting the Bullet series identifies and discusses emerging issues and priorities for the July 2006 Review Conference for the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects.

This first Review Conference is a major international event. It provides the first formal international opportunity to review and strengthen the UN Programme of Action (PoA) since it was agreed in July 2001.

This discussion paper identifies and discusses emerging issues and priorities. It particularly focuses on identifying realistic and potentially negotiable objectives for the 2006 Review Conference.

In principle, the 2006 Review Conference could aim to revise and strengthen the existing PoA document itself. There would be strong arguments for doing this, if there were reasonable prospects that consensus could be achieved on a revised and developed text. However, experience shows that it is difficult to revise and develop the main body of an international agreement once it has been agreed. There is a risk that the resulting revised document is no stronger, or perhaps weaker, than the original.