Tackling the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons

This monograph is a modified version of a background paper prepared for a conference that took place in Ottawa, Canada in May 2001, bringing together representatives of the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS), non-governmental organizations and civil society to discuss issues related to the July 2001 United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.

This version takes into account the Programme of Action (PoA) adopted by the UN Member States as well as other emerging or consolidated initiatives in the western hemisphere.

The UN Conference brought to urgent international attention the need to prevent the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons. One of the key considerations of the conference was the PoA’s interaction with the multiple regional measures and initiatives already in place, such as the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (the Inter-American Convention) adopted by the OAS in 1997. 

The Inter-American Convention had previously proved an important regional forerunner and building block towards the development of the UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts, Components and Ammunition.