As part of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), PPM attended the biennial meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Delegates from all nations gathered to discuss global efforts to reduce the proliferation, illicit trade and dangers of SALW. On the agenda were some rather technical issues such as stockpile management of small arms and physical security measures. Discussions evolved around implementing the UN Plan of Action regarding the issue of SALW, which gives guidance to states to exert arms control by creating laws that regulate the possession of guns, by enhancing border control against smuggling of arms, among many other pressing issues.
The biennial meeting was a great opportunity for civil society activists to lobby directly to the delegates, bringing forward their concerns. Many, but not all countries from the MENA regionas well as the Arab League had sent representatives to this important meeting, and there were opportunities for PPM to do lobbying activities with the Arab delegates, encouraging states from the MENA region to implement the UN Plan of Action in their respective countries and to report to the United Nations about the progress of their efforts.
In the morning session on Thursday, the floor was open to NGOs. An IANSA representative gave a passionate speech about the need to reduce the danger of small arms worldwide. Victims of gun violence also took the floor to bring forward their sufferings – a man from Guatemala who had been shot in the back, and survived; and a father from the U.S. who had lost his six years old son in a shoot out at high school. In these two very moving speeches, they stated that the UN’s primary goal in these negotiations should be the reducing of human suffering.