Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)

2018/11/20

Background

Small arms and light weapons are increasingly being called “the de-facto weapons of mass destruction” since they fuel conflict around the world and destabilize post-conflict societies. In 1995, considerable discussion occurred amongst the international community in response to the UN Secretary-General, Boutros-Boutros Ghali’s book entitled, “Supplement to an Agenda for Peace,” which stressed the urgent need for restrictions on small arms.
The same year, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to prepare a report on small arms with the assistance of a panel of governmental experts. This panel submitted its report in August 1997, producing 24 specific proposals. One of these recommended the holding of an international conference on the illicit arms trade, and in July 2001 the UN Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons was convened in New York. As an outcome of this meeting, the UN member states adopted, by consensus, the Programme of Action (PoA) on Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.
Japan has long been active in the field of small arms and light weapons, submitting a resolution on this issue to the UNGA almost every year since 1995, and together with Colombia and South Africa since 2001. These resolutions have been adopted annually by consensus or with the overwhelming support of the UN member states.