Member States of the United Nations, on the 4th December, elected Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador E. Courtenay Rattray, as Chairman of the forthcoming Sixth Biennial Meeting of States to consider the implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, which will be held in New York over the course of a week in June 2016.
In thanking Member States for the confidence that they have entrusted in him to guide this important meeting including its preparatory process, Ambassador Rattray cited “the importance of the Programme of Action in tackling the complex issue of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons”. He described the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in various parts of the globe as a significant security challenge that continued to pose a systemic and pervasive threat to the long term socio-economic development of many nations around the world, in particular small island developing states.
Over the past two decades, Jamaica and fellow CARICOM partners have been a strong and consistent voice at the United Nations calling for concerted global action to tackle this transnational scourge that has disproportionately affected the region. CARICOM countries actively participated in the negotiation of the Programme of Action which was adopted by the international community in 2001 and have been working at the national, regional and international levels, including with civil society, to implement it.
The Programme of Action addresses, among other things, tracing and marking of weapons, stockpile management, record keeping, export controls, as well as international cooperation and training for capacity building.This is the first time that a CARICOM Member State will chair a meeting of the UN small arms process and represents a unique opportunity to keep international attention focused on this important issue.