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Global Focus

International Measures

The key actor at the international level is the United Nations. The Wassenaar Arrangement, comprising arms exporting countries from around the world, has also adopted several important small arms measures. These two organizations do not, however, exhaust the list of international measures. The following sections include the full text of key international instruments and initiatives, as well as references to publications that review their content and implementation.

Publications:

International Instruments

Firearms Protocol

UN member states adopted the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in November 2000. UNTOC was supplemented by three protocols that address trafficking in persons, the smuggling of migrants, and the illicit manufacture of and trafficking in firearms. The third of these—the UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, known as the Firearms Protocol—was adopted on 31 May 2001 by General Assembly Resolution 55/255 and entered into force on 3 July 2005 (UNGA, 2001c). For states that have ratified or otherwise formally expressed their consent to be bound by it, the Firearms Protocol is legally binding.

UN Programme of Action on Small Arms (PoA)

The Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects—known as the Programme of Action, or PoA—establishes a normative framework for small arms control and covers a broad spectrum of issue areas and activities. Agreed to by all participants of a UN small arms conference held in July 2001, the PoA is a politically binding set of global commitments that provides UN member states with a mandate to develop and implement practical measures to curb the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons at the global, regional, and national levels.

Regional organizations play a role in implementing small arms control measures, including those covered by the PoA.

International Tracing Instrument (ITI)

The International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons—known as the International Tracing Instrument, or ITI—is a politically binding instrument adopted by UN member states in 2005. The ITI grew out of efforts to promote the development of international marking, record-keeping, and tracing measures.

Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

The Arms Trade Treaty is a multilateral instrument that regulates the international transfer of conventional arms, including small arms and light weapons. The ATT was adopted on 2 April 2013 by General Assembly Resolution 67/234 B. Ninety days after it is ratified by 50 UN member states it will enter into force. Once it enters into force, the ATT will be legally binding on those states that have ratified or otherwise formally expressed their consent to be bound by it.

General

Small Arms Survey Publications

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Other Publications

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Further Resources

     

    UN

    Small Arms Survey Publications

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    Other Publications

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    Instruments and Documents

    • UN (United Nations). 1992. An Agenda for Peace, Preventive Diplomacy, Peacemaking and Peace-keeping. Report of the Secretary-General. A/47/277-S/24111. 17 June.

      More information
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    Further Resources

       

      Wassenaar Arrangement

      Small Arms Survey Publications

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      Instruments and Documents

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      Further Resources

         

        Other International Measures

        Instruments and Documents

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