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UN Programme of Action

The UN Programme of Action was agreed in 2001 and remains the main international agreement for small arms and light weapons control.

In 2001, the UN recognised the need for international action on the global problem of the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons. The UN Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects (PoA), was agreed in July 2001 and remains the primary international agreement on the control of small arms and light weapons.

The PoA sets out a range of measures for states to take to manage all aspects of the problem, including the control of small arms transfers, regulating small arms brokering, managing stockpiles, marking and tracing small arms and assisting in PoA implementation.

Saferworld works with partners at both the regional and international levels to monitor states' progress on implementation, to encourage states to carry out the commitments in full and to promote further development of the PoA.

A conference to review the PoA is being held at the UN from 27 August to 7 September 2012.

Saferworld has played a key role in the Biting the Bullet project which, in the run up to the 2001 UN Conference, brought together government experts, academics and civil society to discuss and put forward innovative solutions to the multidimensional problem of small arms proliferation. The Biting the Bullet project has produced PoA monitoring reports in 2003, 2005 and 2006 and, more recently, a number of briefings on key issues of small arms control. 

Saferworld is currently working to support preparations for the review conference being held at the UN in New York from 27 August to 7 September 2012. Our role is to encourage states and relevant international agencies to focus on preventing diversion of small arms transfers and the humanitarian impact of small arms and light weapons control efforts.

During these consultations Saferworld will be pushing for those present to consider how the PoA follow-up process can be best organised to ensure better implementation of the PoA by states, and encouraging action that will significantly reduce the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons around the world.