Thank you, Mr. President,
The Philippines appreciates the efforts made by Mexico, under the chairmanship of H.E. Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, in organizing this very timely and important Open Debate.
There is indeed an urgent need to prevent and combat the diversion and the illicit international transfer of small arms and light weapons to unauthorized recipients, as noted by Member States in the outcome of this year’s Seventh Biennial Meeting of the UN Program of Action.
In the Philippines, addressing the diversion of small arms and light weapons that may eventually end up in the hands of terrorists and criminals is of critical importance. We have seen that arms smuggling is part of the operations of terrorists. Civilians on the island of Mindanao paid a high price with dozens killed and widespread destruction of homes and property amid the ‘battle of Marawi’ that pitted the Philippine military against militants allied to ISIS.
The Council should enjoin Member States to act cooperatively to prevent terrorists and criminals from acquiring weapons. There are various issues that need to be addressed collectively, but I would like to highlight the following recommendations:
First, improve data analysis. The Philippines sees value in the Council deepening support for long-term, standardized, systematic and disaggregated data collection and analysis, including small arms surveys. The aim is to identify trafficking routes and patterns, diversion points and other methods of concealing weapons for the purpose of trafficking. This will have to be mirrored by an effective regulatory impact analysis and assessment (RIA) in the country which employs efficient methodology in determining the viability, effectiveness, cost, benefit, and implementation framework of a certain policy.
Second, build capacity. Building the capacity of Member States, for instance, on reporting the number of seized and collected small arms and light weapons will be crucial for monitoring progress on SDG indicator 16.4.2. The Security Council can find ways to contribute to building capacity, and they can encourage Member States to develop synergies. For instance, in Resolution 2370 (2017), the Council encouraged Member States to share information, establish partnerships, with both the public and private sectors, and develop national strategies and capabilities.
Third, strengthen engagement with industry stakeholders. The goal is to improve controls of small arms and light weapons. The industry is the first line of defense in the battle against weapons proliferation.
Fourth, address ammunition. The exclusion of ammunition would signify that, once weapons are successfully smuggled, the supply of the corresponding ammunition is free and limitless. We need to track the movement of ammunition to ensure they also do not fall into the wrong hands. Multilateral and bilateral transparency measures are crucial to combat the black market for weapons and ammunitions. The Security Council could encourage debates and initiatives on securing a full-life cycle approach on small arms, light weapons and ammunitions.
In conclusion, I would like to highlight the importance of allowing the increased involvement of the greater membership of the Security Council in making decisions on this subject. The Council should take on board the perspectives and contributions of the Member States and regions most affected by the diversion and trafficking in small arms.
Thank you, Mr. President.