In his 2008 report on small arms (S/2008/258), the Secretary-General provided an overview of the negative impact of illicit small arms on security, human rights and social and economic development, in particular in areas of conflict. The report indicated that the issue of small arms could not be addressed with arms control measures alone; such measures needed to be part of a wider spectrum of policy solutions in which security, crime, human rights, health and development intersected.
The present report builds on the previous one and brings the Security Council up to date on a number of topics that require its particular attention. These include trade and brokering, marking, record-keeping and tracing of weapons, stockpile management, armed violence and the use and misuse of small arms. Special attention is given to the trade in ammunition, problems connected with storage and the importance of tracing ammunition found in conflict settings.
In considering problems relating to the unregulated circulation of small arms, it remains essential to focus on integrated policy approaches. The changing nature of armed violence, including where the United Nations has been active in peace operations, post-conflict reconstruction or development assistance, has blurred the line between armed conflict and crime, and between politically motivated and economically motivated violence. Peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities and development assistance require planning for small arms control and armed violence reduction as a priority. In such contexts, it is vital that traditional arms control measures be integrated into interventions that target the demand for weapons and enhance the ability of security providers and governance authorities to strengthen community security, manage conflict and mitigate violence.