The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2220 (2015), in which the Council requested me to continue to submit biennial reports on arms and light weapons. The recommendations made in my previous reports on the subject (S/2008/258, S/2011/255, S/2013/503, S/2015/289 and S/2017/1025) remain relevant and valid.
The destabilizing accumulation, illicit transfer and misuse of small arms and light weapons continue to initiate, sustain and exacerbate armed conflict and pervasive crime. Small arms and light weapons remain a primary tool for armed conflict and violence, and the cross-cutting humanitarian impact of illicit flows remains a serious concern.
In May 2018, I launched a new disarmament agenda, Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament. In that agenda, I prioritized “disarmament that saves lives”, including a call for deeper efforts with regard to small arms and light weapons at the national level. To this end, I have established a new trust facility, the Saving Lives Entity fund, to support country-level work in this area.
Considerable efforts have been undertaken over the past two years at the national, subregional, regional and global levels to strengthen the control of small arms and light weapons, such as the outcome of the third United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. Nonetheless, further progress must be made.
With a view to supporting Security Council members in more consistently mainstreaming small arms and light weapons considerations across the Council’s work, both thematically and in country-specific contexts, the report provides an overview of relevant trends and developments, followed by a review of the most pertinent thematic agenda items relating to small arms and light weapons, namely the protection of civilians in armed conflict, peace operations, arms embargoes, women and peace and security, children and armed conflict, counter-terrorism, and transnational organized crime.