QUNO Activities at the 2006 Preparatory Committee
The Preparatory Committee for the 2006 Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action on small arms took place from January 9-20, 2006 at the United Nations in New York. QUNO staff engaged in a range of formal and informal activities alongside this, designed to advance work on small arms at the UN.
A critical focus of QUNO's disarmament work in recent years has been raising the issue of small arms demand. One method used by QUNO staff to gauge progress on the small arms demand work is monitoring references made to demand and demand-related issues during major UN meetings such as the Preparatory Committee and the Biannual Meetings of States (held in 2003 and 2005). These references are an indicator of states and organizations engagement in the issue of small arms demand. As the Preparatory Committee progressed, QUNO staff became aware that many actors now seem to have an increased understanding of the need to address the factors that motivate individuals and groups to acquire illicit weapons. Full results and analysis of this monitoring work are contained in "A Clear Step Forward: Attention to Demand Issues at the Meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the UN Review Conference on Small Arms."
QUNO staff also created fora for discussion of demand issues outside of the conference room chambers. QUNO, along with the Small Arms Survey, launched the publication "Demanding Attention: Addressing the Dynamics of Small Arms Demand" at a sidebar event on January 16, 2006. Later in the week, QUNO was instrumental in convening a meeting of the Geneva Process, an initiative that brings together governments, international organizations and NGOs to promote and monitor implementation of the Programme of Action on small arms. QUNO also fostered dialogue on small arms demand among representatives to the UN at Quaker House, in an environment notably different from that at the Preparatory Committee.
While the results of the Preparatory Committee itself seem disappointing, statements and issues discussed demonstrated that significant progress has been made in raising awareness of the multi-dimensional nature of the small arms issue.