Statement by Ambassador Antje Leendertse at the Security Council Open Debate on “The Impact of the Diversion and Trafficking of Arms on Peace and Security”, 22 November 2021

22.11.2021 - Speech

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I would like to thank Mexico for keeping the Security Council seized with this important topic.

The proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) fuels armed conflicts around the world and destabilizes entire regions with severe humanitarian and economic consequences for the civilian population. The illicit trade in these weapons is often also connected to organized crime, terrorism and human trafficking.

Moreover, SALW do not magically disappear after the end of a conflict, but facilitate violent crimes and, thus, pose a challenge for post-conflict recovery.

We need to look at the issue more holistically. It must be mainstreamed in all Security Council efforts. That is why, during our term on the Security Council we tried to update the resolution 2220 (adopted in 2015). It is unfortunate that our endeavors were met with heavy resistance.


I believe the ideas that we had put forward together with our partners are still valid and supported by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States, including on the Council. Let me repeat some of them here:

The UNSC needs to acknowledge the gender impact of SALW and promote the equal and meaningful participation of women as actors and leaders in the control of SALW.

It also should take into account recent developments in small arms manufacturing, technology and design, which pose new challenges to the marking, record-keeping and tracing of these weapons.

The Council should increase its support to and understanding of weapons and ammunition management in peace operations.

Finally, it should also acknowledge the importance of regional cooperation in the combat against illicit cross-border proliferation.

International instruments such as the UN Programme of Action, the UN Firearms Protocol or the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) effectively complement the work of the UN Security Council.

Regional processes, such as the African Union initiative “Silencing the Guns in Africa”, the “Western Balkans Roadmap for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons”, jointly initiated by Germany and France or the “Caribbean Firearms Roadmap”, also negotiated under the auspices of Germany, have become models for effective regional arms control.

Overall, such regional processes are an important contribution to security, particularly in Africa and Latin and Central America and the Caribbean where illicit weapons pose a significant threat to peace and stability. Along with regional processes, numerous national and local initiatives around the world play a vital role, too. Germany considers it essential that civil society, women and youth are included into all these efforts.

In the past, we didn’t have a forum to address an important related aspect, namely ammunition. Fortunately, we are about to close this gap. The Group of Governmental Experts on Ammunition chaired by Germany paved the way for an Open Ended Working Group now mandated by the First Committee.

To save lives, we jointly need to step up our efforts and strengthen the control of small arms and light weapons, including ammunition, during all cycles of conflict, using all instruments at our hands. Germany stands ready to help advance these causes. 

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