MAG briefing - 2023

Easy availability of small arms and light weapons and ammunition has a devastating impact on the safety and wellbeing of people and communities and threatens both personal and national security. High levels of illicit ownership and circulation fuels criminality and conflict. Protracted situations of armed violence drive even greater demand for firearms, causing long-term economic damage and impeding development and recovery. The international trade in illegal weapons is also part of a complex picture of transnational organised crime that intersects with the narcotics trade and other forms of trafficking to undermine regional and global stability. Effective arms control measures are essential to curb this worsening problem and its multiple negative effects.

There are practical measures that can be taken to help prevent the diversion, proliferation, and misuse of firearms and ammunition and reduce the risk of armed violence. Providing secure storage for security sector institutions, including the military and police, destroying surplus and unsafe stockpiles, training personnel in appropriate handling, and marking and tracing weapons are just a few of the measures that can play a role in reducing these risks. These programmes act as confidence-building measures for building transformational partnerships between governments and implementing partners, and can serve as building blocks for further peacebuilding initiatives.

This briefing draws on the practical experience of MAG’s expert teams across Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, to make the case for increased support to address the threat of small arms and light weapons and reduce the risk of armed violence.

WAM report front cover