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November 29, 2017


The Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons is celebrating its 15 year Anniversary this year. We want to take this opportunity to highlight the problem with small arms and light weapons-related violence around the world.

We are relaunching the campaign “Words over Bullets” this week on 29th of November – 5th of December. The objective of the campaign is to contribute to raising global awareness on the importance of reducing and preventing small arms and light weapons-related violence to reach sustainable development and human security. It includes short films, photos and messages on this subject from parliamentarians, civil society and other relevant actors that represent different regions of the world.

The Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons is an international organisation gathering parliamentarians globally across party lines. As established in the Strategic Plan 2016-2018, the overall objective aims to contribute to the achievement of more peaceful and developed societies through parliamentary action against armed violence for increased human security. The Forum is the only global organisation to gather parliamentarians with the purpose of reducing and preventing armed violence, by specifically targeting small arms and light weapons (SALW).: the 2030 Agenda, the

Armed violence caused by the uncontrolled proliferation and misuse of SALW has wide-spread human, economic and social costs; it threatens human security and hinders development. Furthermore, it threatens democracy and good governance, facilitates violations of human rights, and contributes to the persistence of armed conflict in all parts of the world. The issue of SALW was acknowledged internationally by the inclusion of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 in the 2030 Agenda, which recognises the reduction of illicit arms flows as vital for sustainable development and peace.


Methodologically the Forum’s work rests on two main pillars: policy-shaping and capacity-building. The work is continuously coupled to relevant national, regional and international frameworks and processes. where the most relevant international frameworks arems and Light Weapons and the Arms Trade Treaty

The point of departure of the work of the Forum is the vital tools that parliamentarians possess to reduce and prevent SALW-related violence through their three key roles: the legislative, the over-sight and the awareness-raising functions. The Forum provides a forum for parliamentarians, representatives from civil society, governments and international organisations to meet and discuss; it also provides a valuable support for parliamentarians in their work.


Definition of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), as based on the 1997 UN Panel of Governmental Expert (available on that considers portability a defining characteristic.

The Panel’s list includes both civilian, private, and military weapons that fire a projectile with the condition that the unit or system may be carried by an individual, a small number of people, or transported by a pack animal or a light vehicle. The Panel’s list is organised into 'small arms' and 'light weapons':

  • Small arms: revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, assault rifles, sub-machine guns and light machine guns.
  • Light weapons: heavy machine guns, hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade launchers, portable anti-aircraft guns, portable anti-tank guns, recoilless rifles, portable launchers of anti-tank missile and rocket systems; portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS) and mortars of calibres of less than 100 mm.

Sources that are used in the campaign:

AlvazzidelFratte, A. 2013, ‘Everyday Dangers - Non-conflict armed violence. In S. A. Survey, Small Arms Survey 2013 - everyday dangers’, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Geneva Declaration, 2008, ‘Global Burden of Armed Violence’,

Humanitarian outcomes, 2017, ‘Aid Worker Security Report 2017: Behind the attacks: A look at the perpetrators of violence against aid workers’


Relief Web, 2017, ‘Aid in Danger Incident Trends - KIK incidents: open-source and SiND partner-agency-reported incidents in which aid workers were killed, injured or kidnapped (July - September 2017)’, (accessed 2017-11-27)

Secretary-General's report to the Security Council, 2015, ‘Small Arms and Light Weapons’

Small Arms Survey, 2012, ‘Small Arms Transfer Control Measures and the Arms Trade Treaty’,

Small Arms Survey, 2016, ‘A Gendered Analysis of Violent Deaths’

Small Arms Survey, 2016, ‘Firearms and Violent Deaths’,

United Nations, 2013, The Arms Trade Treaty,

United Nations Development Programme, 2014, ‘UNDP Youth Strategy 2014- 2017: Empowered Youth, Sustainable Future’,

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 70/1, 2015, ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’

World Health Organization (2001) ‘Small arms and global health. WHO contribution to the

UN Conference on Illicit Trade in small arms and light weapons, 9–20 July’, WHO/NMH/


World Health Organization, 2009, ‘Guns, knives and pesticides: reducing access to lethal means. Violence: The Evidence’, (Accessed 2017-11-23),

World Health Organization, 2016, factsheet ‘Youth Violence’, (accessed 2017- 11-20)

World Health Organization, 2017, factsheet ‘Violence against women’ (accessed 2017- 11-20)

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