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December 22, 2016

Parliamentary Forum Newsletter september-december 2016

Newsletter September – December 2016

Honourable Members and Friends of the Forum,

Thank you all for yet another year of working together to prevent Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) related violence to achieve sustainable peace and increase human security! This year the world experienced an upsurge of armed violence and conflict. Indeed, the situation in the world underpins the importance of our work. Year 2016 is also the first year of implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development that for the first time recognises the connection between armed violence, peace-building and development in its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG16). As the Agenda provides a unique universal framework on the issue of armed violence and SALW proliferation, we encourage all Members of the Forum to work towards enhanced implementation of the 2030 Agenda as to contribute to a world with more peaceful societies.

Please let me share some highlights from the work of the Forum during the period:

During the 22nd and 23rd of November 2016, the Forum in cooperation with the Parliament of Uruguay, organized its General Assembly and regional seminar in Montevideo. Parliamentarians, representatives from international organizations, civil society and the government gathered with a mutual aim to exchange knowledge and discuss how parliamentarians can contribute to the reduction and prevention of armed violence and SALW proliferation globally. Key conclusions recognize that illicit trade and proliferation of SALW pose a serious threat to human security and sustainable development globally; calling for effective implementation of SDG16 and highlighting the important role of parliamentarians in achieving this goal. It was also pointed out that women play a vital role in armed violence prevention and reduction, calling for implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. A Policy statement for UNSCR 1325 was approved by the Board of the Forum. Moreover the importance of the United Nations Program of Action (UNPoA) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) were stressed as imperative for lasting peace and security globally.

At the General Assembly, a new Board was elected for the period 2016-2018 consisting of;

President of the Board: Senator Daisy Tourné, Uruguay;

Vice President: MP Maria Andersson Willner, Sweden;

MP Vincent de Paul Emah Etoundi, Cameroon;

MP José Figueroa, Nicaragua;

MP Dr. Sahar Qawasmi, Palestine;

MP Dr. Raphael Chegeni, Tanzania;

Ms Maria Pia Devoto, Representative of the Civil Society.

Please let me express sincere gratitude to the former Board Members contributing to the work of the Forum during 2014-2016: our former president of the Board Hon. Ala Talabani, Iraq; vice-president Hon. Agustin Conde, Spain; Hon. Betty Amongi, Uganda; Hon. Christer Winbäck, Sweden; Hon. Drissa Sanogo, Burkina Faso; Hon. Maria Higonet, Argentina and Mr. Roy Isbister as civil society representative.

In addition a review and discussion on results and development of the Forum during the period 2014-2016 took place as well as revision and approval of new Statutes for the Forum and adoption of the Montevideo Declaration. Please find all documentation related to the General Assembly and seminar here.

Moreover a number of important meetings and seminars took place during the period, including one with the new Swedish Disarmament Ambassador Eva Walder, Uruguay´s Ambassador to Sweden, Santiago Wins and Spanish Ambassador to Sweden, Javier Jiménez-Ugarte. On November 9th the Forum together with our partner Individuell Människohjälp (IM) organized a seminar in the Swedish Parliament to discuss the issue of SALW in light of Agenda 2030 with a competent panel that included: Swedish Disarmament Ambassador Eva Walder, Parliamentary Forum Members and Parliamentarians Karin Enström (M - liberal-conservative) and Maria Andersson Willner (Social Democrats), experts on SALW and civil society representatives. Please find report here.

As you know the Forum has secured financial support for a three- year period from Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). In November 2016, the Forum was confirmed two-year support from the United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation, UNSCAR ‘Connecting the dots: Supporting SDG 16, ATT and PoA implementation through increased parliamentary engagement and action in international processes.” This ensures the continuity of the Forum´s vital mission by enabling a solid foundation for continuing our work together with you.

During 2017 the Forum will continue with a strong focus on implementation of the 2030 Agenda, SDG16. Working together towards reducing and preventing armed violence to enhance human security and sustainable development, as well as, ensuring the equal participation of men and women in political processes related to peace and security, will be essential for achieving peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

The Forum is continuing to strengthen social media activity aiming to highlight the issue of armed violence and the efforts by you as Members. Please interact with us! Social media channels are also a way for you to stay updated on the activities of the Forum, therefore we ask you kindly to follow us on Twitter: @ParlForumSalw and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PFSALW/. For more details on the developments mentioned in this letter, please visit the website www.parliamentaryforum.org or contact the Forum’s Secretariat: secretariat@parlforum.org.

During the period the Forum has also been active in media out-reach on the importance of addressing SALW-violence in relation to sustainable development and peace-building. Please see the following links (only in Swedish): 1. http://sverige.krf.se/2016/10/28/gastblogg-mer-vapen-skapar-inte-en-langsiktig-fred/; 2. http://manskligsakerhet.se/2016/10/14/colombia-fred-istallet-for-kulor/; 3. http://www.etc.se/debatt/mer-vapen-skapar-inte-en-langsiktig-fred.

Honourable Members and Friends of the Forum, year 2016 has been challenging for the whole world. Together with you, the Forum has grown and matured. We intend to continue our work with a strong focus on SDG16 and implementation of Agenda 2030 to bring forth a more peaceful future. You as Parliamentarians play a crucial role in contributing to this objective through political processes. The Secretariat is sincerely grateful for your work and dedication. We look forward to continuing our collaboration!

On behalf of the Secretariat I wish you happy holidays and a happy New Year!

Yours sincerely, 

Karin Olofsson, Secretary General

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