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November 11, 2016

SMALL ARMS CONTROL IN THE LIGHT OF AGENDA 2030 - BUILDING PEACE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Seminar “Small Arms Control in Light of Agenda 2030”
Swedish Parliament, Wednesday November 9th 2016, Stockholm
 
Organized by the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons, IM Swedish Development Partner and the Swedish Parliament, Maria Andersson Willner (S) and Karin Enström (M)
 
Executive summary: 
Armed violence is one of the major obstacles for sustainable development and poses serious threats to
human security. A new opportunity to fight the spread of illegal arms flow has presented itself with the
new global agreement on sustainable development, Agenda 2030. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)
number 16 specifically addresses the threat of illicit fire-arms. The proliferation and use of Small Arms
and Light Weapons (SALW) increases human insecurity during both peace and conflict, in developed
as well as in developing countries. SDG16 provides an opportunity to address the issue of SALW
proliferation and armed violence as a development obstacle and is an important part of conflict
prevention.
 
The conclusions made at the seminar highlighted the need for a stronger harmonisation between
political will and long-term sustainable financial support for development efforts on prevention and
reduction of SALW related violence. Statements were linked to Agenda 2030 with focus on the need to
implement SDG16 in coordination with other international instruments such as the United Nations
Programme of Action on Small Arms (UNPoA) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
 
Moreover the importance of parliamentary efforts and work on armed violence was stressed. It should
stretch over the traditional legislative role, and include holding governments accountable as well as
raising awareness among constituencies. It was assured as crucial that cooperation between
governments and civil society organisations should take place at all levels and institutions.
 
In addition, the Swedish position and work on illicit proliferation of SALW was pinpointed by the
Swedish Disarmament Ambassador Eva Walder. The topic of illicit SALW proliferation is a priority and
Sweden will actively engage in the upcoming international processes such as the UNPoA, the United
Nations Security Council and in Development Cooperation. All of these efforts are vital for the
implementation of the Agenda 2030 and SDG16 along with recognition of SALW proliferation as a
development obstacle.
 
Background:
The proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) poses a threat to human security and
sustainable development. To reduce and prevent armed violence is of utmost importance for the
implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the 2030 Agenda, in particular
SDG16. It is crucial that SALW proliferation is addressed on all legislative levels using international
instruments such as the ATT and UNPoA, where parliamentarians play a central role.
 
According to recent research from Small Arms Survey in 2010–15, an average of 526,000 died violently
every year. This global estimate is higher than the ones for the earlier periods 2004–09 and 2007–12. A
growing number of people are dying in conflict: while an annual average of 70,000 deaths were
recorded in 2007–12, the figure rose to 90,000 in 2010–15. Globally, firearms were used in an estimated
46 per cent of all violent deaths in 2010–15 – resulting in an average of 214,000 deaths per year.
Specifically, they were used in 50 per cent of homicides and 32 per cent of conflict deaths.
With this background, the Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons and IM Swedish
Development Partner organised this seminar. In total 21 participants representing Swedish
parliamentarians, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the diplomatic community, civil society,
and research institutes, discussed the cost of armed violence and how different countries,
parliamentarians and civil society organizations can cooperate to tackle the issue of SALW proliferation
in the light of Agenda 2030 (List of participants attached).
 
The panel of the seminar consisted of Disarmament Ambassador Eva Walder, Secretary General of the
Forum Karin Olofsson, Swedish Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the Forum Karin
Enström of the Moderate party (M) and Maria Andersson Willner of the Social Democratic party (S),
and the expert on small arms Mr. Miguel Barreiro.
 
Summary of the seminar discussion:
Swedish Disarmament Ambassador Eva Walder started the seminar by bringing up the issue with
SALW and its effect on people, governments and the economy. She mentioned the horrific frequency
and number of deaths by SALW and the economic costs reflected by the fact that armed violence can
sometimes cost as much as 5 up to 10% of countries Gross Domestic Product, GDP. The Ambassador
pointed out, that Sweden provides multifaceted support from MFA, Sida and the Swedish armed forces
to tackle this issue. She brought to attention that the Swedish government is concerned about children
involved in armed conflict both as victims and as child soldiers. Ambassador Walder stressed that
Sweden will be continue to be active during the next review Conference of the UNPoA in 2018 and
prioritize the severity of SALW proliferation and its effects.
 
Karin Olofsson stressed the importance of parliamentary work in connecting and implementing SDG
16 and international instruments as UNPoA and ATT. She highlighted that SALW is a threat to human
security and an obstacle for sustainable development. Given the dimension of the problem, rhetoric
and political support around this issue should be translated into improved financial support to tackle
SALW related violence. She mentioned as an example that the Swedish government diminished the
bilateral development cooperation budget for Conflict, Peace and Security from 6% in 2013 to 5, 6% in
2015. She also took the opportunity to thank partner organisation IM) for the successful collaboration
both during the seminar and overall in order to achieve the goals of Agenda 2030.
The expert on small arms Mr. Miguel Barreiro focused on the problems with current approaches to
prevent SALW related violence. He found the systems outdated and the political will drained and
weakened. Mr. Barreiro stressed that prevention, education and long term projects are keys for
sustainable solutions on small arms prevention and encouraged governments, foundations and the
private sector to provide sustainable support.
 
MP Maria Andersson Willner (S) and Karin Enström’s (M) main point was the important role of
parliamentarians in SALW prevention and reduction. They agreed on the fact that parliamentarians
must put more pressure on governments and be more active to influence the decision making process.
MP Karin Enström underlined the important work that the Forum has been doing for almost 15 years
and encouraged other parliamentarians to interact with other stake-holders and partners like the
Forum.
 
The panellists and participants of the seminar contributed to a fruitful dialogue concluding that
coordination with partners, governments and donors on allocation of resources together with political
will and long term goals are vital to a sustainable achievement of SDG16 and Agenda 2030.
 
Panellists:
 
Eva Walder
Karin Olofsson
Maria Andersson Willner
Karin Enström
Miguel Barreiro
Ambassador for Disarmament at the Swedish MFA
Secretary General of the Parliamentary Forum on SALW
MP Social Democratic Party, Foreign Affairs Committee
MP Moderate Party, Foreign Affairs Committee
Researcher and Expert on SALW at University of Sorbonne
 
List of participants:
 
Anna Ek – Individuell Människohjälp
Anna Vidgis Gustavsson - The Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation
Azadeh Alian - Desk Officer for SALW at Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Catarina Fabiansson - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Fausto Brindis - Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons
Firuza Rakhimova - Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons
Fredrik Eklund - The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society
Kamal Afzali - Parliamentary Forum on Small Arms and Light Weapons
Lars Ingelstam - Swedish Organization for Peace Technology
Lourdes Sangróniz - Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Spain
Nathalie Beser - Advisor to Social Democratic Party
Pär Ivarsson - Individuell Människohjälp
Peter Brune - Moderator, Individuell Människohjälp
Santiago Wins - Ambassador of Uruguay to Sweden
Sibylle Bauer - Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Sten Ström - Individuell Människohjälp
Valentina Barrios - Operation 1325
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