Pacific Islands Countries Regional Seminar on Small Arms

January 22, 2003

  1. The Government of Japan, in cooperation with the Government of Australia, has hosted a seminar on small arms, focusing on the Pacific Islands countries, from 20 to 22 January 2003. The seminar was attended by representatives of the Pacific Islands countries and other interested countries (44 people), the UN and other international and regional organizations (5 people), NGOs and civil society (5 people).

  2. The purpose of this seminar was to enhance the awareness of the small-arms-related problems of the Pacific Islands region, and to proceed to practical approaches toward addressing these problems. The seminar discussed the current problems arising in the South Pacific region, and the measures now being taken. Also discussed were issues such as the creation of contact points in each country, the management of weapons storage, the introduction of model laws on the prevention of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and cooperation with civil society. The seminar reached an understanding that the unique situation of the Pacific Islands region calls for unique measures, in order to cope with problems such as the inadequate management of weapons storage which leads to the illegal circulation of weapons, and the difficulty of enforcing customs regulations at the border, all of which lead to the prevalent illicit trade in weapons.

  3. This seminar has been held as a follow-up of the Programme of Action adopted at the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects which was held in July 2001. The field of small arms is one which requires comprehensive, continuing and active attention to such questions as export control on small arms, effective regulation and enforcement, collection of illegally stockpiled weapons, and increasing administrative capability for effective regulation. With regard to all these areas, the First UN Biennial Meeting to be held in New York in July of this year will be extremely important. H.E. Dr. Kuniko Inoguchi, Permanent Representative of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament will be chairing the meeting, and the Japanese Government hopes that the results of this seminar will be instrumental to the implementation of the Programme of Action, which will be the Meeting's central theme.

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