High-Level Meeting: Small Arms and Light Weapons

On Thursday, September 26th, 2013, the Security Council held a high-level meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and their threat and disruption to the maintenance of international peace and security. This marked the first formal Council meeting in five years on this issue, and by a vote of 14 in favor to none against and one abstention (Russian Federation), the first ever Resolution (S/RES/2117) adopted by the Council on small arms and light weapons. The meeting was chaired by Foreign Minister of Australia, Julie Bishop, who opened the discussion, followed by a briefing from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Following the opening remarks, a statement was delivered by the Vice-President of the International Red Cross Committee, Christine Beerli, in addition to statements by each of the 15 Security Council Member States.

A substantial gender perspective was largely overlooked. The discussion was limited to SALW and their threat to international peace and security. Only four Council Members, including Argentina, Australia, the Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom, made meaningful references to women. In the cases of Argentina and the United Kingdom however, the context was limited to the connection between the proliferation and misuse of arms and weapons with crimes related to sexual violence. However, Australia made significant contribution by being the only Security Council Member State to make explicit reference to the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda, noting the issue of small arms and light weapons was one that cut across much of the Council's work, including their work on WPS. Further, Australia was also the only State to note the crucial role of women's participation in transition processes such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR). In this regard, the Republic of Korea stressed that the protection of civilians, particularly women, in armed conflict, requires improvement in DDR and SSR programs and processes.

Read the full analysis here.