sustainable August 23

Why controlling arms is key to sustainable development

Written by Deepayan Basu Ray, ATT Monitor Coordinator, Control Arms 

A big win in Sweden

 Why controlling arms is key to sustainable development

 

“bold, ambitious, and transformative” is how some have described the new UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for tackling poverty.

For the first time in UN sustainable development discussions and debates , peace features as an important goal and target. And from my perspective it definitely is an important part of the discussion and key to the SDGs.

The new Sustainable Development Goals now include Goal 16.1: “Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere.”

This is significant given the statistics on violence, and the impact it has on development. When armed violence occurs the knock-on impacts on health care, education, infrastructure, and public institutions is immeasurable.

We know this much: more than half a million people die every year as a result of armed violence, and the overwhelming majority of them are civilians.

Only 10% of all violent deaths in 2011 were as a result of conflict. The overwhelming majority (85%) of violent deaths occurred as a result of homicide – or armed violence in peaceful settings. At the same time, business has been booming for world’s arms producers.

What is problematic is that arms continue to pour into conflict zones, or are easily available to gangs, drugs traffickers, and armed forces widely recognized to be committing human rights abuses.

Surely the logical solution here is to cut off the supply of arms and ammunition.

Thankfully, the Arms Trade Treaty offers a great opportunity to do just that. And as a result, the Arms Trade Treaty is potentially the most effective means of achieving the SDG Goal of reducing violence.

Here’s how:

The Arms Trade Treaty makes it illegal to sell arms and ammunition if these will then be used to abuse human rights, or be used for terrorist acts, or indeed be used by organized crime. And, for the first time in arms control agreements, the Arms Trade Treaty explicitly requires governments to act on the risk of arms being used to commit acts of gender-based violence or violence against women and children.

In simple terms, no arms in the hands of those whose actions would hinder development.

If countries can implement the Arms Trade Treaty with the same enthusiasm with which the Treaty was negotiated and agreed, the forward momentum will surely make the SDG Goal 16 on Peace an attainable goal.

 

 

 

 

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