Meeting of Government Experts on small arms

May 4 2011, 2:00 PM  by Ray Acheson

From 9 to 13 May 2011, states will gather for the first time in an open-ended meeting of government experts (MGE) to address key implementation challenges and opportunities in the UN small arms process. This particular MGE will focus on the marking and tracing of small arms and light weapons, in accordance with the International Tracing Instrument that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2005.

by Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

The chair of the MGE, Ambassador Jim McLay of New Zealand, has drafted six discussion papers on each of the key themes for the meeting:

  1. Marking;
  2. Record-keeping;
  3. Cooperation in tracing;
  4. National frameworks;
  5. Regional cooperation; and
  6. International assistance and capacity building.

The goal of the papers, and the MGE itself, is to support states’ sharing of information, experiences, lessons learned, good practices, and challenges and opportunities, with the goal of supporting enhanced national and regional implementation of the International Tracing Instrument.

It’s also an opportunity to continue building the frameworks for a more robust implementation of the UNPoA as well as for negotiation of anarms trade treaty (ATT). Many of the key topics discussed at this MGE will relate to technical considerations in the context of the UN conference for negotiating an international ATT. While the MGE will relate specifically to small arms and light weapons, there are clear connections to be made between the best practices and modes of cooperation highlighted here and what could be promoted in an ATT.

Reaching Critical Will of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom will be monitoring and reporting on the MGE along with Global Action to Prevent War, the International Action Network on Small Arms, Oxfam International, and other non-governmental organizations next week. Our posts will be available on a joint NGO blog ( and will compiled daily in an “MGE Monitor” to be distributed on the Reaching Critical Will website and in hard copy at the MGE.