MGE: Closing Arguments

May 13 2011, 1:13 PM by Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will

The final day of the MGE was rich in content, cooperation and wisdom
to help drive the UNPoA process towards greater levels of consensus
and implementation. In part due to the creative, hands-on leadership
of the Chair, the discussions this week have mixed practical results
and broad-based technical support with ideas that can capture the
imagination and help us convince the skeptical that progress on the
UNPoA is both feasible and in the best interests of the global
community.

by Dr. Robert Zuber, Global Action to Prevent War

Among the many helpful concepts and images, one provided by the Swiss
called for ‘comprehensive life cycle management.’ This echoes a point
made previously in the Monitor—that small arms remain lethal long past
the point that they are relevant for use in the formal security sector
and that dependable marking and tracing protocols for the
international community must be able to provide ‘cradle to grave’
coverage of the movement of such weapons.

Comprehensive management, as we have seen this week, is an ambitious
goal incorporating a myriad of technical, communications and capacity
issues. Towards that end, diplomats and their experts have negotiated
challenging terrain this week—helping to resolve communications and
tracing obstacles while providing practical and political incentives
needed to achieve broad agreement and enhance implementation
prospects.

The results are encouraging. While consensus on all provisions
remains elusive, there has been broad assent within conference room 1
to the proposition that global security requires strong measures to
dry up unmarked stockpiles, end the illicit trade in small arms,
eliminate incentives for weapons diversion, and affirm measures of
regulatory coherence that can encourage confidence and fair play

We all have plenty to do before the 2012 Review Conference for the
UNPoA—including broad constituent outreach and conversations in many
capitals. But we also hope and urge that the diverse experts gathered
this week can be enlisted as an informal committee to help address
issues and questions that our conversations have failed to resolve.
The more ongoing clarity can be provided to delegations by these
experts, the more likely that the Review Conference will fulfill some
of its loftiest promises.