|Agenda Item 9 (a): International Cooperation, assistance and national capacity building i.e. Technical and Financial assistance and national capacity building|
|Friday, 18 July 2008 00:00|
Statement by Mr. W.W.Gamage, Additional Secretary-Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka at the 2008 Third Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradication the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects
14th – 18th July, 2008
Allow me at the outset, to congratulate you on your election as the Chair of this meeting. We are confident that you will guide this meeting towards a successful outcome.
More than 600 million small arms and light weapons are estimated in circulation worldwide. They are directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousand of people every year through arms conflict, homicides and suicides. The indirect effects of small arms use and availability are graver still, and include injury, disease, poverty, trauma and underdevelopment for millions. Illicit small arms and gun violence present the most dramatic threat to public safety endangering the citizens around the world.
We recognise that the challenges and treats posed by illicit SLAW cannot be resolved by any country acting alone. It has not only national but regional and international dimensions involving myriad of issues that require collective efforts under multilateral auspices. At the national level, details activities that we have undertaken in implementing the Programme of Action is reflected in our national report. However, we look forward to a global response that will strengthen our efforts and help to irradicate meance of illicit small arms.
Sri Lanka expresses its appreciation to the United Nations Office of the Disarmament Affairs, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the UNDP and the donor Governments in particular the Government of Japan for providing technical and financial assistance to the Government of Sri Lanka to establish and operationalise the National Commission against the Proliferation of illicit Small Arms.
The Project’s main objective was to support the work of the National Commission. In this context, a number of substantive activities were undertaken with the support of the project including the following illicit small arms awareness campaign during the presidential election 2005; training of police officers; assisting small arms collection and destruction; development of a computerized small arms database for issues to civilians; conducting the National Small Arms Survey and preparing elements of the National Small Arms Action Plan based on the findings of the survey.
The project has increased significantly the capacity of the National Commission. However, implementation of the National Small Arms Action Plan in Phase 11 requires continued support in terms of expertise and resources. The elements of the National Action Plan have identified activities for several Ministries and Departments. Among them are the Parliament, the Defence Ministry, the Security Forces, the Police, the Civil Security Department, the Ministry of Justice, the Prison Department, Health Services, the Government Analysist’s Department, Customs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Wild Life and the media and civil society.
Sri Lanka is happy to announce the successful launch of the survey report on Prevalence of illicit Small Arms on 24th June, 2008. NCAPISA was reappointed by H.E the President and is chaired by the Secretary, Defence and at the very outset itself, NCAPISA decided t do a thorough assessment of the problem before moving into remedial action. The report proceeds to make recommendations covering a whole host of activities in many fields ranging from the legislature to civil society.
We believe that the regional and international cooperation is a must for national capacity building measures undertaken by the individual countries under implementation the POA. In light of further implementation of the Action Plan in Phase 11, Sri Lanka appreciates International cooperation and support. We are confident that with the support of the International Community Sri Lanka will be able to fully implement the National Action Plan in coming years.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.