Statement by Ambassador Wittig in the Security Council Open Debate on Central Africa & Illicit Arms Trafficking

Mar 19, 2010

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations H.E. Dr. Peter Wittig on the occasion of the Security Council open debate on Central African Region: Impact of illicit arms trafficking on peace and security United Nations 19 March 2010

(Check against delivery)

Mr President,

 I should like to thank you for providing Germany with the opportunity to participate in the open debate on the Central African Region and the impact of illicit arms trafficking on peace and security.

Germany fully aligns herself with the statement delivered earlier by the Representative of the European Union.

Your timely initiative provides the United Nations Security Council with an excellent opportunity to deliberate on an important issue.  Every day hundreds of people suffer from the consequences of the proliferation of illicit arms.  Implications for economic development are obvious.  Illicit arms trafficking is all too often one of the causes for humanitarian tragedies.

Germany has for long been committed to a comprehensive approach to combat the destabilizing accumulation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons as well as their ammunition.

My country attaches high importance to fully implementing and to further developing the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.  It supports the “Fourth Biennial Meeting of States” in New York in June 2010, which will mark an important step in the implementation of the Programme of Action.  For more than ten years, Germany has chaired the so-called Group of Interested States in New York.  This group has offered a platform to the disarmament community based in New York to exchange views on how to cope with the scourge of small arms and light weapons.

In recent years, my country has paid particular attention to the issue of thorough management and security of national stockpiles of conventional arms and ammunition.  Under German chairmanship a Group of Governmental Experts elaborated recommendations on the proper management of stockpiles.  My government is contributing to the ongoing United Nations-steered process leading to the development of technical guidelines for stockpile management of conventional ammunition.

My country remains committed to reducing and ultimately ending the global illegal trade of small arms and light weapons.  Therefore, it continues to attach utmost importance to the ongoing process towards the elaboration of a comprehensive and legally binding Arms Trade Treaty on the highest possible common international standards for the transfers of conventional arms.  We stand ready to actively engage and constructively cooperate in the process leading to the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in 2012.

I should like to provide you, Mr President, with some examples of German cooperation.  In 2006 my government started to support the East African Community (EAC) by implementing a project on Non-Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the EAC.  As a result, networks were created that paved the way for the engagement of the EAC in maintaining peace and security.  EAC has worked closely with the Regional Centre for Small Arms and Light Weapons (RECSA) based in Nairobi, thus reaching out to countries in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa.

The African Union (AU) has been mandated by its member states to establish an African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).  Germany is assisting the Peace and Security Department of the African Union Commission in setting up the African Peace and Security Architecture.

One of the priority areas of cooperation in Africa is the establishment of a Continental Early Warning System.  The systems will enable the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to identify the rise of a potential crisis scenario.  My government assists the African Union in designing such an early warning system.

It is also supporting the development of the police component of the African Standby Force.  The project is aiming at providing a minimum in civilian security in fragile post-conflict situations and at raising public confidence in the security forces.

That leads me to my last point.  From the very start Germany has supported the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission.  By helping societies emerging from conflict and laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development, the Peacebuilding Commission is entrusted with a crucial contribution to international peace and security.  It should therefore play a central role in bringing cohesion between political, security, development and humanitarian actors.  In this context, my government is of the view that the Peacebuilding Commission should strive for close cooperation with the United Nations Security Council to focus on small arms trafficking and to curb the harmful effects of these weapons.

Thank you for your attention.

© Germany UN