HL Deb 21 February 2005 vol 669 cc152-3WA
Lord Judd

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are taking to ensure that member states of the United Nations expedite and conclude negotiations on legally binding agreements covering the marking, tracing, brokering and transfer of small arms and light weapons. [HL1232]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Working with other United Nations (UN) member states to reduce illicit movements of small arms and light weapons (SALW) is a high priority for the Government. We have allocated £13.25 million between 2004–07 to support programmes aimed at achieving this. The UK is an active participant in the open-ended working group on marking and tracing of SALW, and, along with European Union member states, we continue to push for a legally binding instrument that includes SALW ammunition. We recognise that brokering is another area where tighter controls are needed and fully support the establishment, no later than 2007, of a UN group of government experts to consider this important issue in depth.

One of our SALW priorities is promoting the Transfer Control Initiative, which aims at agreement on common international standards governing small arms transfers at the UN Programme of Action Review Conference on Small Arms in 2006. The UK is supporting this initiative by organising sub-regional workshops and bilateral meetings, which we hope will lead to common agreement on responsibility in SALW transfers.