Thank you Mr. Chair,
I would like to thank the facilitator, Ambassador Streuli, for the comprehensive discussion paper and for his introduction this morning, which have clarified what the key issues and the challenges relating to stockpile management and surplus disposal are. We appreciate the inclusion of the issue of ammunition in the discussion of stockpile management and surplus disposal, as we have argued for many years the importance of including ammunition in our work on SALW. I would just like to mention the work of the Group of Governmental Experts on surplus conventional ammunition, that has also been mentioned by other delegations this morning. Norway is a member of this GGE, and we believe this work is essential to make up for the fact that ammunition is unfortunately often lacking from our discussions under the PoA. Every country has stocks of small arms and light weapons on its territory, we are all vulnerable to these weapons being diverted into illicit markets or exploding accidentally. Recent tragic events have underlined the need to focus on the management of ammunition stockpiles in particular.
Improvement in management capacity, in the existence of adequate marking and record-keeping and tracing systems, in surveillance and handling procedures, in physical security measures can greatly reduce the risk both of accidents that can be disastrous not only for those in charge of stockpiles, but also for civilians in the area; and the risk of theft and thus uncontrolled proliferation on illicit weapons. Thus enhanced stockpile management and surplus destruction will contribute to the humanitarian objectives of this process. We would like to underline that in our view, destruction of surplus SALW and ammunition is best practice and the only way to prevent recirculation and diversion. We should recall that the Programme of Action commits us all to clearly identify national stocks of SALW which are surplus to requirements, and that these surpluses should be disposed of responsibly, preferably through destruction.
We agree that stockpile management and surplus disposal is an issue that lends itself particularly to international cooperation and assistance. Increased cooperation and assistance through both regional organisations and national authorities can contribute to establishing the necessary systems. These include adequate procedures and techniques, databases of national inventories which can prevent diversion and identify surpluses, training personnel on the hazards posed by for instance unstable SALW and ammunition, building up destruction capacity and techniques, and so on.
Again, as we mentioned in our statement yesterday on international cooperation and assistance, the effectiveness of any implementation measure depends on the commitment and will, and the awareness, of national authorities themselves and their representatives, on all levels.
We believe that the draft elements for the outcome document are strong and comprehensive, and would recommend the drafting of strong recommendations in line with our discussions today.