Thank you Mr. Chair,
First of all, we would like to thank the facilitator on the International Instrument on Marking and Tracing for the comprehensive discussion paper he has produced, which helps us focus our discussions today.
The ITI is an important milestone in our fight against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. Nevertheless, the ITI will only be effective if it is successfully implemented. We would like to highlight several priority areas in which national action and international cooperation together can promote the implementation of the ITI.
First, governments need to ensure that they possess the technology to put un-erasable marks on firearms. If necessary, they can be given assistance to obtain this equipment and set-up systems to use it.
Second, governments need to ensure that they have, and can effectively use, adequate systems to keep records and following-up tracing requests. In many cases, countries need to exchange paper based record keeping with computer databases. Here, international cooperation in the form of technical and financial assistance can dramatically improve governments’ capacity to manage information used in record keeping and tracing.
Third, we need to think creatively about how to use international cooperation to develop the capacity to implement the ITI. For example, we are encouraged that the East African Community has obtained marking machinery which will be used in common by its member states.
Fourth, national reports form the basis for an assessment of the level of implementation, and of challenges and opportunities that exist. As this is the first meeting to assess implementation of the ITI since its adoption in 2005 it is thus unfortunate that national reporting on this instrument has been low, as discussed in UNIDIR’s analysis of national reports. Even though many countries have included information on marking and tracing in their PoA reporting, the ITI includes stronger and more specific provisions. As others, I would like to remind everybody that biennial reporting under the ITI is a requirement, and not voluntary. To streamline reporting, we would support suggestions to merge reporting under the PoA and the ITI. Our outcome document should recommend enhanced reporting.
Last, we cannot ignore ammunition. To adapt one commonly used phrase, guns don’t kill people, bullets do. Marking of ammunition will help to prevent its diversion into illicit hands, and help to identify criminals involved in illicitly trafficking ammunition. We appreciate that there are important technical distinctions between marking ammunition and marking firearms. Nevertheless, we can point toward some important techniques such as using lasers to mark the production lot number on ammunition, and micro-stamping which places a mark when the round is fired. Moreover, in addition to reporting on marking and tracing of SALW, Norway has in its national report under the PoA included information regarding marking and tracing of ammunition, and we encourage all member states to include in their national reports under the ITI measures taken also with regards to ammunition.
We also note the Group of Governmental Experts on conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus, and we look forward to seeing their report.
Since its adoption, Norway has supported the implementation of the ITI, and is a main sponsor of the series of regional workshops that the UNODA has arranged in the time leading up to today’s meeting, and that have been mentioned also by other delegations. We are convinced that such initiatives will contribute to better understanding of the instrument, and promote necessary cooperation.