Thank you, Mr Chair.
When we today discuss other issues relating to the implementation of the Programme of Action, there is one topic we would like to mention, and that is the participation of civil society in our work. I would like to refer back to Australia’s statement, introducing a working paper on opportunities to strengthen implementation of the PoA. Option 5 in this paper includes suggestions for enhanced civil society participation that we wholeheartedly support.
Norway thinks that it is quite unfortunate that it has not been possible for member states to agree to have a more active involvement and participation of civil society in our meetings. There is valuable experience from other arms control and humanitarian fora and other processes where the dialogue and cooperation between states, international organisations and civil society enrich discussions and bring the substance forward. Examples of such fora are the UNGA First Committee, the CCW and the Mine Ban Convention.
Experience shows that it is possible to achieve much more when you base your work on the real facts on the ground, when you work together across traditional regional groups of states, when there is strong partnership between states, civil society and international organisations, when there is political will and commitment on all levels, when the appropriate resources are made available. The participation of humanitarian organisations with their field-based experience and vast knowledge of what effects illicit SALW actually have on the ground, can contribute to a facts-based approach that ensures more effective implementation of the PoA, which is an objective we all share. We therefore hope that in future meetings, civil society will have a more prominent place, and we look forward to listening to their statements this afternoon.