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ICLAIM participation in the Constructive Dialogue on Firearms

ICLAIM participation in the Constructive Dialogue on Firearms

On the 5 May 2023, ICLAIM participated in the second meeting of the Constructive Dialogue on Firearms. The event was held in hybrid form, in Vienna and online. The meeting took place immediately after the conclusion of the tenth meeting of the Working Group on Firearms. Significantly, the meeting was attended by 60 non-governmental organisations, as well as other relevant stakeholders, including members states, academia, and the private sector. 

The purpose of the constructive dialogues is to promote fruitful engagement among participants, as well as to inform them on developments concerning the UNTOC review mechanism. At the same time, the constructive dialogues are premised on the meaningful exchange of views, whereby inputs and suggestions are collected from participants, including their contributions as to the ways of advancing the effective implementation of the UN Conventions Against Transnational Crimes (UNTOC) and its three Protocols. 

The Chair of the Working Group on Firearms, Mr. Miguel Ángel Reyes Moncayo (Mexico) briefed participants on the status of the review process and as well as the outcomes of the tenth meeting of the Working Group, that was held in Vienna on 3 and 4 May 2023. In this respect, non-governmental organisations were invited to share views and recommendations for improving the implementation of the Firearms Protocol, whilst focusing on the topics discussed during the proceedings of the Working Group on Firearms, these being, the definitions of the Firearms Protocol and international and inter-agency cooperation and coordination mechanisms. The chair’s briefing was followed by a panel discussion with representatives of non-governmental organizations. The panellists focused their responses on specific themes set out by the chair, namely: 1) ‘gaps and good practices in the implementation of the Firearms Protocol in relation to the definitions and classification of firearms, their parts and components and ammunition’; 2) ‘the scope and the specific role of the Firearms Protocol in the wider international and regional arms control framework’ and 3) ‘how civil society can support international cooperation and participate in inter-agency cooperation processes’.

Lastly, the participants were invited to reflect on their activities and technical assistance needs as a means of improving the implementation of the Convention and the Firearms Protocol. In the first place, all participants were given the opportunity to share their inputs and suggestions via an interactive online exercise. In the second place, the chair steered interventions from participants based on three guiding questions: a) the role of non-governmental stakeholders in the universalization and implementation of the Firearms Protocol; (b) assistance needs of non-governmental stakeholders and their possibilities for engagement and participation; and (c) gender, human rights, and victim-centred approaches. 

The new format of the constructive dialogues was praised by several speakers. This year’s constructive dialogue was preceded by a preparatory day and a full day was accorded to the actual constructive dialogue. This provided the space for more thorough and meaningful discussions. Overall, the Constructive Dialogue on Firearms reaffirmed the crucial role of civil society organisations in fostering a strong and transparent relationship between national governments and civil society, and ultimately, promoting the effective implementation of the Firearms Protocol, both at the national level and internationally. 

Concluding, ICLAIM’s growing expertise and research on criminal activities, primarily human trafficking and smuggling, together with its close cooperation with the public and private sector, the academia, and other relevant stakeholders, are of direct relevance to the ongoing efforts to enhance the impact of the UNTOC and its Protocols, as well as in terms of providing meaningful assistance and support to the national authorities in the context of the UNTOC Review Mechanism.