The UN will conclude the first substantive session of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on conventional ammunition today.
Earlier at the meeting, representatives agreed to extend the existing framework on light arms— established in 2018—and to focus on the management of heavy weapons ammunition and conventional weaponry.
The OEWG aims to prevent unplanned explosions, armed violence, gender-based violence, terrorism and armed conflicts by working to secure arms stockpiles in politically unstable countries. Ideally, effective management should be coupled with access to education and healthcare. Mis-managed munitions and arms stockpiles have contributed to grouping insurgencies in the Sahel region as well as in Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Successful transnational arms control management will require voluntary efforts at the regional level, before legally binding provisions are implemented at the national level and a multilateral framework is established. In practical terms this will be difficult to achieve in the short-to-medium term, given regional nonalignment with the OEWG’s conventional ammunitions control goals, a lack of financial independence in these states and the lack of an internationally recognized method of arms stockpile management. An internationally agreed upon economic framework is necessary to ensure stability and therefore stockpile security in states vulnerable to terrorism and insurgencies.
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Sabrine is an Analyst for Foreign Brief and a graduate student at Yonsei University in South Korea, specializing in foreign policy and security in East Asia. Previously, she contributed as a freelance writer for online publications and worked as a sub-editor for the Daily NK.