BMS5: Gender Entry Points - IANSA Women's Network, June 2014

"A gendered approach is a central component for sustainable progress in the implementation of the UN Programme of Action (PoA)."

The Fifth Biennial Meeting of States (BMS 5) to Consider Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) is taking place at the United Nations in New York from 16–20 June 2014. IANSA members will be participating including members of the IANSA Women's Network.

IANSA women have developed a position paper for use at UN level but may also be useful for your own events and advocacy at national and regional levels especially during the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence which, this year, coincides with the BMS.

The position paper underscores how a gendered approach is a central component for sustainable progress in the implementation of the PoA. It also focuses on the main areas of discussion of the BMS5 namely stockpile management, the International Tracing Instrument, and the provision of international assistance and capacity building.

The complete paper is as follows:

A gendered approach is a central component for sustainable progress in the implementation of the UN Programme of Action (PoA).

A gendered approach factors in the needs and capacities of men and women in the formulation of appropriate responses to small arms control. An inclusive approach will help provide fuller ownership of efforts to eradicate the illicit trade in small arms.

We insist on the full and equal participation of women in the small arms process but we also recognise that men and boys need programmes to help them reject armed violence. There is an urgent need to fully address this dimension of small arms control and to provide training and support to local initiatives, many of which are led by women. It is a fact that gender-oriented policy, continuously and rigorously implemented, will maximise all efforts.

Mandates for gender in the PoA

The UN has long endorsed the strategies of gender mainstreaming and gender balance in its pursuit of gender equality. Most recently, UN Security Council Resolution 2117 (2013) calls for further measures to facilitate women’s full and meaningful participation in all policy making, planning and implementation processes to combat and eradicate the illicit transfer, destabilising accumulation and misuse of small arms. It also calls for those planning disarmament initiatives to engage with women and provide for their full access to these programmes.

BMS 5: Gender entry points

Stockpile management

Stockpile management of weapons and ammunition can reduce illicit proliferation through safeguards to help prevent loss and theft.

1. Competent female experts should be given the opportunity to participate fully and equally in decision making on location, policy and process on stockpile management..
2. Women often have a unique role in the facilitation of dialogue between government institutions and communities in relation to stockpile sites, and can help to raise public awareness of the dangers of SALW if not adequately accounted for and secured.

International Tracing Instrument

Both in crime and conflict situations, women can play a vital role in tracing efforts.

1. Women’s experience and knowledge should be integrated into approaches of customs, police, and intelligence organisations.
2. Women should be trained in identification of weapons so they can actively participate in investigations and tracing efforts.
3. States should create appropriate training materials and resources for all government officials, containing gender-specific best practices on how to conduct and integrate the needs and experiences of women particularly those who have been trafficked.
4. States should incorporate gender-inclusive consultations in information sharing mechanisms to source information from active civil society groups working toward eliminating the illicit trade in SALW.

In providing international assistance and capacity building, States should:

1. Initiate a more systematic approach to the gathering of sex-disaggregated data, thus facilitating more effective actions for combating the illicit trade in SALW.
2. Incorporate the knowledge and experience of different civil society groups, including women’s organisations in exchanges and training processes.
3. Incorporate civil society groups, including women’s organisations into training programmes and as a resource tool for training and awareness purposes to ensure that women’s perspectives as users and victims of illicit SALW are reflected in all training programmes.
4. Allocate financial and technical assistance to civil society groups, in particular women’s networks, for peace and disarmament and community reintegration and sensitisation.

States should include gender aspects of small arms and light weapons control, in addition to levels of women’s participation in related processes, in their reports on PoA implementation.