Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons Fourth Review Conference


Hon. Henry Quartey
Minister for the Interior,
Republic of Ghana
United Nations, New York
June 19 2024


Madam President,
On behalf of the delegation of Ghana, I warmly congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election to preside over this substantive conference. We look forward to reviewing progress in implementing the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNPoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI), and assure you of our full cooperation and support in this review process. Ghana associates itself with the statements delivered by the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). We would like to add the following remarks in our national capacity:


Madam President,
This Review Conference is timely, significant, and particularly crucial for those of us in Africa, as it presents a unique opportunity to strengthen our shared ambition in addressing the plague that faces our continent from the illicit small arms and light weapons and their ammunition in all their aspects. Our region is in the grips of a severe crisis fuelled by the widespread availability of small arms and light weapons (SALW), contributing significantly to the rise in terrorism and violent extremism. Since 2021, attacks by militant Islamist groups in the sub-region have skyrocketed by
70%. Publications by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in collaboration with the UNDP indicate that these militant groups obtain their weapons through various means, including looted military arsenals, poorly controlled national stockpiles, and materials from artisanal mining used to construct improvised explosive devices (IEDs).


Madam President,
Important flagship projects, such as the African Union’s ‘Silencing the Guns’, have been instrumental in our quest for peace and security in Africa. Originally set to conclude in 2020, this initiative has been extended to 2030, highlighting the continued urgency of its mission. This extension underscores that addressing the illicit arms trade is not just a regional challenge but a global imperative. The interconnected and far- reaching impacts of illicit small arms and light weapons demand a concerted, worldwide response. As we consider the scale of harm, havoc and instability caused by the illicit transfer, excessive accumulation, diversion and misuse of small arms and light weapons, we cannot underestimate the enormity of the task before us nor the scale of actions we are required to demonstrate. To achieve the goals of this Review Conference, we must adapt to evolving threats. It is crucial that we do not confine our agenda to issues that have already reached consensus. Instead, we must be bold and forward-thinking, ready to adopt action-oriented measures that address new developments and emerging realities.


Climate change, for example, profoundly impacts the implementation of the POA in our sub-region. According to the International Organization for Migration’s Global Crisis Response
Platform, climate change intensifies conflicts between nomadic herders and farmers competing for scarce resources, leading to increased violence and displacement. This illustrates the urgent need for our frameworks to remain flexible and responsive. The evolving landscape of small arms and light weapons technology also presents significant obstacles. Advances such as 3D printing, additive manufacturing, and reports about the use of drones for smuggling firearms across borders complicate our regulatory efforts. As these technologies reshape the threats we face, our strategies must be equally progressive and robust.


Recognizing the potential synergies between the PoA, the ITI, Agenda 2030, the New Agenda for Peace, and the Summit of the Future is also crucial. It is important to acknowledge that integration enhances their collective impact, underscoring their effectiveness beyond isolated efforts.


Madam President,
Although the UNPoA is not a treaty with legally binding obligations, its adoption together with the ITI by consensus signifies a collective commitment by all Member States to implement these
instruments. In the weeks ahead, it is essential for us to strengthen our commitment as we evaluate the progress made, consolidate successes, and address shortcomings to mitigate the destabilizing impact of small arms and light weapons on global security and stability, with the ultimate goal of their eradication.


In conclusion, Madam President, we look forward to engaging constructively with all parties in good faith to achieve consensus at all levels.


I thank you for kind attention.