By Alusine Sesay
Network of women in the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) has demanded an inclusive approach for sustainable progress in the implementation of the UN Programme of Action (PoA) for the control of small arms and light weapon across the world.
“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 recognize that men and boys need programmes to help them reject armed violence,” the Network noted.
According to the Network, 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, thus it is a fact that gender-oriented policy, continuously and rigorously implemented, will maximize all efforts.
“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, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms,” said the Network of Women.
Also, they cited the UN resolution, which noted that gender entry points, stockpile management of weapons and ammunition can reduce illicit proliferation through safeguards to help prevent loss and theft, and that competent female experts should be given the opportunity to participate fully and equally in decision making on location, policy and process on stockpile management.
Further, the resolution noted that 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, adding that women’s experience and knowledge should be integrated into approaches of customs, police, and intelligence organizations.
The resolution again urged that women should be trained in identification of weapons so they can actively participate in investigations and tracing efforts and that 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.
It is also stated that 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 Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and that they should initiate a more systematic approach to the gathering of sex-disaggregated data, thus facilitating more effective actions for combating the illicit trade in SALW.
Meanwhile, the resolution called on states to incorporate the knowledge and experience of different civil society groups, including women’s organizations, in exchanges and training processes and as a resource tool for training and awareness purposes to ensure that women’s perspectives as users and victims of illicit SALW is reflected in all training programmes.
The resolution, according to the Women’s Network, called on states to allocate financial and technical assistance to civil society groups, in particular women’s networks, for peace and disarmament and community reintegration and sensitization, and that they 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.