Globally effective instruments
In July 2001 the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons adopted a legally non-binding action programme. This appeals to the responsibility of States and calls for export controls, secure storage, the exchange of information and compliance with arms embargos. The States that have signed the action programme meet at regular intervals to review the progress achieved and to discuss the future direction of their work. At the last conference in June 2010, they signed a final document, thus giving a fresh impetus to their joint efforts.
In 2001 the UN General Assembly approved the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Components and Ammunition. This protocol provides a legally binding basis for the fight against the illegal trade in weapons.
A further important document was approved by the UN General Assembly in 2005: the International Instrument for the Rapid and Reliable Identification of Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons. The United Nations working group that negotiated this agreement was headed by Switzerland.
In 2006 Switzerland and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Geneva held a ministerial conference at which 42 States adopted the Geneva Declaration of Armed Violence and Development (Geneva Declaration, GD). The declaration contains promises to take specific measures against the disastrous interaction between armed violence and socio-economic development. Over a hundred governments have now pledged their support for this.