United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs
The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) provides substantive analysis and advice to the Secretary-General on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation issues. The Office assists Member States in promoting and strengthening multilaterally negotiated principles and norms in all areas of disarmament and non-proliferation. Additionally, it assists Member States in their efforts to prevent the destabilizing and excessive accumulation of illicit small arms and light weapons. The Office promotes transparency, based on the principle of undiminished security for all, and confidence-building measures in the field of disarmament. Through its regional centres for peace and disarmament, UNODA assists Member States in promoting regional approaches to disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation in support of regional and international peace and security.
The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) contributes to policy development including on the gender aspects of disarmament, and executes disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation programmes at the regional, subregional and national levels through its three UN Regional Centres for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC); Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD); and Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC). The Secretary General’s Agenda for Disarmament Securing our Common Future calls for greater efforts to be made towards achieving equal, full and effective participation of women in all decision-making processes related to disarmament and for gender-responsive arms control to reduce violence against women and girls in both public and private spheres. UNODA committed to undertake concrete activities in this regard in the agenda’s implementation plan. The Office began mainstreaming a gender perspective into its work in 2001, with the issuance of briefing notes on "Gender Perspectives on Disarmament", followed by a Gender Action Plan, the first such plan at the UN Secretariat. In 2006, UNODA issued guidelines for "Mainstreaming Gender for the Effective Implementation of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms", which were revised in 2010. In addition, ODA supports Member States in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and General Assembly resolution 65/69 (2011). UNODA chairs the inter-agency coordination mechanism on arms, the arms trade and ammunition (CASA), where gender aspects are fully taken into account. In 2017, CASA adopted a Modular Small-arms-control Implementation Compendium (MOSAIC) module on women, men, and the gendered nature of small arms and light weapons. The module provides guidance for practitioners on implementing gender-responsive programming on small arms and light weapons control. UNODA also participates in UN-wide joint programming to prevent and reduce armed violence. Finally, UNODA has developed a long-standing cooperation with the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) on gender aspects of the small arms / arms trade issue.
Areas of Focus
Weapons of mass destruction, military expenditures, disarmament & development, arms trade, small arms, landmines, cluster munitions, transparency and confidence-building.
UNODA developed internal guidance on the inclusion of arms control components in national action plans (NAPs) on Women Peace and Security, and The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) provided support to the revision process of Nepal’s NAP which included sexual violence and violence against women.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) undertook extensive legal reviews to cross-reference small arms laws with domestic violence provisions throughout twenty-two Latin American and Caribbean states. These studies included recommendations to incorporate restrictions on the acquisition and renewal of firearms licenses by those who have been convicted of domestic violence.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) engaged in a legal and technical assistance project in Timor-Leste to develop a National Action Plan on the implementation of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) including consideration of gender and violence aspects.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) conducted the Firearms and Ammunition Evidence Management Course (EMC) for national security and justice sector representatives in the Dominican Republic [National Police, Public Ministry, Ministry of Interior and Police, Ballistic Laboratory, Ministry of Defence and Customs], as well as in Costa Rica and in El Salvador. The training incorporates gender perspective into firearms and ammunition evidence management to determine possible cases of violence against women.
Through the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR) administered by UNODA, Nonviolence International realized a project on Increasing Effective Implementation of the ATT Through Practical Understanding of the Gender-based Violence Criteria, including a 3-day in-person training and two side events.
In an op-ed published by Friends of Europe, the High Representative for Disarmament stated that gender must be at the heart of arms policy and highlighted the impact of weapons, in particular small arms, on the prevalence of sexual violence in conflict.
The High Representative for Disarmament spoke during the Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence saying that intimate partner violence is even more perilous when guns are involved, abetting sexual and domestic violence, and potentially femicide. She called for governments to deny access to guns to those who have been convicted of domestic or interpersonal violence, saying that through gender-responsive legislation and licensing policies, violence against women can be punished, prevented and eliminated.
High Representative for Disarmament participated in a thematic panel on gender and gender-based violence during the of Fifth Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (CSP5) and called for deepened understanding and implementation of gender-responsive arms control. [Gender and gender-based violence (GBV) was the thematic priority of Fifth Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (CSP5) 2019 and in the final report of the conference, States agreed to strengthen the ability of States Parties to apply the GBV risk assessment criteria and to review progress on an ongoing basis.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) held two sub-regional seminars on “Preventing Armed Violence Against Women Through Arms Control” targeting national authorities from Central America (in El Salvador) [Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama. Also participating were officials and experts from UNDP, UNODC, UN Women, the Organization of American States, the Central American Integration System, and the Center of Excellence for Statistical Information on Government, Crime, Victimization and Justice] and Caribbean States (in Trinidad and Tobago) [ Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname. 12 civil society organizations participated, as well as 3 regional organizations. ] with direct responsibilities in arms control and prevention of violence against women and girls. The seminars focused on arms control as a fundamental pillar of public policies aimed at preventing and reducing violence against women. They likewise provided opportunities for non-governmental organizations and government representatives from the two sub-regions to exchange ideas, discuss strategies, and consider possibilities for joint initiatives to address challenges vis-a-vis armed violence against women.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) organized a “Workshop for Pacific Island States on Gun Violence and Illicit Small-Arms Trafficking from a Gender Perspective” in Fiji where sexual violence and violence against women was a core part of the discussions with civil society organizations and parliamentarians from the Pacific [Fiji, Papa New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Island and Vanuatu]. It was the final sub-regional workshop in a series of training events.
Following the Sixth Biennial Meeting of States on small arms and light weapons in all its aspects, ODA revised the Programme of Action national reporting template to include for the first time two questions regarding gender considerations in the implementation of the Programme of Action, allowing. Reports are publicly available on the ODA website.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) launched a project on measuring illicit trafficking and community security through participatory SDG 16-based indicators and conducted capacity building sessions on the indicators, one of which is violence against women at the community level.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) published a study on the criminal use of ammunition and trafficking based on data collected from crime scenes in the Dominican Republic and Peru. The study discussed gender aspects, such as ammunition used in gender-specific crimes, gender of victims of crimes involving ammunition, gender roles in the trafficking of ammunition, and the inclusion of women in criminal investigations involving ammunition.
ODA promoted the Modular Small-arms-control Implementation Compendium (MOSAIC) module on “Women, men and the gendered nature of small arms and light weapons”.
At the Third United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action, States agreed on progressive language on gender in the outcome document, including, for the first time, the recognition that eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons is a key part of combating gender-based violence. UNODA provided substantive secretariat support to the Review Conference, including regional consultations. Additionally, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) held a dedicated session on a gendered approach to the UN Programme of Action (PoA) on Small Arms and Light Weapons at a regional preparatory meeting the for the Third Review Conference on the PoA.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) initiated a region-wide project on the issue of women, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. UNRCPD conducted two sub-regional workshops on gun violence and illicit small-arms trafficking from a gender perspective, for Southeast Asia in July and for South Asia in September, respectively.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) organized a technical workshop on ATT Evaluation of Transfers and Reports for Guatemala. The training covered risk assessment under the ATT, which requires that States assess the risk that the conventional arms, ammunition or parts and components being transferred are being used to commit or facilitate serious acts of gender-based violence or serious acts of violence against women and children. UNLIREC also carried out a Gender & ATT Table Top Exercise in San Salvador aimed at assisting the State in understanding the obligations under the ATT and providing practical insights into the ATT´s risk assessment methodology, emphasizing the importance of gender-based criteria. UNLIREC organized a training course on Firearms and Ammunition Evidence Management, which underlined the gendered aspects of small arms and highlighted the links between armed violence and gender-based violence.
The High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, become an International Gender Champion and as such, committed to raise global awareness about the gendered impact of weapons, from small arms and light weapons to weapons of mass destruction.
The High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Izumi Nakamitsu, published an op-ed on the relationship between gender equality and gun violence against women and girls
The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) also presented at a regional workshop on Enhancing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Northeast Asia, which aimed to address global linkages and synergies between disarmament and Women, Peace and Security efforts, as well as gender aspects and approaches in regional disarmament initiatives.
UNLIREC Comparative Legal Review: Normative Links between Gender-based Violence and Firearms Control Regulations - Case Study Peru