27th June 2022, marked the first day of the Eighth Biennial Meeting of States (BMS8) to Consider the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA). BMS8 is taking place in person through July 1, 2aq022, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

The meeting started with inaugural procedures: a statement by the deputy to the High Representative of Disarmament Affairs, Thomas Markram (item

1), the election of the chair (item 2, and the adoption of the agenda for the week (item 4).  Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo, Permanent Representative of the Philippines, was confirmed as the Chair for BMS8, and opened his remarks by acknowledging that while there has been substantial progress since the adoption of the PoA in 2001, there is still significant work to be done. Amb. Manalo emphasised that this week is a step toward an effective Program of Action and will ensure that the PoA remains relevant and effective. In the face of a challenging political environment, States must support and maintain political will and work together to achieve consensus on an outcome document. Manalo also thanked civil society groups for their efforts in helping achieve the goals of the PoA.

The Chair then moved to the first substantive part of the agenda (item 6), allowing States to express their considerations on the PoA and ITI implementation at regional and national levels. These are highlightsfrom the floor.

Gender considerations

Many States directly addressed the need to build on previous gender outcomes, and to ensure the inclusion of women and girls into the work of BMS8. Of the 34 States that spoke, 16 States advocated for the need for gender mainstreaming in their opening statements. The representative from El Salvador noted, “Armed violence has different impacts on men, women, boys, and girls…Peace is more successful when women and girls are involved.” The representative from Ireland stated that “Gender-responsive politics are more sustainable. We must continue to strengthen links with the Women, Peace, and Security agenda. A gender-sensitive approach should be promoted for all aspects of SALW work, including gender- and age-sensitive programs and disaggregated data.” Argentina offered a specific solution to address the role that SALW plays in gender-based violence. Argentina’s national firearm regulation agency, ANMaC, pays explicit attention to gender in its licensing process: a license to carry firearms is not granted if the applicant has a history of gender-based violence. Based on this policy’s success so far, Argentina suggested that the other delegations consider a similar approach.