U.S. Goals at the 2016 Meeting of the U.N.’s Small-Arms Process

In 2001, the United Nations created the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA). The PoA is not a treaty; rather, it is a political mechanism for encouraging voluntary cooperation.

On June 6–10, the Sixth Biennial Meeting of States (BMS6) under the PoA will be held in New York City. BMS6 purportedly will focus on issues raised at the Second Meeting of Governmental Experts (MGE2) under the PoA, which was held on June 1–5, 2015, and summarized in the “Chair’s Summary” released on June 17, 2015.

The PoA is a useless process that has achieved nothing of value and appears unlikely ever to do so. The only reason for the U.S. to participate in it is to prevent bad outcomes. If BMS6 does indeed focus on the issues raised at MGE2, the U.S. will have to work hard to keep the bad ideas raised in 2015 from becoming part of the U.N.’s PoA agenda in 2016.

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