It has become broadly accepted that controlling the spread of small arms is vital in establishing genuine, practical human security. The multiple dimensions of the problem range beyond the confines of arms control and disarmament - this problem is essentially a humanitarian concern. The approaches to small arms control are illustrated by the variety of initiatives undertaken in the last few years. These include, for example, disarmament of former combatants, women's initiatives in arms collection, related
developmental activities and the fight against transnational organized crime.

As we are going to press, the first Prep Com for the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects has just ended in New York. Many significant decisions, including the Conference's dates, venue and the role of NGOs were not agreed upon at this meeting and have been left for the next Prep Com (in January 2001). These differences, coupled with basic disagreements on the purpose of the Conference, suggest that a deeper examination of the subject is timely. For this issue of Disarmament Forum we take a closer look at many of the recent national and international initiatives to control small arms, provide an overview of where such activities stand and discuss the prospects for controlling small arms. The authors focus on what approaches are needed and how to operationalize them, for example in the context of international negotiations and regional measures. Additionally, pages 59-67 include an up-to-date bibliography of articles concerning these topics. We hope that the views and resources expressed herein encourage new thinking and focus, as well as illuminate possible avenues of future co-operation.

Citation: Kerstin Vignard (ed.) (2000). "Disarmament Forum: Small Arms Control: The Need for Coordination", UNIDIR, Geneva.

Disponible aussi en français.


  • Editor’s note, Kerstin Hoffman
  • Special Comment, Alpha Oumar Konaré, President of the Republic of Mali
  • Negotiating Small Arms Restraint: The Boldest Frontier for Disarmament? Aaron Karp
  • Working Where it Hurts: Perspectives from the Field on Small Arms Demand, David Atwood & David Jackman
  • United Nations Contributions to the Process, David Biggs
  • The 2001 Conference — Breaking Out of the Arms Control Framework, Chris Smith
  • National Policies and Regional Agreements on Arms Exports, Ian Anthony
  • Light Weapons Bibliography and Resource List, compiled by Joshua Margolin
  • The Ottawa Process: Nine-Day Wonder or a New Model for Disarmament Negotiations? Maurice Bleicher
  • Examining the Discourse on Nuclear Weapons, Roya Ghafele Bashi
  • UNIDIR Activities
  • Publications