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Reporting Transfers of Small Arms and Light Weapons to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, 2007

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Publisher: SIPRI
February, 2009

States have been invited to report on international transfers of small arms and light weapons (SALW) to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA) since 2003. After a slow start, the rate of reporting increased significantly in 2006 and 2007. However, several of the most significant SALW exporters have never reported on international transfers of SALW to UNROCA.

The level of reporting on international transfers of SALW is now high enough that the 2009 UNROCA Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) should reconsider the establishment of a new, eighth UNROCA category on SALW. The creation of a category for SALW could simply involve the formal transformation of the current ‘virtual’ eighth category into a full category.

For submissions to be of use for monitoring international transfers of SALW, they must include information on units transferred, the importing and exporting states, and the type (subcategory) of SALW. States should also be encouraged to use the ‘Comments’ column of the standardized reporting form to give information on a specific end-user or -use, and to state if transfers to civilians are included. The German practice of using export licences in lieu of delivery information merits further discussion within the GGE for those states that are currently unable to provide information on actual deliveries.

This paper updates SIPRI Policy Paper no. 22, which covered the years 2003–2006.



I. Introduction

II. Participation

III. An analysis of reporting for 2007

IV. Conclusions and recommendations


Paul Holtom Paul Holtom is the Head of the Conventional Arms and Ammunition Programme at UNIDIR. He was previously the Director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme.