Lithuania at UN Security Council: ‘Illicit trade in small arms has devastating impact on world’s most endangered species’
On 30 November in New York, Lithuania and Angola co-hosted the UN Security Council’s Arria-formula meeting on the impact of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and poaching in Africa. The organisers hoped that the meeting would help further increase awareness of the linkages that existed between the illicit trafficking in small arms and poaching and their role in fuelling conflict.
“Poaching not only poses a growing threat to wildlife, but also deprives local communities of their livelihood, leads to corruption at all levels of government, enables the spread of armed violence. Moreover, the world’s poorest countries cannot benefit from the income from tourism,” said the Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the UN, Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaitė.
Despite all efforts by the international community, Africa has recorded a steady rise in poaching in recent years. More than 60 percent of all forest elephants have been killed over the past decade in Africa.
“The aim of this meeting is not only to serve as a step towards greater Council engagement on the issue of preventing weapons from ending up in the hands of poachers, but also to encourage it to take concrete action, including imposing sanctions against poachers, exposing illegal trade routes and increasing the UN’s involvement in the fight against wildlife crime,” said the Ambassador Murmokaitė.
The aim of gaining enormous profit drives poaching. The actors involved in poaching include armed groups, transnational criminal networks, corrupt local officials and military personnel. Poachers use a range of weapons, including hunting and Kalashnikov pattern rifles. The guns are smuggled across borders or diverted from poorly secured government stockpiles.
During its tenure as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Lithuania consistently dedicated attention to the illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons. The latest Security Council’s resolution on tackling illicit trade in small arms was adopted during Lithuania’s Presidency in May 2015. Among other things, this resolution specifically recognises the link between illegal exploitation and trade in natural resources and the proliferation of and illicit trafficking in arms, as a major factor fuelling and exacerbating conflict.
For more information about the meeting, please read here.