Debate

The government prioritises reducing the spread of small and light weapons

The work against uncontrolled proliferation of small and light weapons has long been a priority issue for Sweden. This is shown, among other things, in the budget for 2018, writes State Secretary Ulrika Modéer in a response to the Parliamentary Forum for Light Weapons questions.

It is welcome that Karin Olofsson and Maria Andersson Willner from the Parliamentary Forum draw attention to the consequences of the uncontrolled spread of small and light weapons. Illegal flows of weapons exacerbate conflicts, threaten peace and development and cause great human suffering. The importance of reducing such flows of weapons to achieve sustainable development and contribute to peace has been increasingly highlighted in recent years, not least in Agenda 2030. The work against uncontrolled proliferation of small and light weapons has long been a priority issue for Sweden, manifested among other through active participation and support for international processes and instruments such as the UN Action Program against Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons and the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

The strategy for sustainable peace, which was adopted following a decision by the government on 24 August this year, states as one of eight sub-goals that the activities will contribute to strengthened capacity to reduce the uncontrolled spread of small and light weapons. According to the budget bill, the budget for Sida's work under the strategy amounts to SEK 415 million. The Folke Bernadotte Academy will also contribute to the implementation of the strategy and in 2018 will set aside up to SEK 13,5 million for this purpose.

It is important to point out that efforts to prevent the proliferation of small arms and light weapons are not only funded through the Sustainable Peace Strategy. This is done through several geographical and regional strategies, for example for Guatemala and for sub-Saharan Africa, as well as through support for foundations, civil society organizations and research.

Overall, the Government's ambition to invest in reducing the spread of small and light weapons is reflected in the increased budget space proposed for 2018 and in the strategy for sustainable peace. At the same time, the strategy must of course be put into practice. The work to achieve the set goals will continue until the year 2022.

Ulrika Modéer

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