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How SDG 16.4 is Making You Safer

Do you think your life is in danger due to terrorism? Europe has faced terrorism for many years. Paris, London, and other big cities were attacked by terrorists, and a lot of people were killed by these terrorists. How do terrorists get their weapons? The weapons used in the attacks were coming through the Balkans into Europe, for example. Illicit weapons were crossing borders, and the illegal reactivation of Kalashnikovs was usually made by the sale of gun parts on the Internet. This failure of border control as well as the illegal guns trade let terrorists to the illegal possession of guns. It also assures the possibility of a recurrence of terrorist attacks. These illicit trade of guns also threaten other countries. To protect world security and safety, the United Nations created Sustainable Development Goal 16 for fighting this illicit trade of small arms.

On September 25, 2015, the United Nations created the 17 global goals for sustainable development.. One of the main goals is Goal 16, which says, “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive.” Thus Sustainable Development Goals 16 is very important for keeping the world secure and safe. There are many targets and indicators in SDG 16 that provide the details how to do this, but I wish to focus on Target 16.4 and the two indicators that measure the success of it’s implementation.

Target 16.4 “ SDG 16.4 by 2030 significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen recovery and return of stolen assets, and combat all forms of organized crime”

Indicators are

  • Indicator 16.4.1- Total value of inward and outward illicit financial flows (in current United States dollars)

  • Indicator 16.4.2- Proportion of seized small arms and light weapons that are recorded and traced, in accordance with international standards and legal instruments.

This Target reflects the priorities of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) and its three Protocols tracing the Smuggling of Migrants and the Manufacturing and Trafficking of Firearms by those migrants and others. The purpose of these protocols is to combat against transnational organized crime, including domestic criminal offences, and to prevent the worst forms of exploitation of migrants which often characterize the smuggling process. Also, this protocol seeks to prevent and combat the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms, their parts and ammunition.

As the United Nations Convention Against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument for reducing illegal arms flows, and thus the UNCAC reflects of the Arms Trade Treaty. UNCAC covers:

  • Preventive Measures,

  • Criminalization and Law Enforcement,

  • International Cooperation

  • Asset Recovery

  • Technical Assistance and Information Exchange.

International Small Arms Control Standard (ISACS), based on international law and global standards, also focuses on border controls of illicit trade (ISACS 05.60).

Many of these instruments grew out of the “Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illilcit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all it’s Aspects”, which the UN member-states adapted in 2001, which includes provisions on:

  • Marking legally manufactured small arms

  • Tracing legally owned small arms

  • Conversion to illegal usage

  • Recapture from illegal usage

  • Stockpiling

  • Destruction of stockpiled weapons

The world must be vigilant about the threat of terrorism. UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 and other disarmament instruments help by focusing on reducing illicit financial and arms flows and border controls so that terrorists cannot trade their weapons, as well as combat against the illicit manufacturing of weapons. Thus SDG 16 is a new and important step in the reinforcement of peace and security for the entire world.



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