Towards an Evidence-Based Arms Control and Disarmament - Episode 5
Ms Ashley Müller: Welcome to Episode 5, of this mini-series on towards evidence-based arms control and disarmament, I’m your host Ashley Müller with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and in this episode we speak with Anne-Séverine Fabre a Data Expert at the Small Arms Survey. She will provide an overview on Sustainable Development Goal 16, targets and indicators.
Ms Ashley Müller: Anne-Severine Fabre, you are Data Expert at the Small Arms Survey. Among the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 adopted by the United Nations, there is a Goal 16 “to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. Within this broad goal, there is Target 16.4, “by 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime”. Since you deal with illicit arms flows, how can you determine whether the Target will be reached? Are there any objective indicators?
Anne-Séverine Fabre: Illicit arms flows and their impacts are multi-faceted and therefore they call for multi-level efforts. When you want to better understand and combat illicit arms flows, you need to collect, analyse, share, data, this will then enable authorities to better allocate resources and protect their population and territory more effectively. The indicators guiding the data are crucial to support policy making, especially evidence-based policy making, and they can also help develop strategies and/or targeted policies.
The SDGs support these efforts at a global level as shown by Target 16.4 and there is also 16.1 the reduction of violent death, they are part of that global framework but in a way you need also to have national indicators that are adapted to national contexts. And so SDG’s are more on the global level and is more aimed at being universal and so they need to be adapted to national contexts and this was known since inception of the 2030 Agenda since in the resolution that established the Sustainable Development Goals already had encouraged to have adapted national indicators
In that respect, the Small Arms Survey, in consultation with interested countries and the African Union Commission, has developed national indicators adapted to national contexts so that they can inform global indicators but also that monitor and evaluate various small arms-related interventions that are national.
These indicators support key issues of small arms control from illicit arms flows to the prevention and reduction of violent death related to the misuse of small arms to the implementation and monitoring of small arms and controlled interventions.
Here you can see the examples of the national indicators proposed. So it goes from the impact of the misuse of firearms, for example firearm-related killings per 100,000 populations. You have indicators related to regional or international framework and the performance related to that so whether or not there were any UNPoA national reports that were made. You have also a more technical aspect which is linked for example to the existence of official standard operating procedures that are related to PSSM, physical security and stockpile management. You have also more cross cutting issues that are related to gender, this is for example, whether the different indicators are sex-disaggregated when they can be or women’s participation in addressing small arms control issues, so informal bodies addressing these issues.
A concrete example of the use of these national indicators is for example in Niger with the national action plans 2019-2022 of Niger, those indicators were incorporated in the formulation of the strategy as well as in the implementation and for monitoring and evaluation purposes.
Another important key finding from this project is that many different stakeholders that could be relevant to small arms control and data are often not in contact with each other on those issues. For example, we saw that the institutions mainly worked independently and were not aware of the complementary skills, practices and data that they have, since those institutions those are security and defence forces, national statistical offices and also the civil society and relevant ministries of course which include parliamentarians as well.
At this point, it is difficult to determine whether the target will be achieved. But what can be said is that progress is being made towards this goal. In that area, the progress that is being made is often through knowledge sharing and also research and this spurs on the evidence-based policymaking as we would like to see. For instance, also the Small Arms Survey has a series of databases on violent deaths, the GVDD (Global Violent Deaths database), Unplanned Explosions at Munition Sites (UEMS database) that also help policymakers to have better knowledge of issues and there is also the 2020 Global Study on Firearms Trafficking and the Global Homicide Study by UNODC are also steps closer to bridging the gap.
Ms Ashley Müller: That’s all we have now for this episode. Thank you to Anne-Séverine Fabre for joining us in this mini-series. Click the next button to listen to Episode 6 where we discuss parliamentary work in arms control and disarmament affairs. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on Spotify or iTunes or subscribe to us on your favourite podcast player and follow us across all of our social media channels.