Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons – Biennial Meeting of States


The Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (PoA), is a political (non-legally binding) document that establishes a normative framework aimed to “prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects”. With the adoption of the PoA, UN member states have committed to to improve national small arms laws, import/export controls, and stockpile management – and to engage in international cooperation and assistance. They also committed to the development and strengthening of national legislation, regulations and systems, in order to prevent their illicit trade and diversion.

In 2005, the PoA was complemented by the adoption of the International Tracing Instrument (ITI), which requires States to ensure that weapons are properly marked and that records are kept. Moreover, it provides a framework for cooperation in weapons tracing – fulfilling one of the commitments governments made in the Programme of Action. Improving weapons tracing is now part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Eighth Biennial Meeting of States on the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (BMS8) took place at the United Nations in New York City from 27 June to 1 July 2022. It was convened on a consecutive year to the BMS7 (26-30 July 2021) due to posticipation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.