As secretariat of the Pacific Small Arms Action Group (PSAAG), CAVR has worked extensively across Oceania. Experience differs by state, but in recent years this region has been relatively peaceful. That said, it’s also the Pacific experience that even a small number of illicit small arms can threaten human security and damage the economy, especially in a small community. The widespread availability of illicit firearms in crime, political and domestic violence poses a threat to the security and prosperity of any region, in some cases severely inhibiting development. In light of this experience, Pacific governments are deeply committed to stemming the flow of illicit arms and to reducing and preventing armed violence. CAVR assists states in this aim, largely through ‘all of government’ and civil society capacity building and training.

Participants at PSAAG arms control workshop in Papua New Guinea.
Photo Credit: PSAAG

In the Pacific, CAVR and PSAAG focus on early intervention and prevention of armed violence, promoting the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the UN small arms Programme of Action (UNPoA), and other linked international and regional instruments and assistance programmes. As the majority of armed violence in the Pacific is due to the misuse of local weapons and the region is not subject to large-scale arms trafficking, CAVR projects focus largely on record-keeping, safe storage and effective regulation of small arms and light weapons. We do this with capacity building, technical guides, training and on-the-ground expert assistance closely tailored to the needs of each state.

To ensure local ownership of arms control mechanisms, the Centre collaborates closely with governments and civil society to build an arms control systems to meet their own needs. We take a ‘whole of government approach’, bringing together agencies and officials who might normally work in silos, but can quickly link skills to help weave a global net to catch and deter traffickers of illicit arms.

Currently, the Centre is working with the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR) to ensure that international arms control standards are more widely adopted by Pacific governments. Read more about this project here.

For more information about our work in the Pacific generally, please visit the PSAAG site.