Russia, Saudi-funded UN project to combat illicit arms’ trade launched

The UN on Friday launched a project funded by Saudi Arabia and Russia aimed at tackling terrorism. (SPA)
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Updated 23 February 2020

Russia, Saudi-funded UN project to combat illicit arms’ trade launched

  • The project supports the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

NEW YORK: The UN on Friday launched a project funded by the Kingdom and Russia aimed at tackling terrorism, organized crime and the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the Central Asian region, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The project seeks to strengthen criminal justice responses to prevent and combat the illicit trade in SALW and to disrupt the illicit supply of these weapons to terrorist groups.

The undersecretary-general of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), Vladimir Voronkov, said that SALW had increasingly become the preferred weapon of many terrorist groups worldwide for their cheapness, accessibility, transfer, concealment and use.

He said that the relationship between terrorism and organized crime, including the illicit trade in SALW, was a serious threat to international peace and security. It also represented an obstacle to sustainable development and a threat to the rule of law.

“According to statistics, there were 100 million uncontrolled small arms and light weapons on the African continent alone, concentrated in crisis areas and environments facing security challenges," Voronkov said.

Ghada Wali, the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said the relationship between terrorism and crime was a global challenge. “Any regional gaps in the face of these threats have far-reaching consequences for all. The new project looks forward to addressing a whole range of obstacles to progress, through which we seek to establish legal frameworks, strengthen law enforcement capacity and criminal justice, improve data and address gaps in cooperation.”

A member of Saudi Arabia’s permanent mission to the UN, Abdul Majeed Al-Babtain, said the problem of the illicit trade in SALW and transferring them to terrorist groups was a global concern.

He said that the complexity in dealing with the relationship between weapons, organized crime and terrorism was reflected in the multidimensional nature of the threat, pointing out that the Kingdom called for taking many measures in order to establish preventive mechanisms and a successful response.

“While this project is focused on the Central Asian region, it can offer lessons to and be implemented in other parts of the world, and this could serve as a good model for future phases,” Al-Babtain said, expressing Saudi Arabia's pride in funding the project.

The project supports the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, UN Security Council Resolution 2370, the Madrid Guidelines and the Firearms Protocol to the UN Convention against Transnational Crime, among other international legal instruments.

It will be implemented in 2020-2021 by the UNOCT and the UNODC, through the Global Firearms Programme, in close cooperation with the executive directorate of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee and the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The project will contribute to the enhancement of national legislative, strategic and operational capacities of countries in Central Asia countries, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, whose permanent UN representatives attended the event.


Saudi Arabia’s 6-point plan to jumpstart global economy

Updated 07 July 2020

Saudi Arabia’s 6-point plan to jumpstart global economy

  • Policy recommendations to G20 aim to counter effects of pandemic

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as president of the G20 group of nations, has unveiled a six-point business plan to jump start the global economy out of the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yousef Al-Benyan, the chairman of the B20 business group within the G20, told a webinar from Riyadh that the response to the pandemic -— including the injection of $5 trillion into the global economy — had been “reassuring.”

But he warned that the leading economies of the world had to continue to work together to mitigate the effects of global lockdowns and to address the possibility of a “second wave” of the disease.

“Cooperation and collaboration between governments, global governance institutions and businesses is vital for an effective and timely resolution of this multi-dimensional contagion transcending borders,” Al-Benyan said.

“The B20 is strongly of the view there is no alternative to global cooperation, collaboration and consensus to tide over a multi-dimensional and systemic crisis,” he added.

The six-point plan, contained in a special report to the G20 leadership with input from 750 global business leaders, sets out a series of policy recommendations to counter the effects of the disease which threaten to spark the deepest economic recession in nearly a century.

The document advocates policies to build health resilience, safeguard human capital, and prevent financial instability.

It also promotes measures to free up global supply chains, revive productive economic sectors, and digitize the world economy “responsibly and inclusively.”

In a media question-and-answer session to launch the report, Al-Benyan said that among the top priorities for business leaders were the search for a vaccine against the virus that has killed more than half-a-million people around the world, and the need to reopen global trade routes slammed shut by economic lockdowns.

He said that the G20 response had been speedy and proactive, especially in comparison with the global financial crisis of 2009, but he said that more needed to be done, especially to face the possibility that the disease might surge again. “Now is not the time to celebrate,” he warned.

“Multilateral institutions and mechanisms must be positively leveraged by governments to serve their societies and must be enhanced wherever necessary during and after the pandemic,” he said, highlighting the role of the World Health Organization, the UN and the International Monetary Fund, which have come under attack from some world leaders during the pandemic.

Al-Benyan said that policy responses to the pandemic had been “designed according to each country’s requirements.”

Separately, the governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority said that it was “too early” to say if the Kingdom’s economy would experience a sharp “V-shape” recovery from pandemic recession.