Arms control : paradigm regained ? The French initiative of fighting against illegal aerial transportation of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition

The issue of the illicit air transport of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their related ammunition intersects with other problems : breaches of the UN Security Council’s adopted embargoes ; de-stabilised States, mainly among the poorest nations, and extended regional conflicts ; terrorism fostered ; organized crime help ; endangered air transport safety… The issue is therefore practical. In an international environment marked by mistrust between Nations, arms control’s traditional way has widely revealed its short-comings, in particular as regards the implementation of the Programme of Action adopted by the 2001 UN Conference on the illicit trade of SALW in all its aspects. The 2006 French initiative developed in 2007 and 2008 in different international and regional fora specifically targeted the carriers of these traffics. It has already achieved a number of concrete results. Beyond these efforts, the initiative contributes to a salutary renewal of the traditional arms control process, which has been facing a grave crisis for the last decade.