Disarmament and Sustainable Development

Children play by bullet riddled police station in Gao, Mali

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

States have agreed that the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons has implications for the realization of several Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2018, the Secretary General launched his Agenda for Disarmament, “Securing our Common Future”, where he points out four key areas along which disarmament helps achieve sustainable peace and development. These are: nuclear disarmament to save humanity, conventional disarmament to save lives, disarmament for future generations including emerging technologies, and the need to strengthen our partnerships for disarmament.


An Agenda for Disarmament

The proliferation of various types of weapons has tremendous impacts on many spheres of human life and nature, relating to multiple SDGs, including those relating to peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), economic growth (SDG 8), health (SDG 3), gender equality (SDG 5), and safe cities and communities (SDG 11).

See Advancing disarmament within 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

and How weapons control fosters development

The crucial link between disarmament and development is operationalized as SDG indicators, particularly relating to SDG 16. Indicator 16.4, for instance, specifies the significant reduction of illicit arms flows, that otherwise instigate, fuel and prolong armed conflict, terrorism and crime, as an important way to measure progress.

Through Indicator 16.4.2, UNODA, together with UNODC as co-custodian, collects data on the “proportion of seized, found or surrendered arms, whose illicit origin or context has been traced or established by a competent authority in line with international instruments”.

States provide data on 16.4.2 through their biennial reporting for the UN PoA. The recent data of the last reporting period indicates the following on (1) seized, (2) surrendered and (3) found small arms and light weapons.

Data provided by 63 States through the UN PoA national reports for the years 2016 and 2017: