Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Courtenay Rattray has been elected as Chairman of the Sixth Biennial Meeting of States which will be held in New York in June, 2016.

The meeting will discuss the Programme of Action in tackling the complex issue of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

This is the first time that a CARICOM Member State will chair a meeting of the UN small arms process.

Ambassador Rattray described the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in various parts of the globe as a significant security challenge.

He says the issue continues to pose a systemic and pervasive threat to the long term socio-economic development of many nations around the world, in particular small island developing states.

Over the past two decades, Jamaica and fellow CARICOM partners have been a strong and consistent voice at the United Nations, calling for concerted global action to tackle this transnational scourge that has disproportionately affected the region.

CARICOM countries actively participated in the negotiation of the Programme of Action which was adopted by the international community in 2001 and have been working at the national, regional and international levels, including with civil society, to implement it.

The Programme of Action addresses the tracing and marking of weapons, stockpile management, record keeping, export controls, as well as international cooperation and training for capacity building.