As part of the Canada-funded project “Building Momentum for the Regional implementation of A/RES/65/69 on Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control”, UNLIREC – in cooperation with the Ministry of National Security of Trinidad and Tobago – undertook a sub-regional seminar on preventing armed violence against women through arms control, from 26- 27 November 2019 in Port of Spain.

The seminar brought together government representatives from 12 Caribbean States with responsibilities in addressing arms control, gender-based violence and violence against women and girls; as well as leading non-governmental organizations specialized in prevention on gender-based violence and reduction of gun violence in the Caribbean. Also participating were officials and experts from UNDP, UNODC, the Organization of American States, the Delegation of the European Union to Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the Center of Excellence for Statistical Information on Government, Crime, Victimization and Justice.

The sub-regional event strengthened convergence across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Secretary General’s Agenda for Disarmament, along with the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, and the Small Arms control framework. UNLIREC led discussions on the differentiated impact of armed violence on women and the link between violence against women (VAW) and small arms control. In addition, discussions revolved around the importance of mainstreaming gender into small arms control measures, legal responses, criminal investigation and effective policing, statistics and information management, as well as prevention, education and advocacy campaigns. UNLIREC presented the findings and recommendations born of its sub-regional legal review, which cross-references small arms legislation with domestic violence provisions.

In addition to increasing awareness on small arms control as a main aspect in preventing violence against women, the importance of strengthening cooperation and coordination between experts, institutions and civil society in order to develop more gender-responsive and evidence-based small arms policies and programming, in line with international commitments and guidance, was also a major take-away from the seminar.

During the practical exercises, participants actively engaged on identifying a genuine convergence of agendas by ensuring the collection of disaggregated data on femicide perpetrators, arms involved, risk factors, and reporting on all forms of gender-based violence in order to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs), in particular SDG5 (gender equality) and SDG16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).

This event is the second of a series of two sub-regional seminars. The first was held in El Salvador in March for Central American States.