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”, the UN Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC) carried out a sub-regional seminar entitled “Fostering Violence Prevention against Women through Arms Control. Every Woman Counts.” Dates were from 20 to 21 March 2019 in San Salvador, El Salvador.

The sub-regional seminar brought together government representatives from Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua and Panamá who have responsibility for addressing arms control, gender-based violence and violence against women and girls, as well as leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) specialized in arms control and part of the International Action Network on Small Arms. Also participating were officials and experts from UNDP, UNODC, UN Women, the Organization of American States, the Central American Integration System, and the Center of Excellence for Statistical Information on Government, Crime, Victimization and Justice.

Nancy Robinson, UNLIREC Director, offered opening remarks stressing that the high participation achieved in the Seminar “is a testimony to the growing momentum for action against armed violence in this region.” She noted examples of how the UN and its Member States increasingly highlight and respond to the gendered nature of weapons. She encouraged participants “to stand united and work together to stop femicide and ensure that adequate controls are in place to regulate arms.”

Participants explored the differentiated impacts of armed violence on women and the link between violence against women (VAW) and small arms control through nine thematic sessions including 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. After hearing the seminar sessions, participants stressed the importance of considering arms control as a main aspect in preventing violence against women and expressed their commitment to include arms control in their ongoing projects and activities, as well as when assessing current and prospective legal frameworks.

The sub-regional seminar ended with a practical exercise and small-group discussions based on a specific scenario and a case study. The active engagement of the participants generated constructive dialogues and encouraged assistants to ensure 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 the SDG5 (gender equality) and SDG16 (peace, justice and strong institutions).

The sub-regional seminar is part of a regional project funded by the Government of Canada and it was held in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador.