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Civil Society as the Third Pillar

Member States from 193 different countries gather today at the United Nation Headquarters in NYC for Day 1 of the Sixth Biennial Meeting of States. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the implementation of the Program of Action (PoA), to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All its Aspects. The meeting happens every 2 years for Member States to discuss the implementation of the PoA specifically in their country and its effects. As Member States discussion how to further implement the PoA, the involvement of civil society has been mentioned many times. Civil society consist of many organizations from around the globe that allow the society to monitor the implementation of the PoA in their country. The fight against disarmament is made up of Member States of the UN, Civil Society, and the gun industry. Organizations, better known as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) are the third pillar in the fight against the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons, monitoring their countries implementation process of the PoA. NGO’s can be small or large, IANSA, an NGO focused on the movement against gun violence, is a coalition of over 800 NGO’s across the world. Civil Society NGO’s are the first step in allowing citizens to monitor and have a voice in the implementation process in their own country. If you wish to get involved in this amazing process, one possibility is to visit the website of the Thematic Cluster on Peace at and join their efforts. Another NGO that is heavily involved is Nonviolence International, found on the web at Both are members of IANSA, which is the coalition focused on the worldwide implementation of the PoA. It’s no cliché in this field, one’s involvement in any NGO can truly make a difference, one voice at a time! Follow us all week for more updates on the Biennial Meeting of States which will take place in New York City until Friday evening. We hope, as all NGO’s, to make an impact on Member States to better the implementation of the PoA.

Amanda Coppa -

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