The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their ammunition, parts and components remains a serious international problem in many States. To prevent the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion into the illicit market, all states have committed since 2001 to put in place stronger systems that will ensure responsible control of arms transfers. A coherent regulatory system for SALW should include robust export and import risk assessment procedures and licensing systems involving verification of end-use certificates and other documents, as well as as physical security and secure notification measures, relating to brokerage, transportation, storage, and deployment. Post-export activities are receiving increasing attention – what governments have come to call ‘post-shipment inspection‘.
This backgrounder outlines ways to prevent post-shipment diversion, highlights relevant international instruments, and defines post-shipment measures.
Post-shipment measures taken by exporting states may include the use of (a) delivery verification certificates, (b) on-site post-delivery verification inspections, (c) the use of non-re-export clauses in the end use(r) and (d) an on-site end-use check to ensure compliance with the obligation of the importing State not to transfer title or possession of goods to any person or entity without the consent of the exporting State, so that the arms or other items are used only for the purpose for which they are intended.