Category Archives: International Law

Launched: ISACS Accountability Project

For Immediate Release

TSM Worldwide LLC is pleased to announce the rolling spin-off of the United Nations (UN) International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS) Accountability Project (IAP).   The provisional mission of the IAP is to help close the accountability gap with respect to the development and implementation of the ISACS.  The IAP is a spin-off non-profit public interest research and advocacy initiative independently carried out by a coalition of stakeholders interested improving the accountability and responsiveness of UN public authorities to the interests, goals, and concerns of all stakeholders affected by their informal international lawmaking.   In the future, additional information can be found at the dedicated website for the IAP (www.isacs-ap.org), which is currently under development.  Membership inquiries can be sent to membership (at) isacs-ap.org.

Background

The UN ISACS effort started in 2007 as a multi-stakeholder initiative (MSI) to develop normative instruments for UN member states (to incorporate into their national regulations and/or legislation) on various aspects of the small arms and light weapons (SALW) issue.

In the field of international law, “normative” instruments are those aimed at steering behavior of actors and/or determining, reducing, or otherwise constraining the freedoms of actors, and/or unilaterally shaping the legal or factual situation of actors.  [1]  Actors can be state or non-state in nature.  Non-state actors are generally understood to include, among other things, corporations and individual private citizens.

In the words of ISACS Project Coordinator Dr.  Patrick Mc Carthy, ISACS was envisioned to “serve as a powerful strategic and operational instrument of SALW control.” [2]   However, several years of history shows that the ISACS MSI essentially compromised on three sets of principles in the pursuit of its goals:

  1. ISO principles of international standards development.  One of these principles is that international standards development is a multi-stakeholder process.
  2. UN principles of effective MSI governance.
  3. UN principles of professional and ethical conduct.

The third set of principles comes into the picture on account of published reports and statements variously made in the UN by ISACS participants aligned to the interests, goals, and concerns of industry.

The SALW industry, broadly understood, includes not just manufacturers of arms and ammunition, but other interested parties such as other companies in supply and distribution chains, retailers, consultancies, competitive shooting groups, hunting and conservation groups, collector groups, adult and youth training organizations, hobby clubs and associations, civil arms rights advocacy groups, and the more than 62% of the total American population (about 198 million people) who believe having a gun at home makes them safer.

References

[1] J. Pauwelyn, R. Wessel, and J. Wouters (eds), Informal International Lawmaking (OUP, Oxford, 2012) pp. 16, 22.  Also includes reference to A. von Bogdandy, P. Dann, and M. Goldman, ‘Developing the Publicness of Public International Law: Towards a Legal Framework for Global Governance Activities’ (2008) 9 German Law Journal 1375, 1376.

[2] P. Mc Carthy.  ‘ISACS Background Paper.’  UN CASA.  14 Nov 2008.  p. 4.  Online: http://tsmworldwide.com/?attachment_id=2029

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