In 2015, Member States agreed on a new development framework to replace the expired Millennium Development Goals. The "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" is a broad and ambitious agenda which aims at achieving sustainable development in the economic, social and environmental fields through the achievement of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets by 2030.
With the adoption of these goals, UN Member States also agreed to adopt specific indicators to get a better understanding of how Member States are achieving the 2030 Agenda (More about the SDGs is outlined in Module 10 of this E4J University Module Series, and Module 12 discusses the issue of measurability of illicit trafficking and the SDG target indicator 16.4.2).
For the purpose of Module 5, it is important to highlight the links between crime and development. In SDG 16, Member States agreed to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all, and build effective and accountable institutions. Significantly, sub-goal 16.4 commits Member States to significantly reduce illicit arms flows by 2030. The inclusion of this goal in the SDGs is a demonstration of the widespread acceptance of arms control as a crucial factor for security, development and justice (Parker and Wilson, 2016: 63). It is also a clear recognition of the importance of the international instruments on firearms and the Sustainable Development Agenda, all of which aim to prevent and combat illicit arms flows.
Its indicator 16.4.2, "proportion of seized, found and surrendered arms, whose illicit origin has been traced or otherwise established by a competent authority in line with international instruments", emphasizes the importance of firearms tracing as a crucial and central moment in the arms control regime, and in the effective criminal justice response to " significantly reduce illicit arms flows" and " combat all forms of organized crime" (extract of SDG 16.4). It also highlights the particular importance and relevance of international instruments like the Firearms Protocol and the International Tracing Instrument in this context (Parker and Wilson, 2016).