Reaching 50: The Arms Trade Treaty
26 September, 2014
Yesterday, 25 September, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) reached 50 ratifications and thus triggered entry into force. The Treaty will now enter into force on 24th December 2014. Ratifications have steadily accrued over the past year since the adoption of the treaty by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the 2nd April 2013, with five of the ten largest global arms exporters among those that have ratified the treaty (the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy and France). One year on from the ATT opening for signature at the UN, the number of ratifications had reached 40, with the final ratifications on the 25th September of eight states- Argentina, the Bahamas, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Saint Lucia, Senegal and Uruguay providing the crucial backing to see the Treaty into force and bring the overall total to 53.
The Arms Trade Treaty: preparing for the First Conference of States Parties
Wednesday 17 – Friday 19 September 2014 (WP1341)
Supported by a resounding majority in the UNGA, the ATT represents a major success for international collaboration. Through regulating international trade in conventional weapons, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships, the treaty aims to foster peace and security by thwarting uncontrolled arms flows to conflict regions.
The adoption of UN Resolution A/RES/61/89 in 2006 signalled the beginning of a coordinated global effort to fight unregulated international trade in arms, with the United Kingdom playing a key role from the off. As the 6th largest arms exporter and accounting for 4% of deliveries worldwide, the UK’s commitment to the Treaty has been critical in engaging others and ensuring success.
Wilton Park’s involvement in the evolution of the Treaty dates back to its early days. In 2007 we convened an event to discuss possibilities for an Arms Trade Treaty and this was followed in 2011 by a meeting to assess progress, identifying key objectives in addition to preparing for a successful outcome at the 2012 Negotiation Conference.
Last week, in collaboration with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs; Australian Permanent Mission to the UN and US Department of State, we convened key stakeholders to assess how the treaty will be implemented in practice at our event The Arms Trade Treaty: preparing for the First Conference of States Parties. This meeting provided an opportunity to address issues such as the Secretariat and reporting.
Following years of work on a global scale, at national, regional and international levels, ensuring effective implementation will now prove key to the success and legacy of the Arms Trade Treaty. Controversial issues related to implementation and interpretation will surely abound and should not be avoided in dialogues. In this context we will continue to provide a neutral and discreet environment for sensitive discussions that maintain an international network for a range of actors engaged in and impacted by the Treaty.
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