It’s been an exciting month! The Arms Trade Treaty has been a dominant issue at this year’s UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, and Control Arms has played a central role in organizing events and activities around the discussions.
Control Arms hosted three well-attended side events throughout the month, which helped generate detailed discussion and debate on how the treaty will be implemented. The events shone a spotlight on the issues of Armed Violence, Gender Based Violence and Ratification and featured vibrant discussions between governments and civil society.
Control Arms representatives also participated in a range of expert meetings on treaty implementation issues, as well as conducting numerous bilateral meetings with delegates.
Many governments spoke about the ATT, both during the General Debate in the first week, and in the Conventional Weapons debate. Over 50 governments referenced the ATT in their statements during the thematic session this week, welcoming the ATT’s adoption and lauding its humanitarian purpose and potential to reduce human suffering. A number of governments also noted the contributions of civil society, describing our efforts as “instrumental” to the success of the treaty and its future implementation. The debates concluded with a vote on Resolution 68/L.4 which welcomed the adoption of the ATT and called on all states to sign and provide assistance to other countries if able. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor, with 141 states voting yes. Full statements, as well as a summary of the debates, can be found on Reaching Critical Will’s website, and in its weekly First Committee Monitor.
Control Arms delivered a statement to governments as part of First Committee’s NGO speeches segment, calling for action on the ground, not just words on paper, and urging states to keep up momentum and push for entry into force in 2014, so that the treaty can begin its lifesaving work. To read a summary of all of the Conventional Weapons statements, click here.
The conversation about the ATT continued outside the UN, with a strongly worded opinion piece written by Nobel Laureate and former Costa Rica President Oscar Arias, encouraging the USA to ratify, and pulling apart the arguments of those who continue to oppose the treaty domestically. This came on the heels of a positive US statement, wherein they expressed pride in having signed the treaty and urged all countries to sign and ratify.
Control Arms continued to maintain the profile of the ATT through social media. Using Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and a new Livestream platform, the coalition engaged with tens of thousands of people around the world and highlighted the need for effective treaty implementation.