Reported by Dr Robert Mtonga

March 15-19, 2016 were red-letter days in Zambia’s quest to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, with the Ministry of Defence, the lead agency in the process, announcing formally at two separate but related seminars that all due processes have now been completed and the Cabinet Memorandum (CabMemo) has been allotted time at the next Cabinet meeting for endorsement.

The Ministry of Defence official further informed the gatherings that all line ministries have approved the CabMemo in readiness for the Cabinet to endorse it and send it to Parliament. The Zambia Parliament is sitting from 12th April to 10th May 2016 for its final session this year.

Dr Robert Mtonga addresses colleagues at the EU ATT Outreach Project Meeing

Zambian civil society stakeholders, working on the ATT in Zambia, drawn from disability organisations, religious groups, health organisations, women’s rights among others jointly convened by IPPNW-Zambia and SACCORD met for 2 and half days for a debriefing and planning seminar on the latest on the ATT, the outcomes of the CSP2015, Extra-ordinary Meeting in Geneva and the upcoming CSP2016 and to plan lobbying the Government of Zambia to urgently ratify the ATT in order to be a State Party by August 2016 at the second CSP.

Four representatives from the Zambian Civil society Organisations were also invited to participate in the EU ATT Outreach Project (BAFA) meeting. The colleagues intereacted with delegates by fielding questions and providing educative information all geared towards pushing Zambia’s early ratification of the ATT.

Some of the 30 activists, officials, ministers and coordinators present are pictured above with Control Arms co-Chair Roy Isbister

A special lunch-hour sidebar was organized, where the key official from Zambia’s Ministry of Defence briefed the gathering on the state of play on the ratification. The news was pleasant. Others invited to the lunch-hour meeting were Roy Isbister, co-chair of Control Arms who shared the work of the Coalition going-forwards. An animated educative and engaging Q and A ensued. Officials from the European Union (Croatia, Germany and Netherlands) also shared insights on the European Union Activities in Support of the Implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty.

As part of this great week of productive work, Dr.Bob Mtonga attended a consultative meeting of the Zambia National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons where he briefed the meeting on CSP2015 and expectations for CSP2016. He encouraged the gathering to ensure that Zambia should ratify the ATT before the 22nd of May in order to be a State Party at CSP2016.

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