The first Conference of States Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty has made progress by laying the foundations for the implementation of the Treaty, but States must show greater urgency and ambition if lives are to be saved.
Important progress was made with decisions taken on the Rules of Procedure, Financial Rules and the seat (Geneva) and head of the new ATT Secretariat (Dumisani Dladla). The conference also appointed Ambassador Emmanuel E. Imohe of Nigeria as the President of the second CSP in 2016.
However, progress made on the critical area of ATT reporting templates was disappointing. Debate continued over how comprehensive and public reports should be, with some resistant to the idea of public reporting. Consequently, an interim decision has been made on how States will report on all arms transfers with the creation of a provisional reporting template that will be trialled for 12 months and then reviewed.
The Control Arms Coalition urged States to raise their game and reflect the ambition showed when the Treaty was first adopted.
Geoffrey Duke, Head of Secretariat at South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms (SSANSA), speaking on behalf of Control Arms on the final day said:
“While we have been here in Cancun, peace has been agreed in South Sudan. It is too soon to be confident that my country will not slide back into civil war, but the ATT has the potential to significantly contribute to creating a better future for South Sudanese by curbing the irresponsible transfer of arms into my country.”
Anna Macdonald, Director of the Control Arms Secretariat concluded:
“States must act with greater ambition and more energy to ensure that they stop just discussing the Treaty and start applying its provisions robustly. Only then will it start to put an end to the many humanitarian crises caused by conflict around the world ”.
The issue of transparency and whether States should make their annual reports about arms transfers public has been dominating the first Conference of States Parties.
The arms trade is currently shrouded in secrecy, which means weapons are too easily falling into the hands of those who abuse human rights abuse and diverted into the hands of criminal gangs. Under the Arms Trade Treaty, States Parties will be expected to submit annual reports about all arms imports and exports.
Control Arms campaigners highlighted their call for those reports to be made public by staging a campaign action outside the Moon Palace Convention Centre, where CSP2015 is taking place.
Diplomats from states including the UK, U.S, Norway, Costa Rica, New Zealand and many others joined the campaigners and showed their support for full and public reporting.
Roy Isbister of Saferworld said: “The issue of how open and detailed reporting will be is critical to the success of the Treaty. States have been unaccountable for too long.”
Today the Control Arms Secretariat launched a new monitoring project, the ATT Monitor, which aims to track the implementation and impact of the ATT through independent research and analysis.
The issue of how transparent States’ reports on arms transfers should be under the ATT is being hotly debated during the first Conference of States Parties, currently taking place in Cancun. Several European states are keen to limit the extent to which reports on transfers are made public.
Deep Basu Ray, ATT Monitor Co-ordinator, said: “How the treaty is interpreted and applied in its earliest years will be vital to its long-term effectiveness and we believe the ATT Monitor will provide useful information for both states and NGOs.
Issues addressed in the first report of the ATT Monitor released include analysis of circumstances in which a transfer should be denied and the risk assessment states must undertake before authorising exports.
The governments of Australia, Norway, Mexico, Austria, The Netherlands and Trinidad and Tobago co-sponsored the Launch event.
Governments highlighted the crucial role that the ATT Monitor will play in securing reporting and transparency of the Arms Trade Treaty. They also paid tribute to the work of Control Arms Coalition in the adoption and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty.
Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco noted “The Arms Treaty Monitor is a testimony to the important contribution of Civil Society Organisations & Control Arms in particular”
You can check out the ATT Monitor here : http://Armstreatymonitor.org
Day 1 of the CSP kicked off with a common message: we need strong implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty to save lives.
Control Arms campaigners woke up early to unveil a tank sculpted from sand, with a strong message to governments: Save lives and stop dodgy arms deals
The campaign action drew attention to Control Arms’ message to implement a strong Arms Trade Treaty to save lives.
The CSP formally began with an Opening Session, where Control Arms was represented by survivor and advocate Alex Galvez, who told the conference of his own story of being shot during an armed robbery aged just 14:
“When I was shot I thought I was going to die. And I wanted to die, because in Guatemala there aren’t many chances for disabled people as a result of wound firearms. My life experience is just one story amidst millions, that provides an example of what happens when the arms trade is out of control. We must stop this.”
The “save lives” message was also echoed by Governments throughout the High Level opening session. The majority of States also paid tribute to the role of civil society, in securing the ATT, and working toward its implementation and universalization. .
Reporting and transparency were also flagged as important issues for strong ATT implementation by some States and will be a feature of discussions over the next few days at CSP 2015.
Tomorrow thematic discussions begin on Rules of Procedure, Financing, ATT Secretariat and Reporting. We wait in hope that today’s positive words turn into constructive action tomorrow.
Stay tuned for more updates from Control Arms from CSP 2015.
All energy is now focused on the upcoming first Conference of State Parties (CSP) for the Arms Trade Treaty taking place in Cancun, Mexico from 24-27 August.
Control Arms has launched a 10 day countdown, featuring tweets and Facebook posts giving top 10 reasons why strong ATT implementation is so important. Please re-tweet and share!
Look out too for the Government of Mexico’s 10 day countdown tweets, each emphasizing a different aspect of the ATT’s provisions.
The CSP offers a critical opportunity for States Parties to make decisions that will guarantee that the ATT is implemented robustly. Decisions taken at this meeting will impact the future of the ATT and its potential to make a difference. That’s why Control Arms is advocating for States to remember their commitment to establishing a treaty that will truly save lives.
More specifically, States Parties at the CSP will take decisions in four key areas. These include the Rules of Procedure for this and all subsequent CSPs, financial rules, the location, staffing and remit of the ATT Secretariat and the important templates that States Parties will use to report on Treaty implementation. States must make swift and effective decisions to ensure that this critical first annual meeting of the ATT is a success.
Up to 1000 delegates are expected to participate, including Foreign Ministers for the first opening day. Members and partners of the Control Arms Coalition from all global regions will also attend, engaging in advocacy with delegates, hosting side events, working with the media and promoting the CSP on social media.
Click here to read Control Arms policy brief for the CSP: Save Lives (also in French and Spanish).
For more information on the CSP 2015 , check out the ATT Provisional Secretariat website : http://thearmstradetreaty.org/index.php/en/ .
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State positions and practices concerning reporting and the Arms Trade Treaty