Our Work in 2020

Every day, thousands of people are killed, injured, raped, or forced to flee from their homes as a result of the poorly regulated global arms trade.

We want to change that.

The uncontrolled proliferation of arms and ammunition fuels conflicts, increases human rights abuses and exacerbates poverty. While one person dies every minute as a result of armed violence, millions more suffer displacement, human rights abuses, loss of services through direct damage to infrastructure and increased unemployment. There is an irrefutable link between high levels of armed violence and poverty, particularly from the illicit trade. Bringing the licit trade under control is the first necessary step toward addressing a reduction in the illicit trade.

Our Role

Control Arms has a strong track record of success, with the crucial role of the civil society in achieving an ATT often cited by the UN and governments alike. In 2003, only three governments publicly supported the idea of an ATT (Costa Rica, Mali, and Cambodia). Since then, the coalition has successfully transformed the ATT from an idea and aspiration among civil society into a UN process, involving all Member States, and culminating in the adoption of a treaty by overwhelming vote at the UN General Assembly. On 2 April 2013, 154 States voted to adopt the ATT, and the Treaty entered-into-force, becoming international law on 24 December 2014.

The Control Arms Secretariat, established in 2011, is the coordination body for Control Arms coalition, supporting its members, representing them to governments at the UN and providing leadership in the furtherance of the campaign. This role has been vital to harnessing the collective skills, expertise and energy of coalition partners to achieve the adoption of the ATT and to maintain the momentum of the Treaty process.

Since its formation, the Control Arms Secretariat has successfully expanded the coalition and improved coordination and communication systems among members to promote global cooperation. The Control Arms Secretariat is now widely seen as a trusted and well-respected source of knowledge and expertise on the ATT, with a proven track record of leading and coordinating the work of a diverse international coalition.

In 2020, the Secretariat will continue its work surrounding universalisation and implementation of the ATT, publishing leading research through its ATT Monitor reports and organising conferences and workshops aimed at guiding states through the accession process.

About Our Work

The historic Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) – adopted by overwhelming vote at the UN General Assembly in April 2013 – is the first global treaty to regulate the conventional arms trade. This momentous achievement came after more than a decade of sustained advocacy and campaigning by the Control Arms Coalition, the international alliance of non-governmental organisations working for strong international arms controls.

With over 300 civil society partner organisations in all regions of the world, Control Arms successfully campaigned for the creation and adoption of the ATT. The campaign included coordinated advocacy, research and policy analysis, international popular mobilisation, clear digital and media communications, the involvement of a wide range of stakeholder organisations, and a partnership approach with supportive governments.

The individuals and organisations that have consistently called for a bulletproof ATT come from diverse sectors of society, demonstrating the broad-based support that existed for stronger regulations on arms trade. These sectors include policy experts, lawyers, religious leaders and communities, women’s networks, healthcare professionals, parliamentarians, researchers and activists, among others.

This combination of grassroots activities and direct advocacy with decision-makers has been integral to the achievement of a strong treaty with clear humanitarian goals that has the potential to make a difference to the lives of millions of women, men and children.

The Control Arms Secretariat, established in 2011, is the coordination body for Control Arms Coalition, supporting its members, representing them to governments at the UN and providing leadership in the furtherance of the campaign. This role has been vital to harnessing the collective skills, expertise and energy of coalition partners to achieve the adoption of the ATT and to maintain the momentum of the Treaty process. The goals of the Control Arms Coalition now are to ensure that more States join the ATT to advance universalisation and that governments robustly implement the Treaty, thereby establishing high international norms for future arms transfer decision-making.

Ensuring the efficacy of the ATT will require high-quality implementation efforts by States Parties as well as the development of new legislation, regulations, procedures, technological infrastructure and/or capacities in some States. Many States, particularly those that are low-income and have low-capacity, require assistance before they can fully implement the ATT.

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“Less than two years after its adoption by the General Assembly, we have crossed the threshold of 50 ratifications needed to trigger the Treaty’s entry-into-force…I salute the many civil society organizations that have helped make this speedy progress possible.”

– Un Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 25 September 2014

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