On 28 April 2020, the Republic of Namibia deposited its instrument of ratification to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), becoming the Treaty’s 106th State Party. Namibia acted quickly in order to ensure it will participate as a State Party in the Sixth Conference of States Parties to the ATT (CSP6, 17-21 August 2020), in accordance with Article 22 which stipulates that the Treaty enters into force 90 days after a state has ratified it.

Colin Namalambo, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Namibia to the United Nations in Geneva, described how “Namibia certainly believes that small arms and light weapons are the real weapons of mass destruction on the African Continent. As a Member state of the African Union it is our collective responsibility to work towards the Silencing the Guns on the continent . By ratifying the ATT, Namibia once more demonstrates commitment to international efforts to reduce human suffering caused by illegal and irresponsible arms transfers.”

Namibia has long been active in promoting the Treaty’s universality and implementation, not least through the Control Arms’ ATT Academy in Southern Africa. The first in-person training of the ATT Academy took place on 9-12 December 2019 in Windhoek and brought together 35 government and civil society representatives from nine countries in the sub-region for an in-depth, tailored training on Treaty implementation and explored the Treaty’s role in addressing regional-specific challenges, including as gender-based violence and wildlife poaching. 

Namibia, which became the 27th African state to join the ATT, has been a vocal proponent and regional leader for many of the core objectives enshrined in the Treaty, including the prevention of gender-based violence and violence against women and girls. For instance, the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Focal Points Network hosted by Namibia in April 2019 explored at length the impact of disarmament and small arms and light weapons on the implementation of the WPS Agenda, including linkages with the ATT. Seeking to advance the role of women in conflict prevention, mediation and peace-building and to strengthen the nexus between disarmament and the WPS Agenda, Namibia also actively supported the adoption by the CSP5 of a set of recommendations on gender and GBV.

Control Arms welcomes Namibia leadership in promoting the Treaty’s universalization and implementation and looks forward to continuing this collaboration as the newest ATT State Party.