Twenty-six government and civil society representatives and fifteen experts spent four days participating in the first in-person session of the ATT Academy in Latin America. Hosted at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico from 23-26 April, the ATT Academy provided an in-depth and tailored learning opportunity to carefully selected participants from Chile, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay to support their work relating to the ATT implementation.

Ambassador Miguel Ruíz Cabañas, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, noted in his opening remarks that while Latin America is a region of peace with no armed conflicts, it is also one of the most violent regions in the world, having one of the highest homicide rate. Therefore, he stressed, that “the Academy provides us the great responsibility of finding practical and viable proposals, for governments, relevant actors and civil society to put into practice the highest arms control regulations in order to prevent diversion to illicit trafficking with the ultimate aim of reducing violence” and “to promote disarmament that DOES save lives”. He noted that projects such as the ATT Academy offer an opportunity to discuss the Treaty’s implementation, identify good practices and exchange information that can assist states in the region address these challenges.

The ATT Academy focused on the first several articles of the ATT, emphasizing the Treaty’s scope as well as the importance of Articles 6 and 7, which contain States Parties’s responsibilities to monitor the arms trade prior to any transfer, in accordance with international law, including International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law. This meeting also stressed the importance of complementarity between the ATT and other international/regional instruments that address security, human rights and development challenges including the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Participants also explored ways in which the Treaty can address regional-specific challenges, particularly diversion and gender-based violence. Expert speakers, discussion groups, homework assignments and participatory exercises encouraged participants to ask questions and relate ATT obligations to their national context.

The participants will meet again in September 2018 for a second training that will explore the development of national control lists, international cooperation and assistance to support implementation efforts and ways to facilitate reporting. This meeting will also provide an opportunity to identify more concrete ways and measures that ATT States Parties use to address diversion and GBV in Latin America. There will be regular communication as well as two webinars during the interim period between the two meetings.

The ATT Academy is a project of Control Arms, with funding from the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR). This session was also made possible with support from the Mexican government.