Today, 07 June 2019, Botswana deposited its instrument of accession to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the UN Office of Legal Affairs in New York, becoming the 103rd State Party and 26th African country to join the Treaty.
Positioned in the heart of Southern Africa, and hosting the headquarters of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Botswana’s accession is a welcome step towards improving the Treaty’s universalisation rate in the subregion. Botswana will become the 8th ATT State Party in SADC out of 16 member states, following Mozambique which ratified the ATT on 14 December, becoming the 100th State Party.
At the deposit ceremony, Ambassador Kelapile of Botswana noted:
“I am deeply honored, privileged and elated to have deposited today, at the United Nations Treaty Section, Botswana’s instrument of accession to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Botswana. By becoming the 103rd State Party, we can now be counted amongst a community of peace-loving nations that are determined to promote global peace and security by eliminating the menace of uncontrolled illicit transactions of conventional weapons that continue to cause unprecedented human suffering. In doing so, we are thus recommitting to the goal of saving successive generations from the scourge of war, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. We take this opportunity to encourage all other nations that have not yet done so to seriously consider acting accordingly and join ongoing efforts to reinforce the collective imperative of realizing a robust disarmament agenda.”
Botswana is one of the few states in sub-Saharan Africa to have never been involved in an armed conflict. Nevertheless, Southern Africa is facing growing pastoralist conflicts caused by frequent droughts and increasing water shortages. The sub-region, and Botswana in particular as home to one of the most prolific and diverse wildlife reserves in Africa, is also affected by wildlife crime. Higher universalization rates and effective implementation of the Treaty in the sub-region will be vital in containing and preventing these security challenges from escalating further.
The news is very timely as Control Arms, in partnership with the Government of Namibia and funding support from the ATT Voluntary Trust Fund (VTF), will be hosting an ATT Academy training in Southern Africa. This training will provide an in-depth and tailored learning opportunity for key government officials and civil society actors who work in the area of import/export controls and deal directly with conventional arms transfer decisions. This 6-month ATT Academy will consist of two in-person workshops as well as one-on-one assistance to support the participants’ efforts relating to the ATT.
To find out more about how the effective implementation of the ATT can help states address wildlife crime, please more here.