Control Arms members gathered in Trinidad and Tobago to demonstrate that there’s a better use for steel than weapons and ammunition.

Campaginers are in Port of Spain for the First Preparatory Meeting toward the First Conference of States (CSP) Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) taking place in Port of Spain from 23 – 24 February.

Coalition members held signs stating “There is a better use for steel” against the backdrop of a performance from the Sapophonic Steel Band, a steel orchestra. The performance also served to reinforce the coalition’s call for effective implementation of the ATT and that this is a ‘#chance2change’ the arms trade.

The Port of Spain conference is the first formal Preparatory Conference to plan for the first CSP which is scheduled to take place in September 2015. It follows preliminary meetings that took place in Mexico City and Berlin in 2014. Over 80 governments are attending the Port of Spain meeting to discuss the Treaty’s future rules of procedure, its financing mechanisms, the location, structure and mandate of the ATT Secretariat as well as the level of participation given civil society and States not Party to the Treaty.

45 colleagues from across the Control Arms Coalition are participating at the meeting, where top on the agenda are decisions relating to the level of participation allowed to civil society, the Treaty’s future rules of procedure, financing mechanisms, and the location, structure and remit of the official ATT Secretariat. Control Arms will be pushing for effective participation of civil society at the CSP, as well as effective rules for decision-making and financing.

Control Arms will also launch the first report from the new ATT Monitor project at the meeting, which focuses on reporting patterns among signatories and States Parties to the ATT.

Folade Mutota from the Caribbean Coalition for Development and the Reduction of Armed Violence (CDRAV) said:

“We in the Caribbean know only too well the havoc that is wreaked by an arms trade that is out of control. Trinidad and Tobago is showing leadership in hosting this conference, which represents an important milestone in the implementation of the ATT. We call on all governments to ensure this conference is a success, and helps to further successful implementation of the Treaty.”

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