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1st Preparatory Committee meeting for the UN conference on the Arms Trade Treaty

arton2725The first Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting for the 2012 negotiating conference on Arms Trade Treaty will be held in New York from 12 to 23 July. It is hoped that this initial PrepCom will conclude with a framework for a future treaty.


As part of the preparation process for the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which will be negotiated during four weeks in 2012, the first Preparatory Committee meeting on ATT will be held in New York from 12 to 23 July, chaired by H.E. Ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan. The first session will focus on elements that would be needed to attain an effective and balanced legally-binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms.

Previously, a UN consultation with Member States was organized on establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms. This was followed by a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) who examined the feasibility, scope and draft parameters for a comprehensive instrument and issued a report. In March and July 2009, an Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) met and concluded that unregulated trade in conventional arms is an issue to be addressed by the international community. Click here to read the report.

For more information, visit the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs website.

Various ideas and positions have been shared throughout the preparation process, but for the moment there is no draft document. The categories of arms to include, the parameters of the treaty, the trade conditions between States and means to verify the implementation are issues to be discussed. A lot of Member States feel committed to take action and have expressed their will to have a strong and robust treaty on arms trade. Others are less enthusiastic.

Civil society organizations have voiced their different points of view and are eager to contribute actively to discussions. The pro-gun associations are clearly reluctant, while the civil society movement in favour of a robust treaty expects a strong start for the ATT at the PrepCom. The latter ask for an “ethically principled ATT” that would increase human security on the ground and include all types of conventional arms, military equipment, small arms, explosives and ammunition.

Modalities on non-governmental attendance and participation in the PrepCom should be decided during the first session.

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