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Test Case Arms Trade Treaty


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									                                      Conference Report

                           The Future of the Global
                   Disarmament and Arms Control Regime –
                         Test Case Arms Trade Treaty
                                    Monday, June 4th 2012
                               Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, EU Office

A series of disarmament and arms control-         experts from EU institutions, Member States,
related processes got underway in 2012. The       Think Tanks and Civil Society organisations to
UN Conference on an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)       discuss informally the role of EU in the global
which took place in July, and the Review          disarmament regime at the example of the
Conference of the UN Programme of Action          ATT.
to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit
Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All      Jarmo Sareva, Deputy Secretary-General of
its Aspects (UNPoA) in August, as well as the     the Conference on Disarmament and Director
Conference on the Establishment of a              of the UN Geneva Office of Disarmament
Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the      Affairs and Daniel Mack, Co-chair of the
Middle East (WMDFZ-ME) later this year.           Control Arms Campaign, a campaign
Major political commitment is needed to avoid     supported by a global civil society alliance to
serious failure of any of these processes.        advocate a “bulletproof” Arms Trade Treaty
                                                  introduced the debate by sharing their
The uncontrolled spread and accumulation of       expectations for the outcome of the ATT
conventional weapons poses a serious threat       negotiations. Aspects discussed by both
to peace and security. State actors have          speakers included the scope of the treaty, the
developed a series of instruments and regimes     role of the EU as well as the impact of the
addressing challenges deriving both from the      treaty on global governance.
illicit trade in conventional weapons and their
unevenly regulated trade, with arms being
diverted from authorized end-users to non-
state and unauthorized parties who may use
such weapons for criminal and abusive
purposes (for example in Libya or Somalia to
name only two examples). The EU’s experience
with its own export control system
demonstrates the feasibility of agreeing on an
instrument without depriving States of their
national prerogative to license or deny
individual exports, and confirms the
effectiveness and efficiency of a multilateral
export control.                                           Daniel Mack, Control Arms Campaign

The EU office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung     Whereas the EU regards the ATT as a pure
organised a roundtable to bring together          trade treaty and not as a classical arms control
                                                  treaty, civil society organisations argue to
grant the ATT a wider scope. In view of armed         However during the discussion, participants
violence, which the ATT could bring to an end,        insisted that the EU should defend this level
Daniel Mack spoke of an humanitarian                  internationally. It remains to be seen what
imperative to conclude a strong treaty to             impact the EU will have and how much effort
achieve some impact. The example of Syria             Member States put into the negation process,
shows that so far no international law is             for example whether these European countries
violated by sending arms to a country where           will be represented at Minister level.
civilians are affected. It is crucial to agree on a
                                                      Speakers agreed that, even if several regional
strong ATT, even on the costs of universality,
                                                      regimes already exist, a global regime such as
as partners might join the treaty later. Once
                                                      the ATT is needed for development and
the ATT is settled, it would be difficult to
                                                      humanitarian reasons. While the UN system
renegotiate its scope.
                                                      faces criticism with regard to efficiency and
The EU is regarded as an indispensable player         democracy, a successful conclusion of the ATT
in the process of finding a global agreement          could strengthen the global governance
on the ATT. Through its experience in finding         structure and give important support to
consensus it has considerable value to mediate        multilateralism. This would be a highly
and facilitate the negotiation. The EU’s regime       appreciated signal in a time where
of export control, even if far from perfect,          international negotiations, not only on arms
manifested in the Common Position is a                control, seem to have been taken hostage by
starting point for a comprehensive ATT.               polarisation of internal political issues.

                                                                                     Sidonie Wetzig

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