ATT 2nd PrepCom Summaries: March 2, 2011 (AM Session)

April 13 2011, 10:10 AM by sameerkanal

This post is the fifth in a series summarizing the statements given at the Second PrepCom for the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, held February 28-March 4, 2011 in New York. For more information on states’ positions, please visit our “Mapping the Arms Trade Treaty” project at

Wednesday, 3/2/2011, Morning Session

Australia thanked the Chairman for his non-paper on International Cooperation and Assistance [February 2011 version]. Reaffirming its desire to address conflict’s root causes in the process of assisting developing countries, Australia supported the ATT’s ‘important humanitarian objective’ of maintaining peace, security and stability. The section of the treaty related to International Cooperation and Assistance, in the view of Australia, ‘will further underpin such efforts,’ helping developing countries contribute to the ATT’s success as well. Australia believed that the International Cooperation and Assistance section of the ATT should provide ‘practical support for treaty implementation,’ including support for legislative and administrative frameworks. Australia also called for donor and recipient states to address the specific needs of women in armed conflict, pursuant to Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888 and 1889. Australia offered to support where it could, including providing material support to states in order to help them develop national implementation plans.

Antigua & Barbuda (CARICOM)
Antigua and Barbuda asserted that international cooperation would be essential to overcome challenges of implementation on a national and regional level. CARICOM’s belief was that this cooperation should focus on ‘strengthening operational and institutional capacity,’ including ‘financial, legal and technical assistance, and sharing of information and best practices.’ Assistance with the training of border and customs officials was also a priority expressed by CARICOM. Antigua & Barbuda called for the inclusion in the treaty of a mechanism by which states could request and receive such assistance, as well as mechanisms for mediation and dispute resolution. Finally, Antigua and Barbuda insisted that information sharing be included in the treaty, calling the lack of sharing ‘a barrier to tackling the irresponsible and illicit proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, and thereby for the effective implementation of an ATT.’

Hungary (EU)
Hungary, speaking on behalf of the European Union, stressed the importance of the international cooperation and assistance portion of the ATT, and stressed that its commitment had been ‘already demonstrated by several projects that we have been implementing in cooperation with UNIDIR for the last two years.’ The seminars cohosted by the EU and UNIDIR have promoted the exchange of information and views to help facilitate implementation. The EU intended to keep this process going, continuing to have it be an inclusive process, to try and address some of the concerns they have that national implementation of the treaty might not be sufficient on its own without such assistance. In addition to calling for the inclusion within the treaty of encouragement to states party to provide assistance upon request in the form of ‘technical assistance to ensure that the national system and internal controls comply with requirements of the treaty,’ the EU also pledged that their members would be among the states that did provide such assistance. The European Union also endorsed the list of types of information within the Chairman’s non-paper [February 2011 version] to be exchanged between states party. Additionally, the EU called for a peer review mechanism, aimed at ‘assessing implementation of the treaty and identifying possible assistance needs.’ Finally, the EU said that they did ‘not consider it appropriate to envisage specific provisions of victim assistance in the ATT,’ calling instead for human suffering to be addressed ‘in more appropriate UN forums.’

Papua New Guinea (11 Pacific SIDS)
Papua New Guinea thanked the Chairman for including the topic of international cooperation and assistance on the agenda of the PrepCom. Noting that the Pacific SIDS had ‘taken their own regional and national initiatives in an effort to address the root causes of illicit trafficking,’ Papua New Guinea also stated that national actions ‘can be further strengthened and reinforced through an ATT.’ The PSIDS’ primary challenge currently comes from arms locally produced or diverted, which led PSIDS to determine their key regional priority: ‘improv[ing] legal and enforcement capacity for domestic weapons control.’ Echoing the Australian delegation, Papua New Guinea called for assistance to ‘take account of the specific impacts of armed conflict on women and children, and recognizing the existing commitments set out in UNSCR 1325, 1820, 1888 and 1889 on women, peace and security.’ While noting that the ATT would not define the methods of implementation for states, Papua New Guinea recognized that transparency and reporting would be a part of the treaty’s implementation, and called for best practices on reporting, including ‘common formats’ as well as regional reporting.

Algeria endorsed the section on ‘International Cooperation and Assistance’ in the Chairman’s non-paper [February 2011 version]. The Algerian delegation called for the inclusion of mechanisms to assist with national capacity building as well. Algeria also supported the use of ‘regional and sub-regional dimensions’ of assistance, and thanked the Chairman for the inclusion of these references in the July 2010 non-papers, calling for them to be included in future work of the PrepCom. Algeria, however, opposed the inclusion of victim assistance in the non-paper, calling it ‘incompatible with the purposes of this international instrument.’ Thus, the paragraph under victim assistance’s deletion was another goal of the Algerian delegation.

Egypt questioned the purpose of having a section devoted to International Cooperation and Assistance, stating that they ‘fail to see how we can benefit from it’ without knowing what the implementation section would look like, and without knowing if the assistance would ‘promote adherence to the treaty, will encourage its universality and will be more of an incentive dimension on top of the implementation dimension.’ Other reasons cited by Egypt included a lack of prior agreement on objectives, scope, and parameters for the treaty. Egypt also noted that the international cooperation section might ‘exclud[e] the possibility of having an international body set up in the context of an ATT’ that would facilitate such cooperation. Egypt believed that the victim assistance portion should focus less on allowing and facilitating help to victims and more upon establishing accountability for ‘major suppliers’ that give ‘the wrong recipients’ arms with negative consequences.

United States
The USA reiterated its belief that the ATT should regulate the ‘legitimate international trade’ of conventional arms. Since the US did not believe the ATT would be ‘an arms control treaty banning a class of weapons,’ they also believed that obligations related to such a treaty would not apply to the ATT, including some related to cooperation and assistance. Since the USA believed that a ‘robust and national export review decision and enforcement process’ would be a necessity for the treaty’s success, and that demonstration of such a process would be a portion of the implementation section of the treaty, the USA also believed ‘cooperation and assistance to states that are in need of help in getting those tasks done’ would be advantageous. The United States also called for a ‘clearinghouse’ to facilitate the requests and responses to those requests for assistance. The US objected to the language used; the Chairman’s non-paper [February 2011 version] said that every state had a ‘right’ to receive assistance. The USA was concerned that this ‘potentially creates an obligation on the parts of the states party collectively to provide funds for any request not being met by a state in a position to do so.’ The United States advocated for the deletion of this text. The United States also argued that victim assistance ‘has no place in this treaty […] we strongly recommend the coverage of this subject be delegated from consideration in this forum.’

Norway acknowledged the argument that since the treaty is a trade treaty, it might not address international cooperation and assistance, nor victim assistance, as many trade treaties do not. However, Norway appreciated the inclusion of these topics because the ‘arms trade raises a number of issues that go beyond the ordinary trade regime.’ Norway believed that ‘the overall goal of the ATT should be to prevent illicit or irresponsible arms trade that causes armed violence and human suffering.’ Norway also called for inclusion of items that would help to achieve these goals in addition to the standard requirements on importers and exporters, which ‘is why we want to include language on international cooperation and assistance and on victim assistance.’ Norway called for this section to focus on building and strengthening capacity for implementation and to help states protect against diversion. Norway also was ‘convinced that the ATT should contain language on victim assistance,’ including affirmation of victims’ rights to ‘adequate care, rehabilitation and social and economic inclusion.’ Norway did not wish to create new rights for victims, or define such victims, but to adequately reflect reality by noting that these victims existed and what they were entitled to. Norway supported the use of public reporting to ensure prevention of the creation of more victims, stating that ‘the value of the ATT will ultimately be determined by the actual impact it has in reducing irresponsible and illicit arms trade causing armed violence and human suffering.’ Finally, Norway called for the inclusion of information sharing, as well as text related to gender.

Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago, aligning itself with the statement of Antigua & Barbuda on behalf of CARICOM, added to those comments in a national capacity. TT reiterated its support for the inclusion of international cooperation and assistance in the Arms Trade Treaty. TT argued that the challenge being transnational in form meant that collaboration would be necessary to address the problem. Thus, Trinidad & Tobago called for ‘a commitment to information exchange and the provision of technical, legal, material and financial assistance.’ Trinidad & Tobago commended other delegations for their emphasis on ‘the need for an ATT to reduce armed violence and armed conflict,’ but hoped that the Chairman would have included in the non-paper [February 2011 version] a dedicated Secretariat as a means to effect cooperation towards these ends. This Secretariat would assist with legislation, technological exchange, and routing of assistance requests. Trinidad & Tobago hoped for its inclusion ‘as one of the means, if not the preferred means, through which international cooperation and assistance could be spearheaded.’

Japan thanked the Chairman for his non-paper on International Cooperation and Assistance [February 2011 version]. Because states were going to be required to nationally implement the treaty, international cooperation and assistance was of high priority to Japan to ensure the success of such national efforts. Noting dissimilarities between the ATT and the process of banning cluster munitions, Japan also asserted that the methods of cooperation and assistance would need to be differently established. Japan believed that the primary focus of the section should be upon ‘national capacity-building,’ with a specific focus on developing legal and bureaucratic processes to strengthen national mechanisms and enforcement agencies. Regarding victim assistance, Japan noted the importance of aiding victims, but was unsure if the proper way to do so was through a section of the treaty or if another forum would be more prudent.

Singapore noted that the ATT would require states to bear the primary burden of implementation, but that states had differing capacities for achieving this end. Singapore asserted that there would be required technical assistance to ensure that states could meet their treaty obligations.

Switzerland thanked the Chairman for the non-paper on International Cooperation and Assistance [February 2011 version]. Noting some wording adaptations and redundancies, Switzerland highlighted the need to include text calling for states to ‘seriously consider’ assisting other states with implementation through technology transfer, as well as exchange legal and administrative information and case studies on imports and exports. Switzerland also called for the creation of a single point of contact for implementation and cooperation.

United Kingdom
The United Kingdom reaffirmed their belief in the importance of the international cooperation and assistance section of the treaty. The United Kingdom listed redundancies and asked for combining paragraphs 2-4 of the Chairman’s non-paper [March 2011 version] on the subject. The United Kingdom argued for ease of request and ease of response to requests for assistance. Finally, the United Kingdom agreed that the Victim Assistance portion of the text should include specific reference to the effects of armed conflict upon women.

India noted that all assistance forms currently mentioned in the treaty focused on assisting with national compliance and implementation of the treaty in the state receiving such assistance. As a result, India supported all of the existing provisions in this section. India suggested the inclusion of ‘mutual legal assistance’ in the treaty, which would help prevent illicit arms trade. India also endorsed increased international cooperation for capacity building on implementation of the treaty. With regards to victim assistance, India did not support the inclusion of victim assistance in the treaty, preferring it to be addressed in ‘other relevant forums.’

Indonesia viewed the international cooperation and assistance portion of the ATT as an incentive mechanism to help motivate states to join the treaty as a state party. Indonesia noted that while states were very willing to change the text on parameters to ‘shall apply’ from ‘should apply,’ they were unwilling to apply similarly strong standards to states regarding provision of assistance. Indonesia asked for clarification of the definition of ‘victim’ in the context of the victim assistance paragraphs. Indonesia believed that there should be a specifically established mechanism for international assistance, and that it should not be conducted purely on a voluntary basis. Research and development, technology transfer, and technical assistance should, in Indonesia’s view, not be regulated under scope but advanced under the section of International Cooperation and Assistance.

Iran supported a universal treaty, stating that to achieve a treaty that was truly universal, the treaty needed to be objective and non-discriminatory. Iran agreed that international cooperation and assistance would help motivate states to join the treaty and also assist them in implementing the treaty. Iran also believed that the International Cooperation and Assistance section would help curb the illicit trafficking in Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). Iran supported the creation of a standing committee on International Cooperation and Assistance within the ATT.

The Netherlands noted their interest in discussions related to international cooperation and assistance, but also noted that because of the recent revisions to the non-papers [March 2011 version] they did not have specific comments on text at this time.

France endorsed the statement of the European Union related to International Cooperation and Assistance. Adding to this in a national capacity, France reiterated its belief in the importance of this section to effective treaty implementation. France believed that the text offered in the Chairman’s non-paper [March 2011 version] dealt with administrative and technical assistance, but the portion related to other types of assistance was not reflected in the text thus far. France also pledged its support for international cooperation to combat the illicit trade in conventional arms, including providing support for judicial and penal systems. On the subject of victim assistance, France believed that it was a vital component of the solution to the problem, but opposed its inclusion in the treaty’s text.

China supports the inclusion of sections related to International Cooperation and Assistance. China believed that all states party should have an obligation, based upon their capacity and development status, to provide assistance and cooperation with other states. China believed that this could take the form of training, regulatory assistance, and other assistance with implementation. China also believed that international cooperation and assistance would provide an incentive for states to ratify the treaty as well.

Israel asserted that states party might need assistance with compliance with treaty obligations. Israel believed that other states would be a good place to receive this assistance, but that this should be explicitly stated as on a voluntary basis. Israel called for the cooperation and assistance to include legal and regulatory help. Israel also believed that the victim assistance portion should be deleted, as it was not appropriate for the Arms Trade Treaty.

Nigeria called international cooperation and assistance a ‘noble idea’ that all states should ‘explore’ to assist in universal implementation of the treaty. Focusing on capacity building for developing states, the ATT’s international cooperation and assistance as envisioned by Nigeria would also include strengthening of licensing systems, as well as ‘stockpile management and record-keeping.’ Nigeria supported the exchange of information on best practices between states. Nigeria supported in principle the concept of an international secretariat, but also desired first that regional and sub-regional organizations be engaged in the process of international cooperation. Regarding victim assistance, Nigeria supported the concept that there was a responsibility for victims, primarily on the producer, and that despite weaknesses in the text, this element should be retained.

Tanzania called the international cooperation and assistance section of the treaty the portion that would ‘give the treaty a human face.’ Tanzania agreed with Australia, Norway and CARICOM on their wording changes. Tanzania argued against the idea that provisions addressed in other forums should not be addressed in the Arms Trade Treaty, noting that the ATT would complement those initiatives rather than superseding or replacing them.

Brazil argued for prior authorization being required for any arms transfer, which in turn would require an arms control mechanism for each state. This would require for some states assistance from other states. Thus, Brazil supported international cooperation and assistance’s inclusion within the treaty to help with regulation, law enforcement, and information transfer. Brazil believed that the ATT should require states to designate a national point of contact for these efforts. Brazil suggested that the exchange of experiences and best practices would ‘promote the implementation of the ATT.’ Brazil supported technological exchange’s inclusion in the international cooperation and assistance section of the treaty as well.

Costa Rica
Costa Rica called for ‘a transparent mechanism for presenting annual reports’ to be included in the international cooperation and assistance portion of the document as an item to assist states with achieving as part of their compliance with the treaty. Regarding victim assistance, Costa Rica questioned how this would be conducted and argued for its removal from the Chairman’s non-paper [March 2011 version].

Thailand noted the various challenges facing developing countries as they would try to implement the ATT. Therefore, Thailand justified the necessity for international cooperation and assistance’s inclusion in the treaty. Thailand called for a ‘quantifiable’ and ‘reportable’ mechanism for international cooperation to be included in the document. Thailand did not support the inclusion of victim assistance in the Chairman’s non-paper [March 2011 version].

The Philippines supported the section of the Chairman’s non-paper [March 2011 version] related to international cooperation and assistance, and asked that explicit reference be made to the needs of developing countries in terms of capacity and funding to fulfill their obligations under the potential ATT. The Philippines strongly supported the inclusion of victim assistance in the treaty. The Philippines expressed concern about the subjectivity of certain parameters in the criteria non-paper [February 2011 version] discussed the day previously. The Philippines also called for the list of information sources in the criteria non-paper to exclude ‘non-official sources,’ such as civil society organizations.

New Zealand
New Zealand thanked the Chairman for the inclusion in the most recent non-papers of international cooperation and assistance, calling these provisions ‘fundamental to the effective implementation of the ATT.’ New Zealand also argued for building upon existing assistance mechanisms, and desired that these be specifically mentioned in the text. New Zealand used customs cooperation as an example to this end. New Zealand agreed with India and called for the inclusion of references to mutual legal assistance, and more generally to capacity building. New Zealand was also supportive of the concept of an international secretariat to act as a clearinghouse for requests, and match requests with responses related to assistance provision. New Zealand agreed with Papua New Guinea in calling for national reporting, as well as the possibility of regional reporting on compliance with and implementation of the ATT.

Argentina was broadly supportive of the inclusion of provisions related to international cooperation and assistance. Argentina preferred that this cooperation focus upon technology and information transfer, including sharing of best practices between states. With regards to victim assistance, Argentina objected to its inclusion within the Arms Trade Treaty, and promoted its discussion within other, ‘more relevant’ forums.
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