Our New Year’s #Resolution: Get an #ArmsTreaty in 2013

January 3 2013, 7:30 AM  by Lorey Campese

When it comes to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), campaigners are used to resolutions. Most of them are written at the United Nations by different countries trying to get something done. Just a couple weeks ago, a resolution was passed by the UN General Assembly making the final negotiating conference on the ATT  official.

On Tuesday, campaigners from the Control Arms coalition like myself dealt with a different kind of resolution: one of the New Year’s variety.

As is common practice to start a new year, people across the world began 2013 by making one of these resolutions. Some committed to exercising more and losing weight, while others chose to give up smoking or get more organized. As for Control Arms, we made a resolution as well:

Make the Arms Trade Treaty a reality in 2013.

2012 was full of amazing highlights on the road to a treaty. We saw over half a million people sign up to a petition that called for an ATT that saves lives. Government leaders from over 110 countries called for an ATT that tackles the devastating consequences of armed violence and conflict around the globe. Faith leaders, doctors, and celebrities demanded action. Campaigners, activists, and ordinary people took actions in New York, London, Monrovia, Manila, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Melbourne, Tunis, Accra, Buenos Aires, Montreal, and Oslo.

They all carried the same message: the world needs a strong treaty to regulate the trade of weapons that is rooted in human rights and humanitarian law.

All of these actions led to the first ever negotiating conference for the ATT. If UN members made a resolution to have those negotiations when the idea first came about in 2006, many would have called it crazy. In fact, they probably did.

In 2012, we also saw that we had more work to do. On the final day of negotiations, a tiny group of countries delayed the ATT by asking for more time. Well… now they’ve had more time.

Two days ago, the dieters, smokers, and the disorganized all started trying to make good on their New Year’s resolutions. We started on ours too. It is a resolution nearly a decade in the making and we’ll give nothing less than our best to keep it.

This year, the countries of the world have an opportunity at the Final Diplomatic Conference to deliver a bulletproof ATT. If they do their job and we do ours, 2012 may be the last year we all stare at the clocks at 11:59 on December 31st, counting down without an Arms Trade Treaty.

Written by Lorey Campese, Humanitarian Campaigner- Oxfam International