14 March 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today reiterated his support for a comprehensive arms trade treaty ahead of next week’s United Nations conference at which representatives from 193 Member States will seek to reach agreement on this “landmark” instrument.
“I am confident that Member States will overcome their differences and muster the political will needed to agree on this landmark treaty,” the Secretary-General said in a statement.
“It is our collective responsibility to put an end to the inadequate regulation of the global trade in conventional weapons – from small arms to tanks to combat aircraft.”
The UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which starts on 18 March in New York, brings Member States together to continue negotiations on what is seen as the most important initiative ever regarding conventional arms regulation within the UN.
“I reiterate my support for an Arms Trade Treaty that regulates international transfers of both weapons and ammunition and provides for common standards for exporting States. These standards are important for assessing the risks that transferred weapons are not used to fuel conflict, arm criminals or abet violations of international humanitarian or human rights law,” Mr. Ban said in today’s statement.
He added that adoption of the ATT “is the only path to more accountability, openness and transparency in the arms trade.”
At the end of 2010, an estimated 27.5 million people were internally displaced as a result of conflict, while millions more have sought refuge abroad. In many cases, the armed violence that drove them from their homes was fuelled by the widespread availability and misuse of weapons.
“A robust ATT will help alleviate the plight of the millions of people affected by conflicts and armed violence and enable the United Nations to better carry out its mandate to promote peace, development and human rights around the world,” Mr. Ban noted.
Four weeks of negotiations ended in July of last year without agreement. Disappointed, Mr. Ban described it as a “setback” but also noted that States had reached considerable common ground that can be built on.
“Adoption of this treaty will also provide much-needed momentum for wider disarmament and non-proliferation efforts by the international community,” he reiterated today.