The General Assembly is convening a Final United
Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), from 18 to 28 March in New
York, “to negotiate a legally binding instrument on the highest possible common
international standards for the transfer of conventional arms.” The Final
Conference aims to conclude the ATT process, following the failure of the July
2012 ATT Conference to reach an agreement on a draft treaty text. The
designation “Final Conference” signals Member States’ intention to bring the
negotiations to a successful conclusion this time.
ATT negotiations have represented the first time
ever that States have gathered to negotiate a treaty regulating conventional
arms under the auspices of the United Nations. Discussions have been ongoing since
2006. The goal is the adoption of a robust and legally binding ATT that will
have a real impact on the lives of millions of people suffering from the consequences
of armed conflict, armed violence, crime and insecurity. Non-governmental
organizations, such as human rights and development groups, gun-control
organizations and gun-rights supporters, have also shown a keen interest in the
ATT negotiations, as has the arms manufacturing and trading industry.
The ATT negotiations are not without challenges. The
global arms trade has ramifications that touch on core national interests.
There are various legitimate concerns and perspectives at play here. There are
also misconceptions about the goals of the ATT fuelled by detractors, in
particular some sectors of civil society who claim, for example, that “the UN
will be grabbing the guns away from law-abiding citizens”. The United Nations
Secretariat provides the venue for these talks between governmental
representatives, and facilitates their meetings – but it is not a party to the
The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs maintains a
dedicated website (English only) at: www.un.org/disarmament/ATT.
For more information on UNLIREC visit [www.unlirec.org]. Please direct all
questions or inquiries to Ms Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer at [firstname.lastname@example.org].