On 27 February 2014, UNLIREC and the Government of Mexico convened a meeting of national stakeholders at the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs to discuss various initiatives to promote implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty. The meeting was presided by the Director General for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights Juan Sandoval and UNLIREC Political Affairs Officer Amanda Cowl. The meeting brought together representatives from Foreign Affairs, Interior, National Defense, the Navy, Economy, the Office of the Attorney General, Customs and Federal Police to discuss UNLIREC proposals for an ATT implementation training course and a model end user certificate for legal arms transfers in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

UNLIREC presented its draft course manual for training Latin American and Caribbean government officials on methodologies to support implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty once ratified. The proposed course, which is being developed with the financial support of Germany, includes modules on technical aspects of conventional arms and their trade, legal requirements of treaty implementation and arms transfer risk assessments aimed at national operators responsible for import/export controls. Mexican authorities made recommendations on course design and offered their experts from a number of relevant fields to serve as expert instructors in other Latin American and Caribbean countries. Additionally, UNLIREC staff and experts presented a proposed model end-user certificate – drawing on best practices compiled from Latin America, Europe and North America – that will be offered to Member States as a starting point for the development of arms transfer controls by conventional arms importing states.

On 2 April 2013, the General Assembly adopted the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), regulating the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. The treaty will foster peace and security by inter alia curbing the diversion of small arms and light weapons to the region, which wreaks havoc on citizen security. As well, the Treaty aims at preventing human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms and will help keep warlords, pirates, and gangs from acquiring these deadly tools. Since the beginning of the ATT process almost ten years ago, Latin American and Caribbean States have been at the vanguard in wholeheartedly supporting the Treaty and its implementation. As of February 2014, 27 Latin American and Caribbean countries have signed the ATT with the following countries having ratified: Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, Grenada, Guyana, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago.

UNLIREC, as the regional office of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, seeks to advance the cause of practical disarmament in Latin America and the Caribbean and to support Member States in the region in their implementation of international disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, including the UN 2001 Programme of Action on Illicit Small Arms and Light Weaponsand the Arms Trade Treaty.

For more information about UNLIREC, visit its web page [www.unlirec.com]. For any questions, contact Amanda Cowl, Political Affairs Officer, at [cowl@unlirec.org].