Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

2019/9/19

Background

In 2006, to commence the process on an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), seven states (Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Kenya, United Kingdom and Japan: “co-authors”) introduced a draft resolution on an ATT to the UN General Assembly, which was adopted by an overwhelming majority. Based on this outcome, in 2008, a "Group of Governmental Experts" meeting was convened to examine the feasibility, scope and draft parameters for a comprehensive, legally binding instrument, which was attended by experts from 28 countries, including Japan. In the same year, the UN General Assembly decided to establish an open-ended working group to meet in 2009. The report of this Working Group recognized that there was “the need to address the problems relating to unregulated trade in conventional weapons.” After four preparatory committees (July 2010, February-March and July 2011, and February 2012), a UN Conference to negotiate the Treaty text was held from 2 to 27 July 2012 at the UN Headquarters in New York. Throughout the negotiations, the differences in position and opinion were large regarding what elements should be incorporated into the ATT. Efforts to reach consensus experienced great difficulty and the submission of a full draft of the treaty by the President was delayed until the final week. Given the time constraints, the Conference was concluded without consensus on the draft Treaty. The Final UN Conference on the ATT was held from 18 to 28 March 2013, but failed to adopt a draft Treaty text by consensus. Following that, the co-authors led the efforts to strive for the adoption of the Treaty at the UN General Assembly, where it was adopted on 2 April by an overwhelming majority. (Overview and Assessment)

Establishment

The Arms Trade Treaty was opened for signature on 3 June 2013. It entered into force on 24 December 2014.

States Parties

Number of States Parties: 105 (as of September 2019)

Content

The ATT aims to contribute to international and regional peace and security, and to prevent the illicit trade in conventional arms by establishing the highest common international standards to regulate the transfer of conventional arms.