Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 3 of the Second PrepCom - Cooperation and Assistance

(c) Jesper Waldersten
Overview of the day's discussions

Many delegations stressed the critical role that international cooperation and assistance would play in the implementation of the future treaty. There was a surprisingly high level of support for the establishment of a secretariat, perhaps located within the UN, to facilitate treaty implementation. In contrast, relatively few delegations supported the inclusion of a provision on victim assistance in the treaty.

A wide-ranging discussion in the afternoon raised a number of points on different aspects of the treaty. The Chair announced that a new Chair's non-paper would be issued on Day 4 of this PrepCom.

Delegations' statements

Australia strongly supports the humanitarian objective of ATT of reducing armed conflict and violence. Cooperation and assistance (C&A) is a key element in the treaty, in accordance with the Paris and Accra Declarations on Aid Effectiveness. Will provide amended language to the Chair (e.g. in certain cases, changing "shall" to "may" or "accepts to"). It called for a gender perspective to C&A. It supports an amended victim assistance provision, which focuses on national planning and service delivery.

Antigua and Barbuda (on behalf of CARICOM) stated that C&A is an integral part of the treaty: financial, technical and legal assistance and sharing of best practice. ATT implementation will require training of personnel and acquisition of sophisticated equipment. Also need assistance in the legal aspects of the treaty and its domestic implementation.

Hungary (on behalf of the EU) said that the EU takes C&A very seriously, and has already been supporting such efforts (e.g. through UNIDIR project). ATT should include C&A measures in it. Supports "gist" of Chair's proposals. All C&A activities should be provided on a voluntary basis. If a UN structure is set up under the treaty, this entity could facilitate C&A. On victim assistance, EU feels that it is not appropriate to include specific provisions on this issue in the treaty.

Papua New Guinea (on behalf of the 11 Pacific Island States) stated that States "in a position to do so" could assist the Pacific Island States in implementing the treaty, especially in domestic enforcement of the treaty's provisions. It encouraged best practice to be followed in determining treaty reporting obligations.

Algeria stated that it endorsed the majority of the Chair's provisions. It also wanted to see national capacity building to ensure effective treaty implementation. It felt that victim assistance provisions should be deleted as this fell under national obligations.

Egypt stated it was not clear whether C&A was focusing just on implementation or also on advocacy for adherence. It was complicated to discuss these issues without agreeing on the objectives of the treaty. It wanted, though, stronger language, requiring the provision of assistance and to see the treaty focus on treaty members. It felt that straying into "gender discussions" was "extremely unhelpful". On victim assistance, it wanted to see some measure of responsibility for those providing arms that were then used for abuse.

USA stated that the ATT is a treaty to regulate the legitimate trade in arms, not an arms control agreement. Implementing it will require a robust national review of proposed transfers. This is expensive and requires considerable effort. Therefore, C&A will be needed for certain States. Also support a "clearing house" for requests. Do not support language giving a "right" to receive assistance as it might imply a corresponding duty to provide it. The concept of victim assistance "has no place in this treaty" and recommend deletion.

Norway welcomed the Chair's proposals. It stated that this is not an ordinary trade agreement because of the nature of arms. A humanitarian approach was needed for a treaty whose aim is to prevent the illicit or irresponsible trade in arms that results in armed violence and human suffering.  Norway is convinced that the treaty should include VA provisions, although it was not suggesting that new obligations should be created. The value of the ATT would be ultimately to reduce armed violence and human suffering. Norway supported Australian call for gender perspective to C&A.

Trinidad and Tobago stated that it was imperative that consultation took place between States Parties to facilitate implementation combined with a comprehensive framework for C&A. Called for dedicated secretariat to support treaty implementation.

Japan said that effective national import and export mechanisms was critical to ATT implementation, and therefore certain States would need C&A to meet their obligations. Most important part of C&A was national capacity building for national control systems and enforcement agencies. Not convinced that VA should be in the treaty.

Singapore stated that technical assistance should be provided by States in a position to do so and on a voluntary basis.

Switzerland stated that there was some overlap and ambiguity in the Chair's draft. It proposed specific language on C&A.

UK stated that C&A was essential for treaty implementation. It also felt there was overlap between several paragraphs and suggested text to merge paragraphs 2 to 4 of the Chair's draft. Supported  Australia's view that assistance should take account of the impact of armed violence on women.

India stated that broader provisions should be included on C&A. It did not believe that VA provisions were appropriate to the treaty.

Indonesia stated that comprehensive C&A provisions were needed in the treaty. It also felt that insufficient time was allocated to discussion of these issues in the PrepCom.

Iran stated that C&A can play a decisive role in encouraging treaty adherence and implementation, especially among developing States. Support establishment of a "committee" to facilitate treaty implementation.

The Netherlands stated that many C&A activities have already been undertaken in analogous fields.

France stated that Chair's proposals were an excellent basis for discussion. It wanted to see more included on efforts to combat the illicit trade in arms. This required penal cooperation at domestic level. On VA, France felt it was not appropriate to include such provisions in a treaty regulating the trade in arms.

China stated its support for C&A provisions in the treaty. International C&A should be provided on a voluntary basis and should not be imposed on recipient countries.

Israel stated that C&A should be provided on a voluntary basis. Assistance should focus on capacity building for legal and control frameworks. VA should not be included in the treaty.

Nigeria stated its support for the Chair's proposals and endorsed Norway's views on the provisions. It wanted to see VA provisions in the treaty.

Tanzania stated that C&A would give the ATT a positive human face. Wanted the word "shall" to remain in the draft.

Brazil stressed the capacity-building aspect of industrial cooperation.

The Philippines stated its support for the Chair's proposals.

New Zealand supported a greater emphasis on capacity building and mutual legal support. Also supported a secretariat to facilitate treaty implementation. Supported Papua New Guinea's views on treaty reporting.

Argentina stated that VA should not be included in the ATT.


The day continued with informal consultations on the treaty.

Japan (on transaction activities) suggested for practical reasons to focus on the regulation of physical movement of arms, instead of controlling titles. They also supported the UK's proposed amendments to the introductory sentence (chapeau) for the criteria, calling for the replacement of the text with “State shall apply the following criteria.”

Malaysia prefers the language of the UN register. On parameters: risk transfer analysis can be highly political, and suggested that Article II be redrafted.

Canada referred to the common international standard, which would serve as a floor and not a ceiling, but which should not mean a low standard (“upper level loft”). On dual-use technology, there was a need for clarification in order to avoid impediments to economic developments as an unintended consequence.

Burundi (on behalf on the Community of East African States) strongly support the inclusion of SALW; and C&A.

Spain stated that there should not be distinction between munition and ammunition. The scope must be broad, but there is no need to have a section on exceptions. In relation to violence against women, Spain stated that such an issue is consistent with the mandate to negotiate an ATT; reference was made to the UNSC 1325 (2000), on Women.

The Netherlands stated the need to expand the criteria of the UN register. Technical assistance and technology transfer need to be covered; this would foster cooperation of defence industries. In Annex A, they suggested to add troop transport on military aircraft.

Nigeria (on behalf of ECOWAS) stressed the need to include explosives, munitions/ammunitions and SALW. On criteria - Article I - they suggest to replace the word “should” with “shall”. On Article I A.2, they suggest to replace the word “should” with “shall”. They strongly support the provision on sustainable development (I B.3).

Zambia supports a strong provision on C&A.

The Chair acknowledged the difficulties for the delegations to work in abstract, which does not conduce to a full understanding of the topic. He stressed the importance of the interrelationship of the different elements of an ATT, which are intrinsically linked with the implementation and the applicability of many concepts exchanged. He then announced the production of a new paper for Thursday, which is meant to be thought-provoking. The structure of the paper will take the following form:
1) Scheme (a model identifying the elements)
2) Principles
3) Objectives
4) Scope
5) Criteria
6) International cooperation and assistance

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