As the United Nations First Committee debates a range of resolutions related to disarmament and arms control this month in New York, the Arms Trade Treaty-Baseline Assessment Project (ATT-BAP) has launched an online training program to support government efforts to fulfill Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) reporting obligations.
The Arms Trade Treaty is the first global treaty to control the international trade in conventional arms. One of the key objectives of the ATT is to increase transparency, responsibility, and accountability in the international arms trade. The key transparency provisions of the ATT are contained in Article 13, concerning the transfer control system, actual transfers, and diversion. Article 13.1 of the ATT requires states to complete an initial report on “measures undertaken in order to implement [the ATT], including national laws, national control lists and other regulations and administrative measures.” States Parties are obliged to submit such a report to the ATT Secretariat “within the first year after entry into force of this Treaty for that State Party.” For 61 states, this means that an initial report on measures to implement the ATT needs to be prepared and submitted to the newly-established secretariat before 24 December 2015.
ATT-BAP developed a survey (available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic) that covers 12 thematic areas relating to implementation of the ATT. A wide variety of states have completed the ATT-BAP Survey, ranging from OECD States to the least developed countries. As of 28 October 2015, ATT-BAP has received 63 completed surveys, including 51 of the 73 States Parties, 10 signatories, and 2 non-signatories. Given the absence of an official reporting template for the initial report, states can submit their completed ATT-BAP Survey to fulfill their reporting obligation. However, some states still require assistance to complete implementation reports. Therefore, ATT-BAP has developed an online training and capacity-building tutorial to support completion of the initial report required under Article 13.1.
The online training and capacity-building tutorial enables states to complete the online version of the ATT-BAP Survey and provides advice on compiling the information contained in the survey – i.e. the potential sources of information for responding to the survey – to help in completing an initial report on treaty implementation. Many states have raised concerns regarding the “reporting burden” of the ATT and other international agreements. However, the online training helps states utilize the information they are already providing in other fora to complete their ATT reports. For example, for some governments, questions completed in the national reports submitted in support of Security Council Resolution 1540 on “effective measures against the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons (WMD)” could also be used to complete their initial report on implementation or ATT-BAP survey. The training consists of a video tutorial as well as a series of guidance notes, organized into nine modules: (1) national control list; (2) exports; (3) imports; (4) transit/transshipment; (5) brokering; (6) prohibitions; (7) risk assessment; (8) diversion; and (9) enforcement.
The video contains clips of national experts describing how they completed the ATT-BAP Survey and the sources of information that they utilized. It provides examples of the ways in which the survey has been useful to their ATT implementation efforts. National representatives from Austria, Costa Rica, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the United States are featured in the video. Each module is accompanied by a guidance note that provides the following information:
- Relevant ATT Articles for each topic area
- Relevant ATT-BAP Survey questions and examples of state responses
- Sources of information for answering ATT-BAP Survey questions.
- Relevant questions from ATT-BAP Survey, the UN Programme of Action reporting template, and UN Security Council Resolution 1540 reporting matrix
The online training (including video and guidance notes) can be found at www.armstrade.info.
Reporting is a crucial component of the ATT. Reporting is not only important for building confidence amongst states, but it also enables states to share information on how they are implementing the treaty. In addition, reporting also highlights good practice and areas that could benefit from targeted and coordinated cooperation and assistance to help build capacity and fulfil treaty obligations. Without an official reporting template requesting detailed information on implementation measures, it is crucial that states provide information in their initial reports that is comparable and can be subjected to objective analysis, such as that contained in the ATT-BAP Survey.
ATT-BAP was launched in the summer of 2013 by Stimson Senior Associate Rachel Stohl – who served as the consultant to the UN ATT Process – and Non-Resident Fellow Paul Holtom to help States understand the obligations of the ATT and prepare them for the landmark treaty’s implementation. ATT-BAP works closely with governments, international organizations, and civil society to ensure that fact-based analysis is available for use in understanding the impact of, as well as gaps and needs related to, ATT implementation. ATT-BAP has five key objectives that are intended to facilitate successful implementation of the ATT:
- Give clear guidance on the obligations contained in the ATT
- Increase understanding of measures that can be taken to ensure that states are in a position to ratify the ATT and ensure effective implementation of the treaty
- Deliver a baseline assessment of states’ abilities to effectively implement the ATT
- Contribute towards targeted and coordinated international assistance
- Provide indicators for monitoring the treaty’s impact
Photo credit: www.armstrade.info