Technology & Trade

Reviewing 2017 ATT Annual Reports on Arms Exports and Imports: Fulfilling the Promise of the ATT?

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The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) seeks to promote cooperation, transparency, and responsible action in the international arms trade. One of the ways in which ATT States Parties can demonstrate that their arms transfer decisions comply with their ATT obligations is by providing an annual report containing information on authorizations or actual exports and imports of the eight categories of conventional arms contained in Article 2(1) of the Treaty (hereafter referred to as “annual report”). Article 13(3) of the Treaty obliges all States Parties to provide an annual report to the ATT Secretariat by 31 May each year. States Parties can decide to make their reports private or publicly available on the ATT Secretariat’s website. In 2016, ATT-BAP analyzed the first round of ATT annual reports and noted an incremental increase in transparency in international arms transfers. For example, 79 percent of the 61 ATT States Parties due to report provided an annual ATT report on their 2015 arms exports and imports – a comparatively high reporting rate for an international instrument in the conventional arms control field. Several of these States Parties have not previously provided information on their arms transfers, in particular transfers of small arms and light weapons (SALW), to international transparency instruments. This ATT-BAP report analyzes the second round of annual reports that were received by the ATT Secretariat by 31 August 2017 and publicly displayed on the ATT Secretariat’s website. SeventyFive States Parties were due to submit an ATT annual report to the ATT Secretariat by 31 May 2017, providing information on authorizations or actual exports and imports of conventional arms that took place during the 2016 calendar year. Only 47 States had reported by 31 August, a 63 percent compliance rate. This report compares the quantity and quality of information provided by ATT States Parties in the first and second rounds of annual reports. The main question addressed by this report is:

Does the second round of ATT annual reports represent an increase in transparency in the international arms trade? 

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