The UK has led international efforts to secure agreement on an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) since 2006. Significant progress was made during 2012 on agreement on a treaty which will include:
- the first ever set of global commitments on national arms export controls;
- a mandatory requirement for arms exports to be assessed on the basis of criteria including human rights, with mandatory refusal if they pose unacceptable risks;
- mainstreaming sustainable development and anti-corruption into arms export controls;
- a requirement for states to regulate arms brokering; and
- mandatory reporting on authorisations as well as actual transfers of conventional arms.
At the UN General Assembly in November, UN member states voted overwhelmingly to convene a Negotiating Conference in March 2013 to conclude negotiations. Marking the occasion, the minister responsible for the ATT, Alistair Burt, said:
“Yesterday in New York, 157 countries pledged their support for a global Arms Trade Treaty. An overwhelming majority of states, including the US, China and India, voted for a return to UN negotiations in 2013 to finalise work on a treaty that will save lives, reduce human suffering and bring consistency to the global trade in conventional arms.”
Working closely with civil society, the defence industry and our international partners, we will continue our efforts to secure agreement in 2013.