Ambassador Gberie Opens ATT’s 7th Conference Prep Meetings
Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday 28 April 2021- After a year of largely written-formatted meetings, Ambassador Lansana Gberie, the President of the Seventh Conference of States Parties (CSP7) to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), opened the
first interactive ATT Working Group’s Meetings in a virtual format this week. It is the first ATT meeting organized since March 2020, the result of the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The subsequent round of intersessional work since then took place through written
submissions, including the sixth Conference of States Parties (CSP6).
Ambassador Gberie as the President of CSP7, in an effort to find a method of work that is
inclusive and transparent, has adopted a consultative approach in planning this meeting cycle by providing options for meeting modalities and formats and seeking input from all stakeholders.
As a result of this, he called the 110 States Parties to the ATT and other stakeholders to a week-long meeting, beginning on 26 April.
The three Working Groups to the ATT, the Working Group on Effective Treaty Implementation,
the Working Group on Transparency and Reporting, and the Working Group on Treaty Universalization, are discussing their workplans agreed by silence procedure and will facilitate discussion on priority topics chosen for the CSP7 cycle.
The agenda for this week meetings also includes discussion on the thematic focus of Ambassador Gberie’s Presidency: “strengthening efforts to eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW) and ensuring efficient stockpile management”.
Following the opening of the session, Ambassador Gberie discussed his theme at some length, nothing: “Small Arms and light weapons are the weapons of choice in civil wars, organised crimes, gang violence, Gender-based violence and related offences, transnational crime,
terrorism among others.” These weapons, he said, “ are violence multipliers because most
present-day conflicts are fought with small arms and light weapons. They are easy to use, easy to carry, easily diffused
and fungible, and easy to conceal. They are often a factor behind the forced displacement of civilians and massive human rights violations.
He added that Illicit flows of small arms and light weapons undermine security and the rule of law. “As the 7th President of the ATT CSP, I will work to intensify efforts to eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and ensure efficient stockpile management of weapons post their delivery to authorised end-users", Ambassador Gberie said.
Ambassador Gberie stated
that the choice of his thematic focus was informed by Sierra Leone's own experience as well as the related experiences of many other States across all regions of the globe resulting from inadequate regulation of international arms trade.
Ambassador Gberie added that through our collective efforts, the ATT's initiatives in this paper
are consistent with achieving Sustainable Development Goal 16, which promotes peaceful, just, and inclusive societies, especially target 16.4, which seeks to significantly reduce illicit arms flows and combat all forms of organized crimes. In, this look at the paper identifies four possible steps /proposals for States Parties to consider adopting at the CSP7 parties.
Ambassador Gberie's paper received overwhelming support from States Parties, including EU, Switzerland, UK, France, Canada, Ireland, Panama, Argentina, Nigeria, and China.
The ATT is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The Treaty is the key instrument for
regulating the global arms trade, covering the production, movement and stockpiling of
weapons, as well as human rights issues that are salient in armed conflict.
Sierra Leone ratified the Arms Trade Treaty on 12 August 2014, as the 43rd UN Member State and 4th African country to do so.
The second round of preparatory and working group meetings will not take place. States parties have decided to have remote consultations to be held intersessional in May-June to finalise documentation arising out of the April meetings that will be submitted to CSP7 for
consideration and possible adoption or endorsement.
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