On Friday last week we saw a very disappointing end to the ATT negotiating conference. In the final hours, when it was looking possible that consensus would be achieved on the draft Treaty text, the United States made a statement asking for more time to negotiate, effectively expressing that they would not support the adoption of the ATT during the conference. This seemed to spur on a few other countries such as Russia, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, who then all made similar statements to that effect.
Submitted by Luke on July 30, 2012 - 12:14pm
Because the outcome had to be agreed upon on the basis of consensus, this spelled the collapse of the negotiations. So, after a month of intense negotiations, we are still left without an Arms Trade Treaty.
Campaigners and most UN member states alike, consider this a setback in the effort to achieve an ATT, but not a decisive one. The amount of progress made during the month long conference and the degree of support expressed by the vast majority of states, demonstrates clearly that there is an appetite for a bulletproof ATT. With that level of support, it is inevitable that we will reach that goal.
As campaigners, we have no intention of giving up now that were so close. However, the outcome of the conference also demonstrated how fragile any process based on a consensus procedure is. Its clear now just how important it is for supportive states to be champions for the cause. Now is not the time for despondency or submission, it is time for activism and coordination.
From here, the draft text developed last week will go with the Presidents report to the UN General Assembly in October. Once there, it is up to states to decide how to proceed. All of us involved now need to take stock and decide what process will best achieve the outcomes we hope to achieve a safer, more secure world for the millions of people affected by gun violence every year.