The forthcoming UN Arms Trade Treaty Final Conference: positive but unpredictable!

The summer 2012 Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations ended without adopting a Treaty. Majority of states, the UN and dozens of arms control proponent civil societies were highly disappointed. Of course, some arms control opponents were happy of the outcome.  Yet, on January 4, 2013, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 67/234 titled the Arms Trade Treaty. The Assembly referring to the UN Charter, its relevant resolutions on arms transfer, and the failed July 2012 ATT Conference, expressed its disappointment on the failure to conclude a Treaty in that Conference. Noting the Draft Treaty of 2012 (see my previous blogs for details) and the request made by some states to take more time to consider that document, the Assembly has decided to convene  a ‘Final Conference’ on the ATT in March 2013. Interestingly, it also decided that ‘the draft text of the Arms Trade Treaty submitted by the President of the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty on 26 July 2012 …shall be the basis for future  work on the Arms Trade Treaty, without prejudice to the right of delegations to put forward additional proposals on that text’. The Conference will be held from 18 to 28 March 2013 in New York and the Assembly has called ‘upon the President of the Final United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty to report on the outcome of the Conference to the General Assembly at a meeting to be held as soon as possible after 28 March 2013’. What is clear from Resolution 67/234 is that the Draft Treaty will serve as a basis for deliberations but it is still open for negotiations, consultations and even other opposing proposals from participant states. What is not clear is that while the Conference is final on this matter the anticipated outcome is not entirely known, a Treaty, a GA Resolution or nothing?

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