15 March 2013
Press Release

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Background Release

United Nations Final Conference on Arms Trade Treaty Begins Work


amid Expectations of Treaty Leading to Common Global Standards


NEW YORK, 15 March (Office for Disarmament Affairs) ó The United Nations Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty opens Monday, 18 March, at United Nations Headquarters in New York amid broad expectations of finally arriving at a successful outcome, which had eluded the Arms Trade Treaty Conference in July 2012.

Running from 18-28 March, the Final Conference aims to conclude negotiations on a treaty that would establish common international standards for the global trade in conventional arms, from small arms to artillery, combat aircraft or warships.† With poorly regulated international arms transfers fuelling conflicts, destabilizing regions and empowering terrorists and criminal networks, the United Nations Secretary-General has described as a disgrace the absence of a multilateral treaty of global scope dealing with conventional arms.

The ability of the United Nations to carry out its mandate to help countries and people around the world is often hindered by the effects of armed conflict and violence, abetted by the illicit arms trade.† These effects can also exact a direct toll on personnel working to deliver humanitarian assistance.† Between 2000 and 2010, almost 800 humanitarian workers were killed in armed attacks and a further 689 injured.† Also, United Nations peacekeepers face the risks of death and abduction on a daily basis.

The United Nations has been a consistent advocate of a robust Arms Trade Treaty that would cover a comprehensive array of conventional weapons, including small arms and light weapons and their ammunition, and that would require its States parties to conduct thorough risk assessments before transferring weapons.

Some 2,000 representatives from Governments, international and regional organizations as well as civil society have gathered in New York for the final negotiations on this landmark treaty.† With Ambassador Peter Woolcott of Australia presiding over the Conference, the Secretary-General will attend the opening ceremony and address the Conference.

Press Contact:† Ewen Buchanan, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, tel. +1 212 963 3022; e-mail buchanane@un.org.† Conference website:† www.un.org/disarmament/ATT.† For media accreditation, please consult the United Nations Media Accreditation and Liaison Unitís website:† www.un.org/en/media/accreditation/request.shtml.

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For information media • not an official record