Secretary-General's remarks at Special Event marking the Opening of the Arms Trade Treaty for Signature
New York, 3 June 2013
I am honoured to join you for this historic event.
Today we open for signature the landmark Arms Trade Treaty.
As we do, we recognize that the Treaty itself has opened a door of hope to millions of women, men and children who live in deprivation and fear because of the poorly controlled international arms trade and the proliferation of deadly weapons.
I commend all of you on achieving this great step forward in strengthening the rule of law in the field of disarmament.
With the ATT, the world has decided to finally put an end to the “free-for-all” nature of international weapons transfers.
From now on, weapons and ammunition should only cross borders after the exporter confirms that the transfer complies with internationally agreed standards.
The Treaty will provide an effective deterrent against excessive and destabilizing arms flows, particularly in conflict-prone regions.
It will make it harder for weapons to be diverted into the illicit market … to reach warlords, pirates, terrorists and criminals … or to be used to commit grave human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law.
This treaty will also enable the United Nations to better carry out its mandates, particularly in humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
It will also facilitate enforcement of Security Council arms embargoes and help promote social and economic development.
Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The adoption of the ATT is further testament to what can be accomplished when governments and civil society work together through the United Nations.
I hope it will inspire progress across the whole UN agenda.
I applaud governments for their determination to get this job done. I commend the members of civil society for their tireless campaigns, expert contributions and unwavering support.
I want to express my deep appreciation to Ambassador Peter Woolcott for his skilled stewardship of the Final Conference which paved the way for the adoption of the ATT.
I also wish to recognize Ambassador Roberto García Moritán of Argentina for his important contributions to this process.
As our focus shifts to signing, ratifying, and implementing the Treaty, I congratulate all governments that have paved the way by signing the treaty today.
I urge all States to follow your lead. I particularly appeal to major arms-trading countries to be first movers.
The eyes of the world are watching arms traders, manufacturers and governments, as never before.
I call on all governments to bring national legislation and procedures in line with the requirements of the treaty so that it becomes a strong force for security and development for all.
The ATT is substantive and robust, but its effectiveness will depend on the willingness of States to ensure its full implementation.
As you start implementation, you will add much-needed impetus to our wider disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.
The United Nations stands ready to provide its full support to this vital cause.
Thank you for your leadership.
Statements on 3 June 2013