The landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), regulating the international trade in conventional arms – from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships – entered into force on 24 December 2014.
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Significance for the UN
Working to improve lives and livelihoods around the world, the United Nations system is directly confronted with the impact of the absence of regulations or lax controls on the arms trade. Those suffering most are civilian populations trapped in situations of armed violence in settings of both crime and conflict, often in conditions of poverty, deprivation and extreme inequality, where they are all too frequently on the receiving end of the misuse of arms by State armed and security forces, non-State armed groups and organized criminal groups.
Inadequate controls on arms transfers have led to widespread availability and misuse of weapons. One serious consequence: the disruption of life-saving humanitarian and development operations because of attacks against staff of the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations. In many areas of work, the United Nations faces serious setbacks that ultimately can be traced to the consequences of the poorly regulated arms trade. We see weapons pointed at us while maintaining international peace and security, in promoting social and economic development, supporting peacekeeping operations, peacebuilding efforts, monitoring sanctions and arms embargoes, delivering food aid or helping internally displaced persons and refugees, protecting children and civilians, promoting gender equality or fostering the rule of law. That is why the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty is so significant for the UN system as a whole. Learn more about the Impact of Poorly Regulated Arms Transfers on the Work of the United Nations.
Making ATT implementation possible
In anticipation, the United Nations, in close cooperation with a growing number of States, has launched a trust facility to kick-start advocacy, universalisation and implementation of the ATT. Learn more about the United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR).