The United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) adopted the “Sao Tomé Declaration on a Central African Common Position on the Arms Trade Treaty”, on 16 March, at its thirty-second ministerial meeting held in Sao Tomé. The Declaration comes soon after the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2012 United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, held in New York from 28 February to 4 March.
The Sao Tomé Declaration addresses the scope, criteria and parameters, as well as implementation aspects of such a future arms trade treaty. In adopting this Declaration, the Central African countries ensured that their challenges and concerns would be known and taken into account during the ongoing negotiations leading to the treaty’s finalization in 2012. The Sao Tomé Declaration expresses a coordinated and harmonized approach of Committee member States on the arms trade treaty negotiations, conclusion and its future implementation.
In a message to the meeting delivered by Mr. Bruno Mpondo-Epo, Chef de Cabinet of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa, the Secretary-General said that he continued to attach great importance to the work of UNSAC and encouraged members to stop gun violence and to stop the cross-border flow of illicit weapons. He also urged members to take the necessary steps to ratify the Kinshasa Convention, allowing it to enter into force as soon as possible.
The Kinshasa Convention on the control of small arms and light weapons in Central Africa, which has been signed by 8 of the 11 members of the Advisory Committee since it opened for signature in November 2010, was the guiding framework for the new Declaration.
The United Nations Committee is composed of the following Member States: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe.