Tomorrow, 24 December 2014, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) will enter into force.
This marks the opening of a new chapter in our collective efforts to bring responsibility, accountability and transparency to the global arms trade. From now on, the States Parties to this important Treaty will have a legal obligation to apply the highest common standards to their international transfers of weapons and ammunition.
The speed with which the ATT came into force – less than two years since its historic adoption by the United Nations General Assembly – is testimony to the commitment of States, international organizations and civil society to stop irresponsible arms transfers. Ultimately, it attests to our collective determination to reduce human suffering by preventing the transfer or diversion of weapons to areas afflicted by armed conflict and violence and to warlords, human rights abusers, terrorists and criminal organizations.
I am encouraged by the multitude of initiatives and activities that have already been undertaken by various entities to assist in the implementation of the ATT. The United Nations will continue to work in partnership with States, regional organizations and civil society to ensure that all States Parties will have the capacity to fully comply with the provisions of the Treaty. The multi-donor United Nations Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation in Arms Regulation (UNSCAR) has proven to be an effective tool to that end.
It is also critical that we continue to promote universal participation in the ATT, by encouraging all States, particularly major arms exporters and importers, to join this Treaty. With this in mind, I call on those States who have not yet done so, to accede to it without delay.