The implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was discussed at the lunch event “Making ATT Work”, arranged by Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations on June 13. The objectives of the “Making ATT Work” event were to facilitate a smooth and effective implementation of the treaty and to address the importance of having new ratifying State Parties. The event also allowed for Ambassador Riitta Resch, Finland’s candidate for the post of Head of the ATT Secretariat which is to be established, to present herself.
In his opening remarks, the Deputy Permanent Representative Janne Taalas emphasized the adoption of the ATT by the General Assembly one year ago as a long-awaited milestone. As approaching the 50 ratifications needed for the treaty to enter into force, we are entering a crucial time for ensuring its successful implementation. Thus, the ambitions will need to remain high throughout the following phases. Taalas concluded by welcoming the offer by Mexico to host the first conference for the ATT state parties.
United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) Chief of Conventional Arms Branch Daniël Prins described the decisions needed to be taken by the first conference of ATT State Parties. These include rules of procedure, financial rules, the trust fund, and the establishment of the ATT Secretariat. Prins stressed the importance of good cooperation between the parties when considering these issues.
Finnish candidate for Head of the ATT Secretariat, Ambassador Riitta Resch, spoke about her experiences from the ATT negotiations. She assessed that the final treaty had turned out even better than initially anticipated. Resch also reminded that a certain degree of pressure from the civil society was necessary in order to reach a solid outcome. Determination and wide cooperation will also be needed in the implementation of the ATT. Finally, Resch expressed her hope to see a further increase in the number of signatures from the current 118.
The ATT, adopted by the General Assembly in April 2013, is the first binding international treaty to regulate international arms trade. The treaty requires 50 ratifications to enter into force. In April 2014, Finland, alongside 17 other states, deposited its instrument of ratification in New York. Finland has acted as one of the most determined supporters of the treaty ever since the beginning of the negotiations.