Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms

Fifth Annual Conference of States Parties to the ATT (CSP5) Geneva, 26 August 2019

The 5th Conference of State Parties (CSP5) took place in Geneva 26th to 31st August, 2019.

Adenike Cole, Coordinator of the Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms was in attendance.

State Parties who have signed, ratified or acceded to the treaty as well as civil society were in attendance. The chair of the conference was ATT President Amb. Jānis KĀRKLIŅŠ of Latvia.

Control Arms which is one of the leading consortiums for civil society calls on States Parties to increase their efforts toward the robust implementation and universalization of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). In particular, Control Arms demands that States Parties immediately cease all export authorizations that violate Articles 6 and 7, while fully incorporating an assessment of the risks of gender-based violence (GBV) in arms transfer decisions.

 Before CSP5 began , Control Arms campaigners from all around the world ​gathered at the Palais  des Nations​ in Geneva to raise awareness about the especially grave harms faced by those particularly vulnerable during co nflict, such as children and victims of gender-based violence. Holding posters with slogans advocating for greater attention to gender-based violence, the ongoing conflict in Yemen, and the ATT’s goal of reducing human suffering, campaigners stood behind a statue of a child gazing upward as fighter jets fly by to raise awareness about the importance of the treaty’s robust implementation.

At the opening ceremony,various speakers made high-level statements, including UN Under-Secretary General for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu, Namibia’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Christine Hoebes, ICRC Vice President Gilles Carbonnier,​ and Ms. Nounou Booto Meeti from the Control Arms delegation, among others.

 Speakers reminded​CSP5 that the treaty is a “life-saving treaty–the Arms Trade Treaty”, and that the progress that has been made so far is “not enough–not for the millions of civilians who suffer due to violence perpetrated by weapons,” and “not for the thousands of people who still live in fear of gender-based violence,” and not “for the millions of children who continue to disproportionately bear the brunt of armed violence and warfare.” States  were called upon to “rigorously adhere to legal obligations under the Treaty,” to “immediately cease arms transfers that fuel conflict, poverty, and violations of human rights and humanitarian law,” to “support transparency to help ensure accountability and prevent diversion,” and to “leverage the ATT to protect against gender-

 The theme of CSP5 is gender and gender-based violence (GBV), which has three areas of focus: meaningful and equitable gender representation in ATT delegations; the differential gendered impact of armed violence and conflict; and the incorporation of gender-based violence into the ATT’s export risk assessment. The gender and GBV session, focussed on the violence faced by women and girls in their homes and at the hands of their close relatives — and on the increased likelihood of harm and death when a weapon is present. It was  also emphasized that  the importance of stemming illicit flows of weapons, which empower criminal groups, threaten law and order, and diminish the ability of governments to carry out their basic functions.

During the week sessions, State parties had the time to make diverse intervention ranging on various issues. In the general debate, many states raised concerns around the adequacy of current funding levels and the importance that ATT States Parties meeting  their financial obligations under the Treaty. Both Germany and the Netherlands called for improved reporting by States Parties, with the Netherlands adding a particular emphasis on the importance of transparency and the public availability of those reports.

Several States Parties argued for the importance of the Arms Trade Treaty’s effective implementation to development: South Africa noted that unregulated arms sales can be an impediment to development, while the European Union and the Republic of Macedonia recognized that proper ATT implementation could positively affect the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Sierra Leone`s representative from the National Commission appreciated the funds provided by the Voluntary Trust Fund that ensures the country`s participation in such meetings.

Numerous States Parties raised concerns around particular countries’ and regions’ hesitation in joining and implementing the treaty. The European Union called out the United States, in particular, for its recent announcement that it will withdraw its signature from the Treaty.

Reports were submitted from the various working groups, including Working Group on Effective Treaty Implementation (WGETI); Working Group on Transparency and Reporting (WGTR); and Working Group on Treaty Universalization (WGTU.

There were various side events on the various days, organized by different institutions during the week long event.

The final day of CSP5 began with a first reading of the CSP5 final report, with the aim of approving procedural & substantive paragraphs that have immediate consensus. The conference came to an end, on time, after having adopted the final report, by concensensus

In the closure of CSP5, the incoming president from Argentina gave short remarks during which he assured the conference that Argentina is dedicated to the objectives and spirit of the Treat and stressed that he hopes to advance common objectives. He stated that transparency is key to ensure effective implementation of the Treaty and welcomed the focus on diversion in the following cycle. He also noted that forward to working with industry and civil society to continue advancing the Treaty’s implementation as well as to make the ATT more recognizable and better understood by the general public

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