New Arms Trade Treaty website accompanies most important UN initiative ever on conventional arms regulation

July 1st, 2012

2 July 2012 — The dedicated UN website on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations went live on 7 June 2012.

This website serves as the primary information platform regarding the historic United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty that will take place in New York from
2 — 27 July 2012. The Conference will begin with a high-level segment during which the attendance of government ministers and the Secretary-General of the United Nations is expected. The Conference aims to deliver on the most important initiative ever within the United Nations in the field of conventional arms regulation: a robust agreement on common standards regarding the international transfer of arms.

The idea for an ATT emerged in the 1990s when civil society actors and a number of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates voiced concern over the lack of regulations on the global arms trade and the ensuing negative impact on international peace and security. Subsequently, the idea evolved into a formal United Nations process.

Threats and actual attacks against staff from the United Nations and from other humanitarian organizations have multiplied in recent years. Between 2000 and 2010,
around 800 humanitarian workers were killed in armed attacks and close to 700 were injured. A strong ATT has the potential to create a level playing field for international
arms transfers by requiring all States to abide by a set of standards for transfer controls, which will ultimately benefit the safety and security of UN staff in the field
and people everywhere in the world.

ATT Website Screenshot

In 2009, the General Assembly decided to convene a Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in 2012 “to elaborate a legally binding instrument on the highest possible common
international standards for the transfer of conventional arms”. The Conference has been preceded by four sessions of a Preparatory Committee (PrepCom).

The launch of the new website is part of the ongoing efforts by the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs to enhance the quality and accessibility of information available to Member States, arms control experts, non-governmental organizations, interest groups, media representatives, academics and the general public.

It features all the official UN documents related to the process which began in 2006. Also available are statements made in the Preparatory Committee sessions leading up to the Conference, press releases, background information, photos, information notes for the media and much more.