From 29 to 30 May 2015, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, through the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), organised a workshop on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) for African Small Island Developing States in Lomé, Togo. The workshop aimed to identify specific challenges and needs of represented States in the implementation of the ATT and to facilitate the identification and development of measures that address these needs and challenges.
The national implementation of the ATT depends on various factors. Among these factors are internal conditions such as prior arms transfer control systems, import needs or export capacities. The implementation also depends on external conditions such as the geographical position of States and types of transfers linked to the location.
The workshop provided an opportunity to the representatives of Cape Verde, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe and Seychelles to exchange their experiences, challenges and best practices with respect to arms transfer controls. The discussions were enriched by experts in disarmament matters of the African Union, the Regional Disarmament Branch of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies of Pretoria. Identified key measures that could help to address the specific needs and challenges of African Small Island Developing States in the implementation of the ATT include the promotion of the ATT, the transposition of the treaty into national legislation, the identification of specific transfer control measures in particular with regard to transit and trans-shipment of weapons as well as the support in strengthening technical and financial capabilities.
The workshop is part of a wider assistance programme on the implementation of the ATT in Africa which is funded under UNSCAR, a multi-donor voluntary trust fund. Other aspects of the program focus on the synergies and complementarities of the ATT and related disarmament instruments with the Convention of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the provisions of the ATT relating to the prevention of violations of human rights and violence against women.
The ATT is currently ratified by 69 United Nations Member States, including ten African States. In addition, the treaty was signed by 27 African States that have not yet ratified.
For additional information about UNREC, please visit the website http://www.unrec.org/