Members from our Cameroonian, Colombian, Spanish and Swedish Sections have arrived in Geneva for a planning weekend before attending the Second Conference of States Parties (CSP2) to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), from 22-26 August 2016. The WILPF delegation will cover the meeting, as well as host a side event on Wednesday, 24 August.
What will they be talking about?
The preparatory process for this conference was made up of several informal consultations, leading to a draft programme of work for CSP2. Article 17 of the ATT calls on the Conference of States Parties to review the ATT’s implementation, the promotion of its universality, and the establishment of any subsidiary bodies to improve the functioning of the ATT. The expected focus of CSP2 will be on reporting formats (Article 13) and the establishment of a Voluntary Trust Fund (Article 16.3).
Transparency: building awareness through reporting
Transparent, comprehensive reporting is essential to effective implementation and promoting the universality of the ATT. Sweden’s working group on reporting templates has stated the need for a standardised reporting format and timeline. According to the working group, an agreed-upon reporting template aids comparative analysis between states, and helps to ensure that “reporting obligations are being fulfilled in a manner that will not be challenged.” However, public reporting is not yet a mandatory requirement.
In an earlier edition of the ATT Monitor, Ray Acheson – Director of WILPF’s disarmament programme, Reaching Critical Will (RCW) – talks about accountability in the form of public scrutiny and international pressure. Transparency and public reporting are part and parcel of this accountability. The ATT is about a commitment to “responsible action” and “reducing human suffering,” not about “flexibility and sensitivity” around what states might not want to disclose. WILPF’s own advocacy points for CSP2 reiterate these demands.
What about those states that lack the resources or capacity for effective implementation? Article 16 of the ATT is titled ‘International Assistance’ and aims to address this question. A ‘Voluntary Trust Fund’ targets issues around the promotion of universality and non-implementation by providing financial assistance for those states that request it. It is unclear at this point which states will be eligible to claim this assistance. However, a transparent reporting process could contribute to this by highlighting areas where states are failing to meet their obligations because of a lack of funds rather than a lack of good will. Furthermore, in the name of the promotion of universality, the scope of the Voluntary Trust Fund should include those states not yet parties to the ATT.
RCW coverage and events
On Wednesday, 24 August, RCW will hold a side event to the CSP2, ‘Preventing gender-based violence through arms control.’ Speakers from WILPF sections in Spain, Cameroon, and Colombia (LIMPAL) will share their experiences, and we will circulate two affiliated case studies on Spain and Sweden.
In addition, a speaker from WILPF Cameroon will participate in a panel discussion hosted by Amnesty International on arms control and the role of civil society, on Wednesday, 24 August at 7pm at UOG, Place des Grottes 3, 1201 Geneva.