Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty

7/13/2011 // Ambassador Terje Hauge from the Section for Humanitarian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented Norway's main statement to the The Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT PrepCom).

Mr. Chair,

Let me at the outset thank you for providing us with the two papers on implementation and final provisions. They contain many of the elements in these areas that we now have to consider and discuss, bearing in mind that our common goal should be to establish a strong and effective ATT that will help reduce humanitarian suffering resulting from irresponsible arms trade. We should also recall that although we have discussed important topics in the previous rounds, such as scope, criteria, international cooperation and assistance, and victim assistance, there is still much work to be done in these areas that has implications for our deliberations on implementation.


Mr. Chair,

I do not intend at this stage to make detailed comments on the different measures in your implementation paper. Instead, let me touch upon some principles and approaches related to implementation that are important to the Norwegian delegation.

Firstly, we believe that transparency, to the extent possible, should be our guiding principle in relation to information exchange. Transparency in arms trade represents confidence building and is therefore a positive measure in itself. In addition to being important and necessary for the State Parties in following up the requirements of the ATT, it also provides the public and civil society with the necessary tools to follow the implementation of the Treaty. Reporting obligations will be a key requirement in achieving this goal.

Secondly, we should stand firm on the principle that States must be at liberty to adopt more restrictive criteria than those provided in the ATT. This was also underlined in paragraph 19 in the principles section of the Chair’s paper that was distributed in March this year: The ATT should represent the floor in this respect, not the ceiling. There can be no obligations to export or supply weapons. This must be left to the exporting state’s discretion. Thus, we believe that the text pertaining, in particular, to transfer denials needs some more discussions.

Thirdly, the Norwegian delegation is pleased to note that the requirement to provide end user certificates seems to be firmly rooted in the Chair’s implementation paper. Such measures will contribute to preventing illicit re-export and diversion of arms and ammunition and will thus be an important factor in obtaining the goals of an ATT.

 

Mr. Chair,


In the March prep com, the Norwegian delegation suggested that measures concerning marking and traceability of arms and ammunition should be included in the Treaty. Norway believes this is important in relation to combating illicit trade of the items covered by the Treaty, especially small arms and light weapons and ammunition. For example, marking could be introduced as an obligation in connection with the record keeping measures that are introduced in the Chair’s implementation paper. There are useful instruments on record keeping measures regarding small arms and light weapons within the UN and other international forums that could serve as examples of best practises.

Some may claim that introducing marking and traceability measures will complicate the negotiations unnecessarily. We do not believe so, but we are well aware of the time restraint we are faced with in order to agree on a Treaty by next year. However, we should not let this important question remain undebated in the ATT context, and we look forward to hearing other delegations’ views on the issue.

Mr. Chair,


In your paper you suggest to establish an Implementation Support Unit (ISU) to assist State Parties in the implementation of the Treaty. My delegation is flexible on the question of what kind of secretariat function we establish provided it is not too big and bureaucratic.

 

Mr. Chair,


We do have several issues that we would like to raise concerning parts of the papers you have distributed at this meeting, but we will leave the more detailed points for later, depending on how the discussions move forward this week.

We would also be very interested in discussing how we should approach the obvious need for more discussions on the key topics of the ATT, such as scope, criteria, international cooperation and assistance including victim assistance, in time for the actual negotiations of the Treaty next summer.

 

Thank you Mr. Chair


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