24/08/2015 source EEAS
Illicit arms flows fuel conflicts and instability, support criminal activities and result in a terrible human toll. According to the UN, 750 000 people die every year of armed violence, much of it caused by illicit arms trafficking.
The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), adopted in 2013 by the UN and entered into force in December 2014, aims at further regulating international arms trade based on the principles of greater responsibility and transparency. So far, 130 UN States have signed it and 72 ratified. The ATT therefore now needs to be fully implemented and to gain universal applicability in order to be truly effective and prevent arms being diverted to the illicit market and falling into the wrong hands. In this respect, the EU has launched a substantial assistance programme supporting States that wish to receive assistance in strengthening their controls over arms transfers, in compliance with the ATT. The EU also continues to encourage States not yet party to the Treaty to accede to it.
The EU has actively supported the adoption and entry into force of the Treaty. All EU Member States have signed the Treaty and 26 have so far ratified it. The EU is now looking forward to the first Conference of ATT States Parties which is taking place in Cancun on 24-27 August 2015 under Mexican chairmanship. It is the opportunity to lay solid foundations for the ATT regime, by notably adopting its rules of procedure and financial rules, agreeing common reporting arrangements and establishing the ATT Secretariat. The EU and its Member States are committed to contributing to a substantive outcome for the Cancun Conference.