EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference 2016 Special Session 6
Chair: Caroline Cliff, Chair, Council Working Group on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM), EEAS 
Klaus Korhonen, President of the Conference of States Parties, Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) 
An Vranckx, Researcher, Small Arms and Arms Transfers, Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP) 
Jorge Lomónaco Tonda, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva

Provisional Transcript

Caroline Cliff, Chair, Council Working Group on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM), EEAS

Good afternoon everybody and welcome to this session. So you have seen from the agenda we are going to talk about combatting the trafficking of small arms and light weapons but also the Arms Trade Treaty. And I would like to thank you for attending this session. I know that we are competing with a number of other sessions that are also of great interest. But on behalf of all our panellists, we are very pleased to see you here.

So as you will have seen from the agenda, I am Caroline Cliff and I work for the European External Action Service. I would just like to say a few words first about the EU support. We have been, for quite some time, supporting the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the issue of combatting the trafficking of small arms and light weapons has also been high priority for the EU. Forgive me for just briefly highlighting some of the work that the EU is doing to raise awareness of these issues but this is, after all, a conference sponsored by the EU so I shall be rather shameless in this respect.

So on small arms and light weapons we are focusing on cooperation and prevention, as set out in the EU’s small arms and light weapons strategy from 2005. In the context of the EU global strategy, which was launched earlier this year and was mentioned at the beginning of our conference this morning by Mr Bylica, we are now working to update the small arms and light weapon strategy. Our most important strategic objective is to support the development of global capacity to effectively tackle the problem of illicit arms flows.

In terms of specific projects, we are currently supporting SEESAC, UNDP’s disarmament and arms control activities in Southeast Europe. SEESAC stands for Southeastern and East Europe Clearinghouse on Small Arms and Light Weapons Control. We are supporting a project on stockpile management activities to reduce the risk of illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in the Sahel region and a reporting mechanism on illicit small arms and light weapons called iTrace, all with various amounts of money through the respective EU Council decisions. And we are currently working on new assistance projects to cover the next couple of years, which will include one in support of the UN Programme of Action, with a view to the 2018 UN Programme of Action Review Conference.

In the area of conventional arms export controls, we have a programme of support to third countries, to help them strengthen their export control systems, and specifically on the ATT and outreach programme running since 2013 to assist countries in their efforts to meet the requirements of the treaty. And that is just very brief but should anyone be interested in any further information about any of these EU activities, then please get in touch after the event.

Now turning to the topic before us, last year, for those of you who were present last year, this session, the session on conventional arms at this conference, was specifically about implementation of the ATT after entry into force, and I expect this to be again quite a theme of our session.

So I will leave the substance to our distinguished panellists, who are more knowledgeable than I am on this issue. But I do just want to reiterate a message that the EES delivered this time a year ago and which I think is still relevant. And we talked about the need to avoid the risk of the ATT ending up as just another ambitious piece of paper with well-crafted provisions but that is not, in the end, fully and effectively implemented. And for the EU, that is why implementation is of crucial importance. We need to make the ATT a success in terms of customs enforcement, industry compliance and licensing daily work.

Now to address the topic of this session, we have three distinguished panellists. I am very grateful to them for their presence here today. I will dutifully follow the instructions from the consortium organisers so I am not going to give a lengthy introduction of our speakers. They have very impressive biographies but they are all online via the dedicated application. So I think it is also safe to say that they are well known to us.

But before we start, I would just like to mention that we have shifted the order a little. So after Ambassador Korhonen on my right, we will move to Ambassador Lomónaco and then to Dr An Vranckx. So with that, thank you very much and I would like to turn to Ambassador Korhonen.

Klaus Korhonen, President of the Conference of States Parties, Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

Thank you. Now most of the participants of this conference, they deal usually with other weapons categories than this, that are the topic of this panel. So, as I knew that I will be the first speaker, so we have discussed with the Chair, I am ready to go through some really basic concepts for those of you who perhaps are not quite familiar with this. But I see some leading experts in the audience but unless there are strong objections, so briefly I go through clarification on what we are really talking about. And then I am happy to move to the ATT, which is my main subject.

But before we start, so I certainly want to say that I am very pleased to be in such a distinguished panel, and I would also want to say that the Finnish presidency of the ATT is very much looking forward to working with the new Chair of the EU Conventional Arms Exports Working Group, Madame Cliff. So it is very nice to see you now. We have met before; we both were in different capacities.

But on what are we talking about? So I would start by claiming that we are speaking here also about weapons of mass destruction. More people have been killed with handguns, for example, than with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons combined, since their introduction. Conventional weapons are WMDs in slow motion. Small arms and light weapons, which are mentioned in this title and we had some questions about this, are actually sub-category of the broader concept of conventional arms. The main framework to address – there are also others to address the problem – so small arms in arms control jargon, SALWs, is the United Nations Programme of Action (PoA). The UN PoA is not a legal instrument. The ATT, on the other hand, covers all conventional arms, which is aircraft carriers and everything that is smaller, including the so-called small arms and light weapons. The ATT is an international treaty and its obligations are legally binding. There was earlier today a panel where conventional arms were mentioned in the title but that was about balance of armed forces in Europe.

Now the second distinction I would like to make is that there is a difference between transference of weapons from one country to another, and in weapons being in wrong hands but staying within one country. ATT is for regulating transfers of arms across borders, not about domestic problems related to weapon as such.

The UN PoA, where I would like to focus, addresses control of small arms across states’ borders but, in addition, the full range of domestic problems related to them. In that sense, the range is broader than in the ATT. The connecting link between the international transfers and the internal issues is diversion. Both instruments seek to address the problem of diversion with these arms ending up in wrong hands or being used for unauthorised uses. And under the ATT, the risk of diversion actually is one of the criterias states parties must consider before granting an arms export license.

Thirdly, there is a difference between legal arms transfer or arms trade and illegal or illicit trafficking. For obvious reasons it is easier to smuggle revolvers than battle tanks. The UN PoA is very much orientated in tackling the problem of trafficking, the illegal part of transfers. The ATT aims to establish national regulation on legal transfers of all categories of conventional weapons. The ATT does not prohibit arms trade and in this sense, it is very different from some of the more traditional disarmament treaties, such as the Mine Ban Convention and the Cluster Munitions Convention.

Now the other purpose of the ATT is to prevent illicit trade but frankly, so far, less time has been spent in our community in thinking how the ATT can best be used to effectively reduce illicit trade and how the obligation to prevent and arrest diversion should be implemented. So this panel is a very good reminder that maybe we should.

Just one word about the trends, what is happening in the real world, so to speak. The volume and value of trade in conventional weapons has been increasing over the last 15 years, since early 2000, after a steady decrease for ten years after the end of the Cold War. And paradoxically this trend started around the same years when the UN PoA was established and when the first ideas leading to ATT were spelled out.

We should also remind ourselves that significantly reducing illicit arms flows is one of the objectives of the 2013 agenda for sustainable developing goals. And this is all conventional arms. What in my view, from my perspective, is very good in the 2013 agenda is that the link between development and security is made very clear. Increasing regulation of arms and preventing illicit trade fosters general development of societies.

Now regarding the ATT, I am here to tell you briefly about the ATT part of this effort to control conventional arms and about the initial priorities of the Finnish presidency of the ATT regime. I was elected two months ago at the second Conference of States Parties of the ATT and my term lasts until the end of the third Conference in Geneva, which will be held from 11-15 September 2017. And it is a great honour and privilege to serve in this capacity. And this will be my main job for the year to come.

ATT, as many of you know, entered into force less than two years ago now, on Christmas Eve 2014. And here I would say that I am extremely grateful to Jorge Lomónaco for creating the basic structures of the ATT regime literally, from scratch, as its first president. And also I was looking at the timeline, I recall that you had a key role in convincing sufficient number of countries to ratify the treaty so that it could enter into force.

Now at the end of 2016, what is left of it, we are still in the beginning; the treaty is less than two years old. But now the regime now finally has the resources that were planned and thus the conditions to start working as it should. And friends, in my view, the ATT is now in a very dynamic and exciting phase. States parties are enhancing the national implementation of the treaty. We will collect the best practices, we will advise them if they so wish, and we will help them through concrete projects to support national implementation. These projects will be financed by ATT’s own Voluntary Trust Fund. There are also other sources, certainly not least provided by the EU, but the ATT Voluntary Trust Fund reports to the ATT Conference of States Parties.

At the same time we are moving forward in promoting universality and getting new states parties. And combined, progress that we are making in these two directions, implementation and universality together, I think we will increase the overall impact of the ATT and, I believe, significantly.

This is a joint effort. The Finnish presidency will be very much teamwork, as I have said already on numerous occasions, and all ATT bodies and actors will move towards the same direction. Further, the ATT regime needs a strategic approach. We must identify the elements that are really crucial to achieving a [inaudible] treaty. We will have to take a long-term perspective in developing this regime. What we do now has an effect not only on the CSP III, the next conference in September 2017, but also for actually a number of terms of following conferences.

The priorities; promoting universality of the ATT is an absolute priority for the Finnish presidency. To those states who have not become states parties, we have said that every country is needed in the ATT. Every country can fulfil the treaty obligations. It is certainly perfect if there is full compliance when they join but I would also say that soon accession is better than late accession. Come as you are, then we will see how best to improve national implementation in your country.

What really gives me hope is the Voluntary Trust Fund we have. And there we have a financial instrument to support national implementation from the beginning and this will be very targeted and ATT-specific, international assistance. And here promoting universality also is a joint effort and here, colleagues and friends, I can also ask you what can you do to encourage your neighbouring country or your own government to accede to the treaty, if they have not yet done so.

Referring to our earlier discussion on trends in arms transfers, I would like to share one observation. There is a clear difference between arms-exporting countries and arms-importing countries. Of the 20 biggest arms-exporting countries of conventional weapons, 17 are state parties or signatories. And I think this is a remarkable achievement at this stage of the young treaty. But then, in turn, if we take the 20 biggest importers, only one is a full state party and 13 countries, of the 20, a clear majority, are entirely outside the system. Interestingly – and there are comments about this – some of these significant importers are very determined to become also or alternatively big exporters. Arms trade is also trade. So there is work to be done to convince both exporters but particularly importers that everybody benefits from the level playing field that is achieved through common standards.

To conclude with, I would like to come back to the global governance in addressing these weapon categories, to cooperation between the regimes. I would like to emphasise that promoting the goals of the ATT is teamwork also at the global level. I have referred several times already to the UN PoA, which has a slightly different focus, but which has many synergies and complementarities with the ATT; we serve the same purpose.

I was very pleased about the consensus outcome of the sixth biennial meeting of the PoA states parties last summer, under the chairmanship of Ambassador Rattray of Jamaica. Many of you were there. And looking, with keen interest, to the preparations of the third review conference of the UN PoA, which will be held in 2018 under the able leadership of Ambassador [inaudible] from France. And here the view of the Finnish presidency on the ATT is very clear on this point. We need cooperation with the UN bodies and other international regimes. We need to be pragmatic and avoid both gaps and duplications. I stop here and I thank you.

Caroline Cliff, Chair, Council Working Group on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM), EEAS

Thank you very much indeed, Klaus, if I may. And thank you, you have made very pertinent points and also given us some important facts and figures. I would like now to turn to Ambassador Lomónaco.

Jorge Lomónaco Tonda, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva

First of all, allow me to thank the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium for inviting me to this event. It is good to be back in Brussels. Last time I was here was April or May 2015 and it was precisely to do the job that Klaus very generously was referring to, in preparing the first CSP for the ATT. I met with the European External Action Group on Non-proliferation Disarmament, a very long title that I cannot recall. But it was a very good meeting, since the EU was the largest and is still the largest regional group in terms of membership to the ATT.

Full disclosure, Klaus and I know each other for a while so that would explain why he was so nice to me. So I will return in saying – and trust me when I say this – that the Finnish presidency has started with flying colours and we have tremendous expectations of the job that he and his team will do for this new cycle.

As most of you know, Mexico has been an active promoter of adopting, reviewing, strengthening national and international measures to prevent and combat illicit trafficking on the small arms and light weapons. Why? Constant episodes that we watch every day around the world show us that small arms and light weapons are an element of destabilisation. They exacerbate conflicts, fuel organised crime and terrorism, endanger the rule of law, contribute to the violation of human rights and of international humanitarian law.

Illicit trafficking also hinders economic and social development, and the consolidation of the rule of law. And it is precisely because of the power of destruction of these weapons and because of the fact that they undermine development, that international community, let us not forget, has decided to include, as part of the agenda of sustainable development, objective 16, a universal commitment to reduce the flow of illicit weapons in the world.

For Mexico, nationally for us to counter illicit trafficking, are entirely related to the safety of our people and their development. Why? Because it is estimated that between 45 – 80 million small arms and light weapons are circulating among individuals or groups in Latin America with little or no control. Gunshots kill 80,000 people each year in Latin America, which unfortunately has become the region with the highest rate of homicides committed by firearms. But let us not forget that the US is not far behind, 33,000. So illicit trade of these weapons is global. And the activity of traffickers undermines the security of most states in the world.

This is why we believe the international community should tackle illicit trafficking from both its technical aspects and the human consequences under an approach of shared responsibility. In the past two decades international community has adopted measures and established mechanism to prevent and eradicate trafficking of these weapons, including the Palermo Protocol, the problem of action, most recently the ATT, and as well as unilateral efforts by OAS and ECOWAS.

These measures, mechanism, are not only focused on the illicit aspects of the arms market but sometimes they incorporate general elements of arms embargos, technical aspects of transfers such as common criterias for exports, as well as stockpile management, marking and tracing of weapons, management of ammunitions, destruction of surplus arms and weapons. The key humanitarian perspective has also been incorporated, particularly in the ATT, by including early warning mechanisms for the prevention of conflicts, crisis management and post-conflict recovery and rehabilitation.

According to different estimations, in 2001 there were at least 550 million firearms in the world, including arms used by the police, government forces, militias as well as privately owned weapons. But in spite of all efforts, it is estimated that today there are approximately 875 million of the small arms in the world. Most of these weapons can be potentially diverted and trafficked and can feed the illicit world.

No wonder some argue that the small weapons, as Klaus just said, since they cause more damage than nuclear weapons effectively, that we should be paying more attention to them. Well, as a staunch promoter of nuclear disarmament, I would say that we can and we should do both. It is therefore essential to start reflecting how the tools and measures at our disposal can be implemented in a way that has a real effect against the illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.

Let us take the ATT, for example. The ATT – and I would not quote from the treaty as I presume most of you are familiar with it, but its main objective is preventing and eradicating the illicit trade in combination of arms and prevent their diversion. As Mexico is not anymore in the Chair and we can take the floor again, we do not have to be neutral. So we can say what we really believe, which was something that we could not do for a whole year; it is a long period. The ATT will only be effective if adequately implemented and if universal. The question here is what does adequately implemented mean and how an adequate implementation can affect universalisation.

Mexico is of the view that the ATT is much more than just a set of guidelines to establish national export control mechanisms and a closed network of national experts who exchange information about arms trade. The ATT can only be effective by preventing illicit international trade, exposing inconstancies that may trigger investigations and, if appropriate, punishment by the relevant national authorities. If the ATT does not do that, it will not be doing its job. The only way to do it is by publically disclosing and openly discussing information about the transfer of arms around the globe. And to get there we believe that a mechanism to review implementation of the treaty would be essential. The problem is that as some argue – and not without reason – a broad interpretation of the obligations of the treaty may create disincentives for non-state parties to join the regime.

So it seems that we are pursuing two objectives for the regime to be effective that might be in tension: full and ambitious implementation on the one hand and universality on the other. We do understand the realities of the world and we acknowledge that we first need to bring all major players onboard of the treaty. We therefore need to be pragmatic and find an appropriate balance to advance progressively on the implementation by setting priorities without forgetting what our real objectives are.

Let me divert a little bit and throw a little bit of spice to the discussion. We also recognise that most of the measures that have been adopted in the field of small weapons are aimed at preventing and eradicating the trafficking or illegal trade. So I would be remiss if I do not finish without a reference to what I believe is the elephant in the room. While we are making progress with illicit trafficking, legal trade of arms continues to grow. More regulations against illicit trade have been accompanied by a worldwide expansion of the legal trade of these weapons, which in turn has increased the availability of weapons in the market. The result: a higher risk for trafficking and diversion. It is therefore essential that we also start a long-term reflection on the legal market of small arms. With the number of the small arms and light weapons legally sold every day and the continuous expansion of the market, what would be the number of firearms in, say, 20 years? What will be the risk that a small percentage of the very big number of weapons is diverted? It seems that overregulation will not be suffice to prevent and eradicate the trafficking of small weapons and even less so to reduce the risk that the simple availability of an ever-expanding amount of firearms pose to our global security and stability. Thank you.

Caroline Cliff, Chair, Council Working Group on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM), EEAS

Thank you very much indeed Jorge, you have certainly raised some thought-provoking questions. I am sure the audience will pick up on that when it is their turn. So now I would like to turn to Dr An Vranckx.

An Vranckx, Researcher, Small Arms and Arms Transfers, Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP)

Thank you. I am delighted to be here in such distinguished company. And I am sure that not many of you know me. It is because I am neither a diplomat nor a conference tiger, I am a girl that does fieldwork and I am a scholar. And in that capacity, I always say what I mean and think, not just that part of the week. So if I am about to raise some impertinent questions or questions taken to be impertinent in more diplomatic circles, please, it is just the way I am built.

Now that all the serious stuff has already been dealt with by the two previous speakers, I thought it might be useful to use my time to dip into a more philosophical reflection about the nature of the specific kind of conventional arms that are on the title and on the door; that is small arms and light weapons. We have only realised how specific they are and what is the specific nature of the proliferation threat that they entail in the course of the last 25 years. Of course the arms themselves have been around much longer.

Small calibre arms and light weapons have longer trajectory – and their munitions – but they were not that problematic as long as they were relatively well-kept by the powers that had the capacity to produce them in an industrial way. But those days are completely over since the end of the Cold War and we know that some of the industrial producers were not successful in keeping the doors locked to whatever they had stashed away for Cold War purposes, and fortunately were not used that much in those days.

So the proliferation beyond safe and secure storage facilities is relatively new, let us say 25 years. And it took the conference circuit a while to realise that the strategies that had been designed to deal with the proliferation of the other weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological) that the same strategies cannot be applied if we want to contain the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

So we have heard Ambassador Korhonen say it is easier to steal and smuggle and traffic a small arm than it is to take a battle tank. But I would underline it is also far more useful to do it because with the battle tank you need an enormous amount of gasoline and it is not very practical. And if you are in a hilly landscape you cannot use it. Whereas the beauty and also the problem with small arms and light weapons is that they are very easy to use and that they can be used by people that have hardly any training, military training. That means that they are the arms of choice for all those interested in undermining the legal monopoly on violence of the state.

So before anything else, it is a national problem, it is a problem that is created within the state borders, proliferation beyond state control, arms that are pilfered from the armouries where they should be stashed away.

There was a hint to an elephant in the room. I thought you implied the manufacturing industry but usually if we say the elephant in the room, we mean Uncle Sam, of course. And in this case, I would say, well, for once Uncle Sam is not as problematic as we usually take it to be because the US, as such, does not have a proliferation issue as much as many, many other countries, where far fewer small arms are supposed to be around. Of course, the US creates a proliferation problem in some of its neighbours, not to say Mexico, we know that.

Now I am really on a thrust, I might as well go that way. I was a bit taken aback by Ambassador Lomónaco’s comments or depicting of Latin America as the hotspot of proliferation of small arms and light weapons. And to my ears, it implied that it is a completely lawless area where arms can just proliferate and they are there massively. Well, some of you know that Latin America is a bit of my area of choice and I am very well aware that the laws regulating possession and trading and transfer of arms, and particularly of small arms, are very good to standards compared to many other countries in the global South. So lawlessness, I do not think so.

There is not, even by the boldest estimates of how many small arms and light weapons may be circulating freely, on the loose, is not that high, even by the boldest estimates. And actually Latin America was the area – or the Americas was the area that pioneered the first instrument to try and do something about it. And I am referring to the Inter-American Convention against Trafficking of Firearms, 1997. It was, of course, a sub-regional instrument but it was supposed to be binding and it was very inspiring for other parts of the world. Again it was Latin America that chaired the 2010 conference that gave us the PoA, Ambassador [inaudible] from Columbia. So I would say it is rather the pioneer, it is the avant-garde that gave very good ideas to the rest of the world.

So going from the regional to the global, it is very important to underline that the Firearms Protocol is a binding instrument. We did not have to wait for ATT to get there, to have a binding instrument to deal with the problem of small arms and light weapons and their ammunitions. We have had one that has been in force since 2005 but it is not very popular. It is for nerds such as myself and I am a lawyer by training. And as a lawyer, I know law is of no interest at all unless it has legs. And I think that is where we have to head for.

We can share and celebrate and commemorate all of the treaties that have recently been – with the good work of the both of you – passed over a table. But where are we in rolling out those instruments into the real world to take them out of the conference rooms and to bring them to the field? And then I am not referring to ratifications. In the last two years or so, I had the privilege to work for some of those funded by the UNSCAR trust facility that was to stimulate cooperation over arms regulation. We analysed the situation in many countries, basically in Africa, some of which have ratified. But there is nothing in place to sustain the activities that the countries are supposed to do; no standing orders, no definitions for the type of arms, the protocols to import and export them. In the best of cases, there is a lot of goodwill but the legal substance is often lacking. And I am really worried about that, that it is – and this might be an impertinent remark – that this process of going after as many ratifications as possible has substantially inflated the value of the ATT. If it is okay for Niger to ratify on the basis of nothing, then what are we still talking about?

So rather than be cynical about that, I tried to get a few ideas in the line. Where are we really in containing the trafficking of small arms and light weapons and their ammunitions? Do we even know? We have been designing for at least 15 years now those beautiful instruments but did they make a difference for the ATT? Probably the answer is going to be, ‘Oh, they have barely been in force for two years, we cannot tell.’ But the Firearms Protocol has been in force since 2005. That is a long time.

The PoA, by itself, is not a binding instrument but it has inspired binding instruments, such as the 2006 ECOWAS Convention. It has inspired EU to put up that programme, known as the Small Arms and Light Weapons Strategy. That is basically a bag of money to hand out in the rest of the world, beyond EU frontiers, to get the PoA implemented.

Where are we? After 11 years, it is going to be a transformation or a revision of your small arms strategy but I would like to know on the basis of what will changes be made. I am not blaming anyone for lack of effort. I think this relates to the nature of the illicit in trafficking that we see there. As illicit, clandestine is not going to be reported exhaustively as statistics. Any phenomena that is clandestine is, by definition, under-reported. So we do not know whether there is more trafficking now or less, only because we do not see it. It is hiding.

Do we know through other sources? Well, looked at this terrible homicide epidemic in Latin America. True. But is that in any way related to evidence that there has been more trafficking into Latin America in recent years? I have not seen it. Is there even a relationship between the size of the illicit storehouse, let us say, the number of small arms on the loose in Latin America, on the one hand, and the peaks and evolutions in the homicides numbers? I am doomed to say no. The size of armoury has no relationship with the homicide numbers.

It is far more interesting to see the comparison, in the best of estimates, how many arms produce how many homicides, you get completely different statistics. Germany, for one, has an enormous stockpile of privately-held small arms but very low homicide numbers. Finland is notoriously in the same category, although there is mostly hunting rifles. Switzerland is notorious as well and there is not hunting rifles but it is automatic rifles. So whether or not guns are being used, and to what extent, is really a fundamentally different issue than just the numbers and whether or not they are on the loose.

So this leads me to conclude ­– because I think it is time for that – it is not going to be enough all the technical measures and the best will of the world to make conventions to implement the programme of action to set, to create, to define the ISACs, that is the International Standards on Small Arms Control, and even to improve PSSM, Physical Security and Stockpile Management, all over the world, it is not going to be enough.

One of the problems that is going to prevent it from being enough is called non-state actors. The fact that small arms are so handy and so easy to use for people without proper military training, without the proper structure around them, containing them, preventing them from misusing small arms, is the fact that they are so easily used by non-state combatants. And they grow into armies for private, criminal purposes or terrorist purposes or boldly political purposes. And the nature of the non-state actor problem has been talked about in the previous session that took place here in the same room. It is not something that is going to go away. And our treaties, I am sorry to say, do not address it. There is no reference to non-state actorship in relationship with small arms and light weapons and their trafficking. So I will keep it at that.

Caroline Cliff, Chair, Council Working Group on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM), EEAS

Well, thank you very much An, thank you for your very frank comments, for taking us back in history to 1997, and also for reminding us about the difficulties of measuring progress in terms of effort to combat illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons.

So dear audience, you have heard our three panellists. I am sure this has given rise to a number of questions, I see three hands up.

Jarmo Sareva, Director, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)

Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco, you mentioned the ‘D’ word, diversion. And one tool in combatting diversion is end-use or end-user certificates. So I am asking panel what potential do you see in harmonising end-use and end-user certificates? And specifically, do you think there would scope for an international standardised certificate? Secondly, an international framework for the purpose of exchanging information which would then assist in helping authenticate and verify end-user certificates? And thirdly, would there be scope for a global database which would include entities which do not comply with their end-user and end-use assurances? Now I understand these are fairly technical questions but I am asking this because my institute UNODA is currently engaged – one of the projects that we are engaged in the conventional field has to do exactly with harmonisation of end‑use and end‑user certificates. Thank you.

Professor Dr Yiorghos Leventis, Executive Director, International Security Forum (ISF)

It has been mentioned that non-state actors are expected to join the ATT regime. Which are those non-state actors that you refer to?

An Vranckx, Researcher, Small Arms and Arms Transfers, Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP)

No, no, not at all.

Professor Natalino Ronzitti, Scientific Advisor, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI)

The first comment is about universality. There are three permanent members of the Security Council. One has signed it, the other two, neither signed it or ratified, of course, the treaty. And this I guess should be mentioned.

The second problem is about the transfer, was to answer the question of non-state actors. I guess it is very important. Transfer to non-state actors is forbidden or not, transfer to rebels or liberation movements? Decolonisation is not yet finished so is it legally possible to transfer arms to liberation movements or this is forbidden by the treaty? What about the rebels? There are a number of countries, also western countries, transferring arms to rebels because they have been named as legitimate representative of the people of the country. So this is forbidden by the treaty or not? What is your view? Thanks.

Lina Grip, Researcher, SIPRI

You mentioned the sustainable development goals and the aims of states parties to reduce illicit trafficking of small arms. How will this be measured, given An’s comment that we have no idea what the scale of this is or how we should measure illicit trafficking since it is unrecorded? Also if there is any best practices from states parties to the ATT on how to assess the gender-based violence requirements of ATT, that states should assess whether there is a risk that the weapon will be used in gender-based violence? I have not seen any sort of template of how states go about to assess that, so I wonder if you know any states parties who have thought about this and maybe developed ideas about it. Thanks.

Caroline Cliff, Chair, Council Working Group on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM), EEAS

So I think we will take that round and then if there is a further round. So An, did you want to talk first on the end-use?

An Vranckx, Researcher, Small Arms and Arms Transfers, Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP)

I could take the two last state actors and the end-use, in fact, all in one go. About the end-use, I happen to just publish a booklet about it. I invite you to take any of the stack that is left. The title is Containing Diversion, Arms End-Use and Post-delivery Controls. And I read all of the preparatory work that UNODA has been doing exactly to determine, would it make sense to have a universal standard for end-use.

Unfortunately, I work a lot in the field in many different countries and I talk with people that really make and use that kind of stuff, that fill in the forms, the people at customs office that never heard about the ATT but that they are doing a great job. To my mind, after serious deliberation, thinking about it, fed with real world experience, I am sorry to say that to universalise the form and to make a blacklist of bad end-users is, to my mind, not going to solve the problem. It may be a decoy, it may employ more resources from UNSCAR, because that was what funded your project to conference endeavours and the drafting of such a form. But in the real world, in the field I am afraid it is not going to make much of a difference, which brings me to non-state actors.

I did not claim at all but perhaps you referred to someone else, that non-state actors would be parties to the ATT. In fact that is just the problem. The fact whether or not non-state actors would be eligible to legal transfers is a very interesting question. And if I may reply. The EU has a joint action – it was put on paper at least in 1998, it is called the Joint Action – to only transfer small arms and light weapons and ammunitions to states. Implied is that you should not deliver it, you should not allow for legal transfers to non-state actors. It has been on paper since 1980.

Nevertheless we know that in the Libyan catastrophe, the French military was airdropping quite significant amounts of small arms and probably also light weapons to Berber tribal fighters in Libya, with the argument that it was a humanitarian need and therefore not covered by the UN and EU embargo. But they were still violating the EU Joint Action understanding that it should not be done.

So one thing, this is the lawyer speaking, one thing is the law, what is on paper, the other is the legs underneath it. Let us say in Europe there is usually not a lot of trouble with the legs but then there is some activities that are even by a very serious state committed, their military not acknowledged at first by the French presidency. But then later, yes, it was acknowledged.

Italy did the same. The UK is doing it as we speak, not for the Libyan situation but in Syria context. Very implicitly saying, ‘Well, we will try to keep it non-lethal but there are going to be deliveries, nevertheless.’ And then I think you were referring to the Peshmerga that were supplied serious material through Germany.

And so there is not one clean answer. There is an answer in the ATT universe and the European documents on the one hand, and then there is what is really happening.

Jorge Lomónaco Tonda, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva

In Geneva there is an initiative called Geneva Gender Champions – it has nothing to do with this – but one of the requirements or the pledges that we have made is we will not participate in a panel where there is not gender equality. But I have added one requirement. I will not participate in a panel where there is not at least one dissenting view in the pack because otherwise it is really boring. These panel fits both accounts, gender balance and different perspectives, which I welcome.

And let me try to answer some of the questions in one go. Let us go back into what was the genesis of how the ATT should work. The idea was – it is a very simple one. It can be effective if we both implement it and it becomes universal, which is that every state party should report its transfers, exports and imports. If everybody is part of this reporting and report their transfers in and out, you can identify discrepancies. These discrepancies may lead to discovering illicit trade. So that is the rational. So it is between states – that is to answer our Italian friend – it is between states. And if there is an illicit transfer to non-state actors – and I am not judging whether it is legitimate or not to transfer – then you will notice because there will be a discrepancy between transfers.

Now for this to work, you need both that everybody is in and everybody is reporting. These discrepancies may or may not be illicit trade. It could be errors, it could be underestimation of imports or exports. But that is the rational. So that would mean that, in essence, I would argue that a global database would be desirable. Whether it is feasible, that is a different story. And it is a different story because, to be honest here, we have not even resolved the issue of reporting in ATT. We are still discussing how to report. And there are different views in terms of whether we, for instance, how far should we report, how much should we report and whether this reporting should be made public or not. The reason why we, Mexico, support strongly is because we need civil society to play a role in pushing everybody too and denouncing if, for whatever reason, one state party is under reporting for whatever reasons there are, human rights violations, diversions to non-state actors, etc. etc. So we strongly believe that it should be public but we are still discussing.

And I will bring some of the arguments that An put on the table on this question of what is on the paper and what is the reality on the ground. But before I do that, the SDG[?] were supposed to, at the UN level, develop indicators for every single SDG. And that should include objective 16 as well. And the idea is that we as international can measure progress through these indicators. Indicators are being developed as we speak. And with the participation of some of the national statistics institutions, we will see how it goes. Hopefully they will go well. But that should be the measure to progress.

Now going back to An’s different points and provocations on this issue, there is indeed a difference between what we write on papers and what we do on the ground. There is a tension. I mentioned the tension between ratification and implementation. It could be the chicken or the egg. You can argue that you need to 1) ratification first because implementation should follow ratification, you could argue the other way round. I think both arguments are valid ones.

In some cases, if a country that is not prepared to ratify an instrument, it can become an incentive to be prepared to implement the obligations they accepted. In other cases, Finland is one good case, for instance, with the disability that they did not ratify until they were ready to fulfil the obligation. That was a very Finnish approach, which I admire. But that is not necessarily to be expected around the world. So I think we should remain flexible and welcome anyone who is willing to ratify and maybe work with those countries to make sure that they implement. But again, there are these tensions between ratification and implementation.

Now I was not trying to make a direct link between traffic of arms and violence. There are too many factors that can explain and should explain violence but there are some indications. For instance, there are studies that make a real link between the decision not to extend the prohibition on assault weapons in the US in 2005 and the peak of violence in Latin America, including Mexico. So there are some links. Illegal trafficking is not the only one and that is why – and there are other factors, rule of law, etc. but I also wanted to put – and this is the elephant that I was referring to is not US election or the US or Uncle Sam. The elephant in the room is the legal trade because one element that I think we need to reflect upon is whether the legal trade is also part of the problem that we see in Latin America and elsewhere. It is not only the illegal, illicit trade but also the legal trade because arms are going around through legal channels and not necessarily helping the situation of many regions in the world.

Klaus Korhonen, President of the Conference of States Parties, Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

Yes, quite a few issues. This has been fascinating and also I think the questions and comments from the floor have really taken this discussion forward. I do not know if this is a sufficient answer but at least it explains why it is difficult for me to answer to some of these questions. I come back to where I started but the ATT as an international regime is very much in the beginning. The questions that my friend, Jarmo Sareva, presented, they are very technical but, of course, they are absolutely crucial for reaching our objectives. And I think it is actually a measure of the maturity of the small arms regime that we are at the depth of discussing what are really the instruments to address the question. In the ATT, we are not at all there.

In the Conference of States Parties, in August, we established three working groups. One of them was working group on implementation, the second was on transparency and reporting, and third on universal. This we just established. Six weeks ago I appointed co-chairs to these working groups. Two days ago, for the first time, we discussed very initial ideas that these working group chairs have for this. So we are not very far. We are setting up these regimes. The substance is in the text of the treaty. Of course, I hope that in the coming years also in the ATT we reach level of detail and depth and analytical level.

But I go through some of the points that have been made, starting from the end. It is always enjoyable to discuss with you, Jorge. I discovered at least two differences between the incumbent president and the previous president. The previous president clearly can be more provocative than the incoming president but also the previous president can afford to not have a tie in the panel.

The elephant in the room is the legal trade. Actually I have to turn the question to you. What is your solution if arms trade is legal? So when it takes place, there is no – at least legal – way to prevent that happening. I think most people instinctively, they are uncomfortable with the fact that simultaneously as we develop these regimes, so also the volumes and the value of the international arms trade is increasing. There does not have to be any formal connection but I think instinctively we are all uncomfortable about that. So would the solution be to further restrict the criteria standards for arms trade? Or should we prohibit arms trade entirely? These are just questions.

Publicity of these processes, this is very much of course up to the states parties who make the decisions on the procedures that we follow. We have said, as the Finnish presidency, several times that, of course, as a Nordic country, so we are very much committed to transparency. But it is very clear that for some very important players, full transparency as a principle, in all discussions and decision-making, I think it might be very difficult to engage in substantive discussion. I think here I would like to take a very pragmatic view and learn by doing. But I think we are not at the stage where we can decide that in principle everything that we do in the ATT would be 100% transparent. I think this is a discussion that we are going to have basically next year in the preparations of CSP and then it is up to the states parties to decide what they really want. It should have another panel on the pros and cons of transparency.

Just to put a very long story short with the questions that I have had to those who demand the opportunity to have meetings just between states parties, my question is how much more information are you going to deliver when you have 130 other governments in the room? I am not sure that the quality of information would be that much higher. But that is just a question.

Reporting, that is a very complicated issue. With your permission, I would skip that.

Gender-based violence, again, the Finnish presidency is only two months old. We are infants in that sense. But if you know what are priorities of Finland in other fora in global governance, you understand, of course, this question is a theme that we think is important. The question is how to address this question at this phase that we are now in the ATT. Even if it is a priority for many, I am not sure that we can reach a meaningful outcome in the next Conference of States Parties, whether it should be formally on the agenda. But there are other ways to address this question in the ATT community. I would remind you that it is in the treaty, it is Article 7, the fourth para, there is a specific reference to gender-based violence as a criteria for arms exporting. So it is legal, we have a legal commitment to address this question, when and how can we do this. But I am glad you raised the question.

Three, the permanent members of the Security Council, let me put it this way. Personally I think that the permanent members of the Security Council have a special responsibility in promoting peace and security in the world. Of course we all have but I think they have a special responsibility and I think those countries concerned, they need to have very good reasons to stay out from those regimes that promote international peace and security. Maybe that is where I confine my remarks.

I would like to take one more. There have been many comments on non-state actors. The real discussion, the ATT community has not even started on this. But indirectly, already in the treaty text, we address this question when we speak about diversity because I think that for many non-state actors, it is easier to get hold of different types of arms within a country, where perhaps we have all legal exported, than to try to arrange cross-border shipment of these weapons. I believe that is a little bit more complicated.

I am sorry, I think it is not very interesting if I try to address all the questions but these are some answers. And the reference that was made to the very key role of Latin America actors in getting all this started is of course very pertinent. We could continue the list referring to many important politicians and diplomats. Thank you.

Caroline Cliff, Chair, Council Working Group on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM), EEAS

Okay thank you to our panellists. I see actually quite a few requests on the floor. Maybe we could keep the questions quite short.

Dr Sibylle Bauer, Director of Studies, Armament and Disarmament, SIPRI

It is actually quite a rare opportunity to be able to put a question to both the incoming conference president and a past conference president. Two questions and a comment, if I may. Ambassador Korhonen, you said we need to realistic but it is also good to be optimistic. So in an optimistic scenario, where do you think we could be by next summer in terms of universalisation, implementation and reporting? And what are the main stumbling blocks to getting there? And I would like to also put the same question actually to Ambassador Lomónaco.

The second question relates to indicators because that was a question that was mentioned with regard to the sustainable development goals. It is often stated the ATT is a recent treaty so we do not know what impact it has. But what kind of indicators could we actually use that it has an impact?

And the third one is a comment because we now have a Finnish president of the Conference of States Parties and we talked about transparency because I would like to end myself on an optimistic note. When the EU code of conduct was adopted in 1998 and it was time for the first report in 1999, that was under the Finnish presidency. And at that time it was extremely controversial to publish a one-page report. And somehow the Finnish presidency managed. Today we have a report of hundreds of pages so I think we have high expectations on you. Thank you.

Marc Finaud, Senior Advisor, Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP)

We know now, thanks to work done in particular by GRIP and other think-tanks, that the illicit trafficking or arms illicitly trafficked for 80% come from licit transactions. So that means that there is a high rate of diversion. And we try to look for solutions how to reduce this rate and when we talk to, for instance, the people we train in implementing the treaty, the officials, most of the time the problem is resources. Legislation of course is the first step, regulation, but then resources, how to equip our border controls, our customs, how to have proper extra-territorial jurisdiction to catch activities by brokers that are global, etc. So what will be your recommendation on this matter?

Tomas Vainest, Journalist, De Correspondent

I have a question for An Vranckx. I heard you say a lot of times it is not working in reality. In the real world, it does not work. It is not a solution. Do you have any solution? Do you have ideas to improve it?

Nils Duquet, Researcher, Flemish Peace Institute

I have one comment and two questions but I am afraid the two previous people basically had my same questions. But first a comment. I heard say that there is no proven link between guns availability in a country and the conflicts and homicides and so on. I think that is not correct. I think 20 years ago when we saw the first initiatives to actually develop some kind of policy towards small arms and light weapons, this was actually based on academic research and research made by NGOs actually showing that there is, for example in conflict situations, a link between firearm transfers to these countries and actually the exacerbation of conflict. Also in the non-conflict zones, we actually do see a link very clearly, from international studies, between availability of guns and homicides in countries. It is not because there are a couple of exceptions that there is no correlation. So I think that is also very important to keep in mind.

Of course guns and availability of guns in a country do not explain everything. It does not explain all homicide figures but it is one factor that we have to keep in mind. And it is often a catalyser of other factors that play a role. When you look at Latin America, we are talking about criminal violence, serious inequality and so on. Adding guns to the cocktail does not really help. That is my first comment.

The second thing, when we talk about legislation, I think legislation is one of those things that can actually make a difference. This is what we see when we look at the link between gun availability in Europe and homicides, for example. We have more and more evidence suggesting that a good legislation can actually play a role and it could actually reduce gun deaths.

And that is where my question comes in. I am not going to focus on domestic gun policy but maybe on the international gun legislation, ATT for example. I think with regard to the ATT, we have several main challenges but two of them I think are very important. The first one is universality. If a number of the biggest producers of firearms and transfers are not included in ATT, we have a problem, as was mentioned before. So my question is: what would be the strategy to actually include them into the ATT? Or is it mission impossible and should we not even pay attention to that?

Second big challenge is implementation. Having good legislation, having good rules is important but how are you actually going to implement them? And if we look at the situation in Europe, it is even very difficult for countries in Europe implement good legislation. So how are you going to actually reinforce countries in the South with much less means in implementing good legislation, such as the ATT?

Onur Güven, Researcher, Asser Institute

I will be very brief. As a follow-up on the question concerning end-users and end-use standardisation, what do we have, either in the ATT context or outside it in relation to other instruments, what do we have concerning the standardisation of brokers and brokership? Are there issues there?

Jessica Hand, Head, Arms Export Policy Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK

I have been very much involved with the ATT from the time that it came into effect and through the two Conference of States Parties that we have had already. And I pay tribute to the two gentlemen sitting up on the panel who have put immense amount of influence and energy into the process. A couple of quick comments and a thought for Ambassador Korhonen as we go forward.

First of all, it is very important at this stage that the ATT is not a forum for overt criticism and black‑marking of countries. We need to create an incentive for countries to do better. So we need the transparency process, yes, we need to highlight the inconsistencies but we need to give people a chance to improve as well. Otherwise if you are put in the naughty corner, how do you ever get out of it? How do you ever improve your processes so that your processes contribute to a more secure world? So that is one question.

The comment from Ambassador Korhonen is when we are talking about implementation, I think we need to make countries aware that implementation is more than just Ministries of Foreign Affairs who have been involved in creating the treaty and possibly Ministries of Defence who have the greatest interest in armaments and where the armaments go, possibly Ministries of Economics and Finance because they are trying to sell these things, but also you need Ministries of Interior because unless the police forces are reporting on the seizures of weapons that they make in the course of other investigations – for example, into organised crime, into murders and homicides – you are not going to get the full picture of the weapons flows within a country or between countries.

And I think in Europe, Europol has already done some very good work that they have shared, to a certain extent – in so far as they can with member states – how they have traced flows of the weapons, particularly the weapons involved in the Marseilles attack. And that came through police information. So I think we need to help countries as they move towards implementing the treaty, to think that this has got to be holistic. It is not just about foreign and defence and security, it is about domestic and internal as well.

Caroline Cliff, Chair, Council Working Group on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM), EEAS

There were a mixture of questions and comments. I think I’ll turn to Klaus first.

Klaus Korhonen, President of the Conference of States Parties, Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

Regarding the question of the numbers working on ATT, how many states parties we can have by the next conference, so I think it would be wiser not to put any target number. But seriously, I think as important for us now, of course we are all engaged in a number of discussions with countries who are not states parties, of course it is important to try to convince them to join. But I must say that also it has been extremely useful to get more information on what are the reasons why countries so far have not joined because it gives us a lot of understanding on actually how people see the ATT and how we should run this regime.

Regarding the SDG integration and measurements, this, of course, also in the ATT context, extremely important questions for us. Maybe the main value is this connection that is very clearly set between peace and security and the role that regulating arms trade also can have in achieving development.

However, they are measured. So I think here the ATT is a very modern international regime, an instrument that we have there, a financial facility to support countries to achieve those goals. And I am referring to the Voluntary Trust Fund and there are also other sources.

Finland’s experience as the presidency of the EU and transparency at the time when Finland had had the other presidency, so there were a little bit less states with who we had to discuss this issues. Now we have 90[?] state parties and 130 signatories. So it is a little bit more of a diverse group. I cannot go deeper into that.

Regarding the over-criticism and I also heard the term ‘finger-pointing,’ of course it was interesting for me to see that even when we had some very high profile, country-specific cases, when it came to arms exports, so state parties across the board were not very keen to have those cases on the agenda of the conference. I think they were just not ready to do that. But there are also other ways. We had some very good side events where I would say all stakeholders were present and we could discuss these issues because they are issues. We are all accountable on how we implement the ATT in our export licensing.

Jessica, I could not agree more with you on your suggestion that we should take the ATT management out of the Foreign Ministries and also reach out to other authorities. I see some friends here with whom we have been working in the nuclear field, nuclear security, and addressing the risk of nuclear terrorism. I think there the main point of our joint efforts were to bring in intelligent law enforcement, other authorities. So I think this is absolutely crucial. And we have. We already have a lot of custom authorities onboard, discussing these issues seriously.

I would end actually also coming back to civil powers, characterisation of the Finnish presidency. As you know, the incoming president or the president designate, you do not find such terms from treaty or from the rules of procedure. I mean, the next presidency is elected in the end of the session and then immediately that country has the presidency. And I think there is a point to that. We have already been discussing events like this about the importance of intersessional work. We are engaged in that already right now. In the diplomatic community, we have this way working that we prepare for conferences, we are making decisions and then we start preparing for the decisions of the next conference. But the ATT is a case in point that even more important is the work that we do every day to promote those of the ATT, the purpose which is all behind between the ATT – this also applies to the universalisation. We cannot, in the Conferences of States Parties, decide on behalf of anybody that countries should join the ATT. That discussion should be held elsewhere. Thank you.

An Vranckx, Researcher, Small Arms and Arms Transfers, Group for Research and Information on Peace and Security (GRIP)

Thank you for getting another chance to explain but I clearly did not manage to get across. I was not thinking in the binary logic of yes or no and it works or it does not work. My message was agnosticism. In fact we do not know because we have trouble with indicators and agreeing on what indicators might really serve for measuring this. Are we better in counter-proliferation? Are we containing the traffic better? And sorry, Nils, but that was completely not what I tried to say.

I questioned whether a spike in homicide figures, such as the one that Ambassador Jorge referred to, was, in the very specific context of Latin America, an indication that that region had been more prone to trafficking than before. And we have scientific evidence that it is not the case. And then I am not referring to any of the – well, if we blur it all out in global statistics, it is going to have a different figure. It is also in fact a reply to the Geneva gentlemen comment. 80% is when you measure on a global scale but if you look at Africa, it is probably 95%. If you look at Latin America, is much, much less. So to my ears – I am really a field nerd looking at very empirical data – that does not make much sense to look for real solutions.

And this brings me to your comment about, so, do you have answers? And it is in fact also another reply to the [inaudible] question. My message is do not change a winning team. If something works, if even if it does not refer to the ATT, then why slap it with another form, a template, scare them with another reporting duty, another database, another scare? Because they may, if the database, the blacklist database is going to exist, they may no longer be eligible to supply for the legitimate defence needs.

Working on the field, I meet such great people doing their job in a context that works for them. I was in North Africa until this morning. I had the pleasure of talking with states that are not part of the ATT regime. And two of them, in fact Algeria and Egypt, explained the legal dispositive, their whole structure, and showed how they are making control list and how they are containing it. It is very impressive. So I asked, ‘Are you ready to ratify the ATT, are you not?’ They said, ‘No, never. Because there is some reference to human rights in it and we are never going to do that.’ So to me it is more important what is happening on the ground and they are controlling very well because it is in their own interests and they understood that very well.

So my message again was: do not scare them. If a customs officer has never heard of the ATT, encourage him to keep on doing his good job. And so this is in fact to the lady, Jessica, from the FCO, encourage, encourage, encourage. And do not scare them. And the approach of one size fits all that is implied in the ATT and certainly in the unit there, one standard form and one way of doing it, does not sit well with the realities that I find on the ground. People that know me, know I am very optimistic. My glass is not even half full, it is always overflowing. I see opportunities everywhere and I see opportunities on the ground. Mauritania is doing a great job controlling their stockpile. Of course it is a dictatorship but it works in terms of non-proliferation. So I see the beauty of that. That is my message.

Jorge Lomónaco Tonda, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva

I know that I am between you and the drinks downstairs so I will try to be brief. I am glad that Klaus answered the questions regarding his expectations – the expectations, our expectations for implementations and universality. So I will address a few of the other issues.

On the question that Klaus put, do I have solutions for the legal trade? I am just simply pointing out that we need to start a reflection on that. Maybe a combination of national measures and international measures could do the work. But to illustrate the point, if you have 80,000 deaths in Latin America, a combination of illicit trade and maybe legal trade, you have 33,000 in the US, you could argue all related to legal trade because it is legal to possess a weapon in the US. So there is an issue there. If a country like the US, with law-abiding legal trade has such a high rate of deaths, maybe there is something to look into the legal trade. How? I am just saying we need to start the discussion.

The P5, just to be fair, it is UK and France who are state parties to the ATT. Klaus sort of advanced a notion maybe it has to do with security that the other three are not part of. But then again, if you look at trends, other areas of multilateral work, you see very often the UK and France committing to regimes and the other three not. Take ICC for instance, where we work together as well; same pattern. So maybe it goes beyond security and has to do with something else, with commitment to multilateralism maybe. And here I pay tribute to Jessica in the UK, but also to France, because they are also parties to other regimes, say landmines or cluster munitions, same pattern. So maybe there is something going there has less to do with security, more to do with commitment to multilateralism.

My final point, and I hope that we all leave this room in a glass overflowing with optimism, some of the discussion reminds me of the question as to, is the UN doing its job? It is a more general question. Are we doing enough? Is the UN doing well enough? And it is a question that you find out there, that I am asked often when I am outside of this little circle. And my answer is, yes, the UN could be more effective, could be more efficient. We could devote less time to discussing and talking endlessly and doing some more on the ground. But all in all, I would argue that we are much better off with the UN than without the UN. And I would apply the same argument to ATT. The question is are we better off with ATT or without it? I would most definitely say that we are much better off with the ATT, with all its flaws, with all the problems and with all the challenges that lie ahead, than without it.

Klaus Korhonen, President of the Conference of States Parties, Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

Just to clarify. Of course I am happy that we end up in perfect harmony with Jorge because I could not agree more with your last statement. But first of all, did you say that there is somehow inbuilt in the ATT the idea that one size fits all? Did I understand you correctly or is that what you said? Because here I beg to gently disagree. We have certain legal standards. This is the nature of the ATT as a legal instrument but I think the whole point is that there are very many ways to reach those standards. So really I do not think that it is a prevailing thinking that one size fits all in this regime.

And then regarding two points that Jorge made, just so that through his comments there is not wrong impression left of what I said. I was answering a question on the role of the Permanent Members of the Security Council, I was not speculating at all on the reasons why not all of them are states parties. I was just saying that I think that all of them, the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, they have a special responsibility. We all have had a responsibility but they have a special responsibility to promote international peace and security. And I think personally that they should have very good reasons if they want to stay out. And it is up to them to explain what those reasons are.

You referred, Jorge, also to the national gun regulation in some countries. There have been several references also to my own Finland. I think it is very important that in the ATT we do not make a connection between the standards that we have that apply to international cross-border transfers from arms and then on how every country decides to organise its own gun regulation. These are both important issues but I would not like to make that connection because I think that would raise new obstacles for some countries to join the ATT, which I definitely do not wish. Thank you. 

Caroline Cliff, Chair, Council Working Group on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM), EEAS

Thank you very much. I would like to thank the panellists for giving us so much valuable food‑for‑thought to go away with. I am also very pleased that we were able to reflect both gender balance and also different views on this panel. But as we are in the Harmony Room, I think a round of applause harmoniously to thank the panellists and the audience. 

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Brussels, 3-4 November 2016

EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference 2016