About Our Work
The historic Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) – adopted by overwhelming vote at the UN General Assembly in April 2013 – is the first global treaty to regulate the conventional arms trade. This momentous achievement came after more than a decade of sustained advocacy and campaigning by the Control Arms Coalition, the international alliance of non-governmental organisations working for strong international arms controls.
With over 300 civil society partner organisations in all regions of the world, Control Arms successfully campaigned for the creation and adoption of the ATT. The campaign included coordinated advocacy, research and policy analysis, international popular mobilisation, clear digital and media communications, the involvement of a wide range of stakeholder organisations, and a partnership approach with supportive governments.
The individuals and organisations that have consistently called for a bulletproof ATT come from diverse sectors of society, demonstrating the broad-based support that existed for stronger regulations on arms trade. These sectors include policy experts, lawyers, religious leaders and communities, women’s networks, healthcare professionals, parliamentarians, researchers and activists, among others.
This combination of grassroots activities and direct advocacy with decision-makers has been integral to the achievement of a strong treaty with clear humanitarian goals that has the potential to make a difference to the lives of millions of women, men and children.
The Control Arms Secretariat, established in 2011, is the coordination body for Control Arms Coalition, supporting its members, representing them to governments at the UN and providing leadership in the furtherance of the campaign. This role has been vital to harnessing the collective skills, expertise and energy of coalition partners to achieve the adoption of the ATT and to maintain the momentum of the Treaty process. The goals of the Control Arms Coalition now are to ensure that more States join the ATT to advance universalisation and that governments robustly implement the Treaty, thereby establishing high international norms for future arms transfer decision-making.
Ensuring the efficacy of the ATT will require high-quality implementation efforts by States Parties as well as the development of new legislation, regulations, procedures, technological infrastructure and/or capacities in some States. Many States, particularly those that are low-income and have low-capacity, require assistance before they can fully implement the ATT.
“Less than two years after its adoption by the General Assembly, we have crossed the threshold of 50 ratifications needed to trigger the Treaty’s entry-into-force…I salute the many civil society organizations that have helped make this speedy progress possible.”
– Un Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 25 September 2014