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Negotiating an Arms Trade Treaty: A toolkit for African states
29 June 2012

The main objective of this toolkit is to serve as a reference guide for representatives of African States who will be negotiating the provisions of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York in July 2012. The concept of a toolkit emerged in 2010 fol- lowing a series of consultations with African government officials and civil society activists who expressed a keen interest in the development of such a document.

In compiling this publication, the authors have sought to provide impartial descriptions and explanations of relevant conventional arms control issues, as well as an objective analysis of the various viewpoints on the key aspects of a future ATT that are applicable to Africa. Above all, the drafting of the toolkit was motivated by the authors` aspiration that the July 2012 ATT negotiations would result in an effective and comprehensive Treaty.

The toolkit uses the ATT Preparatory Committee meeting Chair`s non-paper, which is included in the “Report of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty” (7 March 2012), as its primary frame of reference. This report is incorporated into this toolkit as Annex 1. The reason is that the non-paper was arguably an attempt by the ATT Preparatory Committee meeting Chair to distil common areas of discussion in order to form a basis for the actual ATT negotiations. However, the toolkit also makes use of a variety of sources of information such as treaties and protocols; UN publications and docu- ments; official national and intergovernmental documents; publications by academic institutions and think tanks; and advocacy material produced by international organizations and civil society groups. The Provisional Rules of Procedure (7 March 2012) of the ATT negotiation conference are included as Annex 2.

The toolkit exclusively focuses on the three core components of a future ATT, namely scope, criteria and implementation. Considerable detail is provided on each of these content areas in relatively straightfor- ward terms in order for the toolkit to be an accessible and useful resource for African State negotiators. However, in so doing some of the more intricate details and explanations may have been excluded. In addition, the authors recognise that there is considerable national diversity in the manner in which States have sought to regulate transfers of conventional arms, but owing to space constraints it was not possible to make reference to all these variations.

Each component of the toolkit includes a section on considerations for African States, which primarily makes reference to African obligations and commitments to regional and subregional small arms, light weapons and ammunition control instruments. In some sections African States are presented with information and analysis of historical and current arms control challenges and dynamics that may be useful for negotiation purposes.

As this publication essentially covers universal conventional arms control content, it may also be a useful resource for interested States from other regions as well as ATT observers and civil society lobbyists.

Authors: Guy Lamb with contributions from Gugu Dube, Marina Reyskens, Lauren Tracey and Ben Coetzee


The publication of this toolkit was made possible with funding from the United Kingdom`s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, through the British High Commission in South Africa.