Thursday, 13 October 2016

New publication \ After the First Annual Reports to the Arms Trade Treaty

The authors of BICC Policy Brief 4 \ 2016, Marius Bales and Max M. Mutschler, see as a central task to establish a reporting system that increases the transparency of the international arms trade and that provides the basis for the much-needed debate about the application of the (Arms Trade Treaty) ATT criteria to legitimate arms transfers.

In BICC Policy Brief 4 \ 2016 “After the First Annual Reports to the Arms Trade Treaty: How to Overcome Gaps and Reporting Deficits?” the authors in particular recommend:

\ Transparency as a precondition for an effective ATT

The ATT as such does not automatically end irresponsible arms exports. Governments and civil society organizations must challenge arms transfer practices that they consider in violation of the ATT. Transparent reporting on arms transfers is the basis for this, but the first round of annual reports shows that much work needs to be done to make the ATT reporting system work effectively.

\ Standardized templates

The central parameters of the reporting template—actual/authorized transfers, number/value of transfers, reporting period, central definitions of weapon categories—must be standardized so that the information contained in the reports can be compared. The use of these templates must be mandatory.

\ Make public reporting mandatory

Public reporting—also on the transfer of small arms and light weapons—should also be mandatory. If governments want to withhold information on particular transfers, they should at least be explicit about this and provide an explanation.

\ Provide assistance and incentives to fulfil reporting requirements

States that are willing to fulfill their reporting requirements but lack the capacities to do so should be offered international assistance. Likewise, meeting the reporting commitments should play a role when assessing potential cooperation partners on the international arms market.

\ Provide voluntary information to continuously raise reporting standards

Several states provide voluntary information beyond the minimum standards. To contribute to the much-needed improvement of the reporting system and to strengthen the norms and rules of the ATT, more States Parties—particularly EU Member States—should offer additional information in their next annual reports.

Press release (in German)