Statement Third Conference of States Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty, General Debate

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Robbert Jan Gabriëlse,
Geneva, 11 September 2017

Thank you Mr. President.

Let me start by thanking you, Mr. President, for your dedication to the Arms Trade Treaty and in particular its implementation and universalisation. I am confident that under your leadership our deliberations this week will lead to a successful conclusion. You can count on my delegation’s full support. We align ourselves with the EU statement. Today’s security environment is multi-faceted. We are moving away from the Westphalian world order in which States are the main actors. Instead today’s global order has many actors: metropoles, civil society, academia, multinationals, terrorist groups, other non-state actors and of course States. This has implications for our international security architecture and the way conflict manifests itself. This means that States need to work together even more closely for security. The Arms Trade Treaty does exactly that. The obligation for States Parties to establish an export control system will particularly contribute to reduce human suffering by, amongst others, reducing the illicit trade, accumulation and misuse of arms, of which foremost, small arms and light weapons, their ammunition, and parts and components. Apart from guaranteeing security, the Treaty is also of significant importance to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals’ objective to significantly reduce the illicit flows in arms. Since 3 years, the Treaty has set up its machinery and its community is still growing. For the coming years the main challenges for the ATT community remain the solid implementation by its States Parties as well as the further universalisation of the Treaty. In the Netherlands’ view two aspects play a crucial role for the solid implementation of the Treaty: the Working Groups and the Voluntary Trust Fund. Progress has been made in all Working Groups, and we therefore owe gratitude to their Chairs and those who actively contributed to the progress made. However, the Netherlands is of the opinion that more progress could be made if the level of participation by export control experts from capitals would increase. For that reason, we will also contribute to the Sponsorship programme to further enable experts to attend the Working Group meetings.

Mr. President, The Netherlands would also like to express it gratitude to the Treaty’s Secretariat and Ambassador Biontino of Germany for the early and solid functioning of the Voluntary Trust Fund. The wellfunctioning of this Trust Fund is important for the Treaty’s implementation. Therefore the Netherlands has made funds available in 2017 to support the 2018 project selection. The Netherlands urges States Parties, in a position to do so, to also contribute. Greater transparency of arms exports and imports is an important aspect of the Treaty and will contribute to achieving our shared goals. We are therefore pleased to see that many States Parties have submitted their reports publicly. However, we also note that a significant part of the States Parties have not yet fulfilled their obligations. We urge those to submit their reports to the Treaty’s Secretariat, preferably publicly. The Netherlands identifies a similar situation with respect to the status of financial contributions. Many States Parties have fulfilled their obligations, but regrettably too many have not. The Netherlands urges those States Parties to honour their financial commitments to the Treaty, so we can ensure its proper functioning. The Arms Trade Treaty has been an inclusive treaty representing a myriad of stakeholders: NGOs, industry, international organisations and States. In our view it remains important that this open atmosphere and inclusiveness remains the default, also in light with what I said earlier about the multi-faceted security environment. Implementing this Treaty is a collective effort. Before I conclude, let me also take this opportunity to reiterate our support to the Japanese candidacy for the Presidency of the Fourth Conference of States Parties.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, the Netherlands believes that for the coming years we should focus on the effective implementation and universalisation of the Arms Trade Treaty. We hope that this Conference of States Parties will be a crucial step forward in that regard.

I thank you.

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