Statement of the Netherlands at the 4CSP to the ATT

Statement of the Netherlands

delivered by

H.E. Robbert Jan Gabriëlse, Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament, Ambassador-at-large for Disarmament


Fourth Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty

General Debate

Tokyo, 20 August 2018

Thank you Mr. President.

Let me start by thanking you, Mr. President, for all your efforts in  preparation of this Conference, and in particular your efforts on universalisation, especially in the Asian region where still much work needs  to be done. We are therefore delighted that the meeting is held in Tokyo this week. 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.

The Netherlands aligns itself with the statement delivered by the EU and would like to make some remarks in our national capacity.

For the upcoming years the challenges remain the same: the enlargement of the ATT community and the strengthening of the Treaty’s implementation. I am therefore pleased to see that the number of States Parties has grown from 92 to 97 and that implementation has been further strengthened by, amongst others, a fully functional Voluntary Trust Fund. The Netherlands thanks Germany for its continued efforts in this regards and we will keep contributing to the fund for the upcoming 3 years with 300 thousand euro’s  in total. We believe that this multi-year commitment benefits the stability of the Fund and invite others, in a position to do so, to also consider multi-year funding.

This year, significant progress has been made in all Working Groups. We would like to express our gratitude to all co-chairs and those who actively contributed to this progress.

To maintain, or preferably further deepen our discussions it is of utmost importance that export control experts from all regions participate in the Working Group meetings. For this reason the Netherlands is planning to contribute to the Sponsorship Programme, to enable experts from capitals to attend the Working Group meetings, once the ATT secretariat has taken over the programma’s administration. We also aim for a multi-year contribution.

Mr. President,

Greater transparency of arms exports and imports is an important aspect of the Treaty. 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 or were, as we ourselves, late. We urge those who have not yet submitted their reports to the Treaty’s Secretariat, to do so, 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. This endangers the proper functioning of the Treaty with a possibility that meetings have to be canceled. The Netherlands urges all to honour their financial commitments in full and on time. We also see an important task for the Management Committee to deal with aspects of the pressing financial concerns, as they have been mandated to at the last CSP.

As the workload of the Management Committee is increasing, we need to equally increase its capacity and institutional memory. A proper management of the Treaty is the backbone to all the substantive work we do. A Committee consisting of only 5 members and the President and Secretariat as is the case now, has its vulnerabilities. Therefore, the Netherlands is of the opinion that Management Committee should be  enlarged from 5 to 10, combined with a ‘staggered’ membership. This means that each year 5 new members would be appointed for a two year period. In this way we will strengthen the Management Committee, ensure more diversity in terms of expertise, and improve its continuity. We look to the informal consultations tomorrow at lunch time.

Before I conclude, let me also take this opportunity to thank the Republic of Latvia for the nomination of Ambassador Jānis Kārkliņš as President of the 5th Conference of States Parties. The Netherlands would like to support his candidacy.

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.