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Arms Trade Treaty, 2nd April 2013 ((2013) 52 ILM 988), OXIO 253

United Nations [UN]; Arms Trade Treaty Secretariat

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 24 June 2019

Subject(s):
Weapons control

Core Issues

1. The functions of the Arms Trade Treaty Secretariat.

2. The relationship of the Arms Trade Treaty Secretariat to the United Nations.

This headnote pertains to: Arms Trade Treaty, a Treaty which is the constituent instrument of an international organization.Jump to full text

Background

The Arms Trade Treaty (‘ATT’ or ‘Treaty’) of 2 April 2013 constitutes an act relevant to the law of international organizations because it established an international secretariat within its text. Article 18 ATT established a secretariat to assist States Parties to the Treaty to ensure its effective implementation. The ATT Secretariat (‘Secretariat’) was a product of multilateral negotiation, and of a long process of engagement and negotiation with States Parties in order to establish a secretariat that would be able to function practically and smoothly. In addition, the Secretariat is a body that exists to support implementation of a treaty which, if implemented properly, will have broad and lasting effect on the arms trade globally.

The ATT was adopted by vote at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 2 April 2013 as part of UNGA Resolution 67/234. In 2010, the UNGA decided to convene a United Nations (UN) Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty with the aim of elaborating a legally binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms. A first diplomatic conference on the ATT in July 2012 failed to reach an agreement, and so a final diplomatic conference was convened for March 2013 (Getting it right: the pieces that matter for the Arms Trade Treaty, page 2). After nine working days of intensive negotiations, the final diplomatic conference ended without states reaching consensus on the text of the Treaty as required by the Conference’s rules of procedure (Adoption of a global Arms Trade Treaty: challenges ahead, page 2). The text of the Treaty was therefore put to vote in the UNGA, where it was adopted by a vote of 156–3, with 23 abstentions. The ATT entered into force six months after its fiftieth ratification, on 24 December 2014.

Summary

The establishment of the Arms Trade Treaty Secretariat

The 2013 Arms Trade Treaty established a secretariat to assist States Parties to the Treaty to ensure its effective implementation. [Art 18] Each State Party was bound to respect the functions and activities of the Secretariat.

The functions of the Arms Trade Treaty Secretariat

The functions of the Secretariat were listed in the text of the Treaty as follows:

  • •  receive, make available and distribute the reports as mandated by this Treaty;

  • •  maintain and make available to States Parties the list of national points of contact;

  • •  facilitate the matching of offers of and requests for assistance for Treaty implementation and promote international cooperation as requested;

  • •  facilitate the work of the Conference of States Parties, including making arrangements and providing the necessary services for meetings under this Treaty;

  • •  perform other duties as decided by the Conferences of States Parties. [Art 18(3)]

In addition, a number of provisions in the text of the ATT elaborated on the functions of the Secretariat:

  • •  each State Party shall provide the Secretariat with its national control list, which the Secretariat will circulate among States Parties; [Art 5(4)]

  • •  each State Party shall notify the Secretariat of designated national points of contact, and shall update the Secretariat in this regard; [Art 5(6)]

  • •  States Parties are encouraged to report to other States Parties, through the Secretariat, on measures taken in addressing diversion of transferred arms; [Art 11(6)]

  • •  each State Party shall provide the Secretariat with an initial report; [Art 13(1)]

  • •  each State Party shall provide the Secretariat with an annual report concerning authorized or actual exports and imports of arms, which the Secretariat will circulate among States Parties; [Art 13(3)]

  • •  the Secretariat shall convene the Conferences of States Parties; [Art 17(1)]

  • •  any proposed amendments on the Treaty text shall be submitted to the Secretariat in writing, which the Secretariat will circulate among States Parties. [Art 20(2)]

Analysis

The establishment of the Arms Trade Treaty Secretariat

The ATT established a secretariat to assist States Parties to the Treaty to ensure its effective implementation. [Art 18] Each State Party was bound to respect the functions and activities of the Secretariat. While the establishment of secretariats as treaty bodies is becoming more common, especially with regards to arms control treaties, many multilateral instruments have no secretariat.

The Secretariat was established as an independent body, with links to the UN. A standalone secretariat with UN administrative support has also been the model used for the support units associated with the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. As noted by commentators, the link to the UN is important because it allows the Secretariat to avoid duplication on a number of administrative and substantial issues, whilst retaining political independence and adhering to the principle of responsibility to States Parties.

An important element of the establishment of the Secretariat was the choice to host it in Geneva. It has been noted that this provides a good opportunity for a multi-stakeholder approach involving international organizations, NGOs, and think tanks in support of Treaty implementation. It also means that the Secretariat could draw on lessons learnt by existing treaty-based mechanisms located in Geneva, such as the Implementation Support Units for the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions and the 1997 Ottawa Convention Prohibiting Anti-Personnel Mines.

The Secretariat was established under Article 18 ATT. While the negotiation of the Treaty was certainly not without challenges, the establishment of a secretariat was not contentious in itself. A provisional secretariat was established following the adoption of the Treaty in December 2014 in order to cover the administrative aspects of the Treaty. At the final preparatory meeting for the first Conference of States Parties, a proposal for the format and framework of the Secretariat was made. In this proposal, it was noted that a large number of delegations had stressed the importance of maintaining a link between the Secretariat and the UN. The document proposed three different models: the option of a Secretariat attached to an institution of the UN; the option of a Secretariat outsourcing all support services to third party organizations; and the hybrid option of a Secretariat relying partly on the UN and partly on private organizations (ATT Secretariat: proposal by the facilitator, pages 2–3). Following the preparatory meeting discussions, and with a view to a decision being made at the first Conference of States Parties, the facilitator circulated a questionnaire covering the main aspects of the Secretariat (Secretariat of the Arms Trade Treaty facilitator's report, para 1). At the first Conference of States Parties, the facilitator then made the following recommendations:

  • •  to establish a Management Committee to provide guidance to the Secretariat in its set-up phase and to allow a better ownership of decisions pertaining to the Secretariat by States Parties;

  • •  to adopt a directive from States Parties to the Secretariat in order to elaborate on the concrete implications of the responsibilities given to the Secretariat by the Treaty and the expectations of States Parties in this regard;

  • •  to establish a Secretariat of three staff members in charge of implementing substantive responsibilities as set out in the Treaty;

  • •  to establish the Secretariat as an independent body within an existing structure—be it the UN or another structure—able to provide for support functions or allowing to outsource them easily (Secretariat of the Arms Trade Treaty facilitator's report, para 3).

As a result of substantial engagement with states throughout the process, the establishment of the Secretariat has garnered much support from States Parties to the Treaty.

The functions of the Arms Trade Treaty Secretariat

The Treaty specified that the Secretariat ‘shall’ undertake all the functions listed in Article 18(3) ATT, meaning that it has no discretion to refuse any of them, although commentators suggest that ‘there may be some discretion to prioritize depending on its budget and financing structure’ (The Arms Trade Treaty regime in international institutional law, page 54). Note should be made of the final duty to perform other duties as decided by the Conference of States Parties, which is really a catch-all phrase, similar to that contained in Article VIII(D)(37) of the Chemical Weapons Convention (The Arms Trade Treaty regime in international institutional law, page 61).

While the core functions of the Secretariat were listed in the text of the ATT, it was in the Directive of the States Parties to the Secretariat of the Arms Trade Treaty (‘Directive’), agreed on at the first Conference of States Parties, that these functions were elaborated on, based on a recommendation by the facilitator. [Art 18(3)] The Directive noted that the Secretariat shall, among others, provide advice to States Parties for the implementation of the voluntary trust fund and the sponsorship programme; facilitate the matching of offers of and requests for assistance for Treaty implementation and promote international cooperation; and set up a website presenting the ATT and the activities of the Secretariat.

Impact

The Secretariat was officially established following the first Conference of States Parties to the Treaty, which took place in Cancun, Mexico from 24–27 August 2015. The Conference decided to designate Geneva, Switzerland as the seat of the Secretariat, as well as to appoint Mr Simeon Dumisani Dladla from South Africa as the first head of the Secretariat. Until the commencement of his duties as head of the Secretariat, the Conference had decided to entrust the Management Committee with administrative tasks, with support from the United Nations Development Programme.

One important achievement of the Secretariat has been its support to the Voluntary Trust Fund (VTF), which was established by the second Conference of States Parties in accordance with Article 16 ATT, and which aims to assist requesting states requiring international assistance to implement their Treaty obligations (Terms of Reference for the ATT Voluntary Trust Fund, para 1). In 2017, projects in both Côte d'Ivoire and Mauritius were approved for funding by the VTF.

As the Secretariat matures since taking up office on 1 March 2016, it will be important to follow how it executes its role as depository of reports by States Parties, since these reports form the bedrock of the arms trade regulation system.

Further Analysis and Relevant Materials

Materials Cited

Reporter(s): Sarah Swart

Source text

Original Source PDF

Preamble

The States Parties to this Treaty,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recalling Article 26 of the Charter of the United Nations which seeks to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources,

Underlining the need to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and to prevent their diversion to the illicit market, or for unauthorized end use and end users, including in the commission of terrorist acts,

Recognizing the legitimate political, security, economic and commercial interests of States in the international trade in conventional arms,

Reaffirming the sovereign right of any State to regulate and control conventional arms exclusively within its territory, pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system,

Acknowledging that peace and security, development and human rights are pillars of the United Nations system and foundations for collective security and recognizing that development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing,

Recalling the United Nations Disarmament Commission Guidelines for international arms transfers in the context of General Assembly resolution 46/36H of 6 December 1991,

Noting the contribution made by the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, as well as the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons,

Recognizing the security, social, economic and humanitarian consequences of the illicit and unregulated trade in conventional arms,

Bearing in mind that civilians, particularly women and children, account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict and armed violence,

Recognizing also the challenges faced by victims of armed conflict and their need for adequate care, rehabilitation and social and economic inclusion,

Emphasizing that nothing in this Treaty prevents States from maintaining and adopting additional effective measures to further the object and purpose of this Treaty,

Mindful of the legitimate trade and lawful ownership, and use of certain conventional arms for recreational, cultural, historical, and sporting activities, where such trade, ownership and use are permitted or protected by law,

Mindful also of the role regional organizations can play in assisting States Parties, upon request, in implementing this Treaty,

Recognizing the voluntary and active role that civil society, including non-governmental organizations, and industry can play in raising awareness of the object and purpose of this Treaty, and in supporting its implementation,

Acknowledging that regulation of the international trade in conventional arms and preventing their diversion should not hamper international cooperation and legitimate trade in materiel, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes,

Emphasizing the desirability of achieving universal adherence to this Treaty,

Determined to act in accordance with the following principles;

Principles

  • The inherent right of all States to individual or collective self-defence as recognized in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations;

  • – The settlement of international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered in accordance with Article 2 (3) of the Charter of the United Nations;

  • – Refraining in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations in accordance with Article 2 (4) of the Charter of the United Nations;

  • – Non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State in accordance with Article 2 (7) of the Charter of the United Nations;

  • – Respecting and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law in accordance with, inter alia, the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and respecting and ensuring respect for human rights in accordance with, inter alia, the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

  • – The responsibility of all States, in accordance with their respective international obligations, to effectively regulate the international trade in conventional arms, and to prevent their diversion, as well as the primary responsibility of all States in establishing and implementing their respective national control systems;

  • – The respect for the legitimate interests of States to acquire conventional arms to exercise their right to self-defence and for peacekeeping operations; and to produce, export, import and transfer conventional arms;

  • – Implementing this Treaty in a consistent, objective and non-discriminatory manner,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1  Object and Purpose

The object of this Treaty is to:

  • – Establish the highest possible common international standards for regulating or improving the regulation of the international trade in conventional arms;

  • – Prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion;

for the purpose of:

  • – Contributing to international and regional peace, security and stability;

  • – Reducing human suffering;

  • – Promoting cooperation, transparency and responsible action by States Parties in the international trade in conventional arms, thereby building confidence among States Parties.

Article 2  Scope

1.  This Treaty shall apply to all conventional arms within the following categories:

  1. (a)  Battle tanks;

  2. (b)  Armoured combat vehicles;

  3. (c)  Large-calibre artillery systems;

  4. (d)  Combat aircraft;

  5. (e)  Attack helicopters;

  6. (f)  Warships;

  7. (g)  Missiles and missile launchers; and

  8. (h)  Small arms and light weapons.

2.  For the purposes of this Treaty, the activities of the international trade comprise export, import, transit, trans-shipment and brokering, hereafter referred to as "transfer".

3.  This Treaty shall not apply to the international movement of conventional arms by, or on behalf of, a State Party for its use provided that the conventional arms remain under that State Party's ownership.

Article 3  Ammunition/Munitions

Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system to regulate the export of ammunition/munitions fired, launched or delivered by the conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), and shall apply the provisions of Article 6 and Article 7 prior to authorizing the export of such ammunition/munitions.

Article 4  Parts and Components

Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system to regulate the export of parts and components where the export is in a form that provides the capability to assemble the conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) and shall apply the provisions of Article 6 and Article 7 prior to authorizing the export of such parts and components.

Article 5  General Implementation

1.  Each State Party shall implement this Treaty in a consistent, objective and non discriminatory manner, bearing in mind the principles referred to in this Treaty.

2.  Each State Party shall establish and maintain a national control system, including a national control list, in order to implement the provisions of this Treaty.

3.  Each State Party is encouraged to apply the provisions of this Treaty to the broadest range of conventional arms. National definitions of any of the categories covered under Article 2 (1) (a)-(g) shall not cover less than the descriptions used in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms at the time of entry into force of this Treaty. For the category covered under Article 2 (1) (h), national definitions shall not cover less than the descriptions used in relevant United Nations instruments at the time of entry into force of this Treaty.

4.  Each State Party, pursuant to its national laws, shall provide its national control list to the Secretariat, which shall make it available to other States Parties. States Parties are encouraged to make their control lists publicly available.

5.  Each State Party shall take measures necessary to implement the provisions of this Treaty and shall designate competent national authorities in order to have an effective and transparent national control system regulating the transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) and of items covered under Article 3 and Article 4.

6.  Each State Party shall designate one or more national points of contact to exchange information on matters related to the implementation of this Treaty. Each State Party shall notify the Secretariat, established under Article 18, of its national point(s) of contact and keep the information updated.

Article 6  Prohibitions

1.  A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, if the transfer would violate its obligations under measures adopted by the United Nations Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular arms embargoes.

2.  A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, if the transfer would violate its relevant international obligations under international agreements to which it is a Party, in particular those relating to the transfer of, or illicit trafficking in, conventional arms.

3.  A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, if it has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a Party.

Article 7  Export and Export Assessment

1.  If the export is not prohibited under Article 6, each exporting State

Party, prior to authorization of the export of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, under its jurisdiction and pursuant to its national control system, shall, in an objective and non-discriminatory manner, taking into account relevant factors, including information provided by the importing State in accordance with Article 8 (1), assess the potential that the conventional arms or items:

  1. (a)  would contribute to or undermine peace and security;

  2. (b)  could be used to:

    1. (i)  commit or facilitate a serious violation of international humanitarian law;

    2. (ii)  commit or facilitate a serious violation of international human rights law;

    3. (iii)  commit or facilitate an act constituting an offence under international conventions or protocols relating to terrorism to which the exporting State is a Party; or

    4. (iv)  commit or facilitate an act constituting an offence under international conventions or protocols relating to transnational organized crime to which the exporting State is a Party.

2.  The exporting State Party shall also consider whether there are measures that could be undertaken to mitigate risks identified in (a) or (b) in paragraph 1, such as confidence-building measures or jointly developed and agreed programmes by the exporting and importing States.

3.  If, after conducting this assessment and considering available mitigating measures, the exporting State Party determines that there is an overriding risk of any of the negative consequences in paragraph 1, the exporting State Party shall not authorize the export.

4.  The exporting State Party, in making this assessment, shall take into account the risk of the conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of the items covered under Article 3 or Article 4 being used to commit or facilitate serious acts of gender-based violence or serious acts of violence against women and children.

5.  Each exporting State Party shall take measures to ensure that all authorizations for the export of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4 are detailed and issued prior to the export.

6.  Each exporting State Party shall make available appropriate information about the authorization in question, upon request, to the importing State Party and to the transit or trans-shipment States Parties, subject to its national laws, practices or policies.

7.  If, after an authorization has been granted, an exporting State Party becomes aware of new relevant information, it is encouraged to reassess the authorization after consultations, if appropriate, with the importing State.

Article 8  Import

1.  Each importing State Party shall take measures to ensure that appropriate and relevant information is provided, upon request, pursuant to its national laws, to the exporting State Party, to assist the exporting State Party in conducting its national export assessment under Article 7. Such measures may include end use or end user documentation.

2.  Each importing State Party shall take measures that will allow it to regulate, where necessary, imports under its jurisdiction of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1). Such measures may include import systems.

3.  Each importing State Party may request information from the exporting State Party concerning any pending or actual export authorizations where the importing State Party is the country of final destination.

Article 9  Transit or trans-shipment

Each State Party shall take appropriate measures to regulate, where necessary and feasible, the transit or trans-shipment under its jurisdiction of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) through its territory in accordance with relevant international law.

Article 10  Brokering

Each State Party shall take measures, pursuant to its national laws, to regulate brokering taking place under its jurisdiction for conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1). Such measures may include requiring brokers to register or obtain written authorization before engaging in brokering.

Article 11  Diversion

1.  Each State Party involved in the transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) shall take measures to prevent their diversion.

2.  The exporting State Party shall seek to prevent the diversion of the transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) through its national control system, established in accordance with Article 5 (2), by assessing the risk of diversion of the export and considering the establishment of mitigation measures such as confidence-building measures or jointly developed and agreed programmes by the exporting and importing States. Other prevention measures may include, where appropriate: examining parties involved in the export, requiring additional documentation, certificates, assurances, not authorizing the export or other appropriate measures.

3.  Importing, transit, trans-shipment and exporting States Parties shall cooperate and exchange information, pursuant to their national laws, where appropriate and feasible, in order to mitigate the risk of diversion of the transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).

4.  If a State Party detects a diversion of transferred conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), the State Party shall take appropriate measures, pursuant to its national laws and in accordance with international law, to address such diversion. Such measures may include alerting potentially affected States Parties, examining diverted shipments of such conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), and taking follow-up measures through investigation and law enforcement.

5.  In order to better comprehend and prevent the diversion of transferred conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), States Parties are encouraged to share relevant information with one another on effective measures to address diversion. Such information may include information on illicit activities including corruption, international trafficking routes, illicit brokers, sources of illicit supply, methods of concealment, common points of dispatch, or destinations used by organized groups engaged in diversion.

6.  States Parties are encouraged to report to other States Parties, through the Secretariat, on measures taken in addressing the diversion of transferred conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).

Article 12  Record keeping

1.  Each State Party shall maintain national records, pursuant to its national laws and regulations, of its issuance of export authorizations or its actual exports of the conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).

2.  Each State Party is encouraged to maintain records of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) that are transferred to its territory as the final destination or that are authorized to transit or trans-ship territory under its jurisdiction.

3.  Each State Party is encouraged to include in those records: the quantity, value, model/type, authorized international transfers of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1), conventional arms actually transferred, details of exporting State(s), importing State(s), transit and trans-shipment State(s), and end users, as appropriate.

4.  Records shall be kept for a minimum of ten years.

Article 13  Reporting

1.  Each State Party shall, within the first year after entry into force of this Treaty for that State Party, in accordance with Article 22, provide an initial report to the Secretariat of measures undertaken in order to implement this Treaty, including national laws, national control lists and other regulations and administrative measures. Each State Party shall report to the Secretariat on any new measures undertaken in order to implement this Treaty, when appropriate. Reports shall be made available, and distributed to States Parties by the Secretariat.

2.  States Parties are encouraged to report to other States Parties, through the Secretariat, information on measures taken that have been proven effective in addressing the diversion of transferred conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).

3.  Each State Party shall submit annually to the Secretariat by 31 May a report for the preceding calendar year concerning authorized or actual exports and imports of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1). Reports shall be made available, and distributed to States Parties by the Secretariat. The report submitted to the Secretariat may contain the same information submitted by the State Party to relevant United Nations frameworks, including the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. Reports may exclude commercially sensitive or national security information.

Article 14  Enforcement

Each State Party shall take appropriate measures to enforce national laws and regulations that implement the provisions of this Treaty.

Article 15  International Cooperation

1.  States Parties shall cooperate with each other, consistent with their respective security interests and national laws, to effectively implement this Treaty.

2.  States Parties are encouraged to facilitate international cooperation, including exchanging information on matters of mutual interest regarding the implementation and application of this Treaty pursuant to their respective security interests and national laws.

3.  States Parties are encouraged to consult on matters of mutual interest and to share information, as appropriate, to support the implementation of this Treaty.

4.  States Parties are encouraged to cooperate, pursuant to their national laws, in order to assist national implementation of the provisions of this Treaty, including through sharing information regarding illicit activities and actors and in order to prevent and eradicate diversion of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1).

5.  States Parties shall, where jointly agreed and consistent with their national laws, afford one another the widest measure of assistance in investigations, prosecutions and judicial proceedings in relation to violations of national measures established pursuant to this Treaty.

6.  States Parties are encouraged to take national measures and to cooperate with each other to prevent the transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) becoming subject to corrupt practices.

7.  States Parties are encouraged to exchange experience and information on lessons learned in relation to any aspect of this Treaty.

Article 16  International Assistance

1.  In implementing this Treaty, each State Party may seek assistance including legal or legislative assistance, institutional capacity-building, and technical, material or financial assistance. Such assistance may include stockpile management, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes, model legislation, and effective practices for implementation. Each State Party in a position to do so shall provide such assistance, upon request.

2.  Each State Party may request, offer or receive assistance through, inter alia, the United Nations, international, regional, subregional or national organizations, non-governmental organizations, or on a bilateral basis.

3.  A voluntary trust fund shall be established by States Parties to assist requesting States Parties requiring international assistance to implement this Treaty. Each State Party is encouraged to contribute resources to the fund.

Article 17  Conference of States Parties

1.  A Conference of States Parties shall be convened by the provisional Secretariat, established under Article 18, no later than one year following the entry into force of this Treaty and thereafter at such other times as may be decided by the Conference of States Parties.

2.  The Conference of States Parties shall adopt by consensus its rules of procedure at its first session.

3.  The Conference of States Parties shall adopt financial rules for itself as well as governing the funding of any subsidiary bodies it may establish as well as financial provisions governing the functioning of the Secretariat. At each ordinary session, it shall adopt a budget for the financial period until the next ordinary session.

4.  The Conference of States Parties shall:

  1. (a)  Review the implementation of this Treaty, including developments in the field of conventional arms;

  2. (b)  Consider and adopt recommendations regarding the implementation and operation of this Treaty, in particular the promotion of its universality;

  3. (c)  Consider amendments to this Treaty in accordance with Article 20;

  4. (d)  Consider issues arising from the interpretation of this Treaty;

  5. (e)  Consider and decide the tasks and budget of the Secretariat;

  6. (f)  Consider the establishment of any subsidiary bodies as may be necessary to improve the functioning of this Treaty; and

  7. (g)  Perform any other function consistent with this Treaty.

5.  Extraordinary meetings of the Conference of States Parties shall be held at such other times as may be deemed necessary by the Conference of States Parties, or at the written request of any State Party provided that this request is supported by at least two-thirds of the States Parties.

Article 18  Secretariat

1.  This Treaty hereby establishes a Secretariat to assist States Parties in the effective implementation of this Treaty. Pending the first meeting of the Conference of States Parties, a provisional Secretariat will be responsible for the administrative functions covered under this Treaty.

2.  The Secretariat shall be adequately staffed. Staff shall have the necessary expertise to ensure that the Secretariat can effectively undertake the responsibilities described in paragraph 3.

3.  The Secretariat shall be responsible to States Parties. Within a minimized structure, the Secretariat shall undertake the following responsibilities:

  1. (a)  Receive, make available and distribute the reports as mandated by this Treaty;

  2. (b)  Maintain and make available to States Parties the list of national points of contact;

  3. (c)  Facilitate the matching of offers of and requests for assistance for Treaty implementation and promote international cooperation as requested;

  4. (d)  Facilitate the work of the Conference of States Parties, including making arrangements and providing the necessary services for meetings under this Treaty; and

  5. (e)  Perform other duties as decided by the Conferences of States Parties.

Article 19  Dispute Settlement

1.  States Parties shall consult and, by mutual consent, cooperate to pursue settlement of any dispute that may arise between them with regard to the interpretation or application of this Treaty including through negotiations, mediation, conciliation, judicial settlement or other peaceful means.

2.  States Parties may pursue, by mutual consent, arbitration to settle any dispute between them, regarding issues concerning the interpretation or application of this Treaty.

Article 20  Amendments

1.  Six years after the entry into force of this Treaty, any State Party may propose an amendment to this Treaty. Thereafter, proposed amendments may only be considered by the Conference of States Parties every three years.

2.  Any proposal to amend this Treaty shall be submitted in writing to the Secretariat, which shall circulate the proposal to all States Parties, not less than 180 days before the next meeting of the Conference of States Parties at which amendments may be considered pursuant to paragraph 1. The amendment shall be considered at the next Conference of States Parties at which amendments may be considered pursuant to paragraph 1 if, no later than 120 days after its circulation by the Secretariat, a majority of States Parties notify the Secretariat that they support consideration of the proposal.

3.  The States Parties shall make every effort to achieve consensus on each amendment. If all efforts at consensus have been exhausted, and no agreement reached, the amendment shall, as a last resort, be adopted by a three-quarters majority vote of the States Parties present and voting at the meeting of the Conference of States Parties. For the purposes of this Article, States Parties present and voting means States Parties present and casting an affirmative or negative vote. The Depositary shall communicate any adopted amendment to all States Parties.

4.  An amendment adopted in accordance with paragraph 3 shall enter into force for each State Party that has deposited its instrument of acceptance for that amendment, ninety days following the date of deposit with the Depositary of the instruments of acceptance by a majority of the number of States Parties at the time of the adoption of the amendment. Thereafter, it shall enter into force for any remaining State Party ninety days following the date of deposit of its instrument of acceptance for that amendment.

Article 21  Signature, Ratification, Acceptance, Approval or Accession

1.  This Treaty shall be open for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York by all States from 3 June 2013 until its entry into force.

2.  This Treaty is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by each signatory State.

3.  Following its entry into force, this Treaty shall be open for accession by any State that has not signed the Treaty.

4.  The instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be deposited with the Depositary.

Article 22  Entry into Force

1.  This Treaty shall enter into force ninety days following the date of the deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval with the Depositary.

2.  For any State that deposits its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession subsequent to the entry into force of this Treaty, this Treaty shall enter into force for that State ninety days following the date of deposit of its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Article 23  Provisional Application

Any State may at the time of signature or the deposit of its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, declare that it will apply provisionally Article 6 and Article 7 pending the entry into force of this Treaty for that State.

Article 24  Duration and Withdrawal

1.  This Treaty shall be of unlimited duration.

2.  Each State Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Treaty. It shall give notification of such withdrawal to the Depositary, which shall notify all other States Parties. The notification of withdrawal may include an explanation of the reasons for its withdrawal. The notice of withdrawal shall take effect ninety days after the receipt of the notification of withdrawal by the Depositary, unless the notification of withdrawal specifies a later date.

3.  A State shall not be discharged, by reason of its withdrawal, from the obligations arising from this Treaty while it was a Party to this Treaty, including any financial obligations that it may have accrued.

Article  25 Reservations

1.  At the time of signature, ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, each State may formulate reservations, unless the reservations are incompatible with the object and purpose of this Treaty.

2.  A State Party may withdraw its reservation at any time by notification to this effect addressed to the Depositary.

Article 26  Relationship with other international agreements

1.  The implementation of this Treaty shall not prejudice obligations undertaken by States Parties with regard to existing or future international agreements, to which they are parties, where those obligations are consistent with this Treaty.

2.  This Treaty shall not be cited as grounds for voiding defence cooperation agreements concluded between States Parties to this Treaty.

Article 27  Depositary

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall be the Depositary of this Treaty.

Article 28  Authentic Texts

The original text of this Treaty, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

DONE AT NEW YORK, this second day of April, two thousand and thirteen.