Towards an Arms Trade Treaty

Towards an Arms Trade Treaty

The Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty is the most important initiative ever within the United Nations in the field of conventional arms regulation. Delegations from 193 United Nations member states negotiated an agreement on common standards regarding the transfer of arms in New York from 2 to 27 July 2012. The absence of international standards for trade in conventional arms has negative and far-reaching implications. The uncontrolled proliferation and concentration of arms are liable to have highly destabilizing consequences.

It is important to note that arms may serve legitimate purposes. That is why our efforts must focus on how best to ensure that arms are being used and traded in a responsible way. The Arms Trade Treaty must create the highest possible common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms in order to effectively regulate traffic of conventional weapons around the globe. The main challenge in negotiating the Arms Trade Treaty is to achieve a universally valid and binding document that reconciles the general principle of free trade, countries´ multi-faceted security needs and the requirement of responsibility in the international arms trade.

Germany attaches the highest importance to negotiating an Arms Trade Treaty that is robust, practicable and effective. It must be comprehensive in scope, legally binding and require high standards for export licence decision-making. Such a treaty will help (i) control weapons that are used to commit serious human rights violations, (ii) prevent armed conflict, (iii) curb trans-national organized crime / terrorism, (iv) dry out illicit markets for weapons and (v) limit irresponsible arms trade.

Germany remains committed to substantial progress in disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, also beyond the Arms Trade Treaty. On all of the issues at stake we have a strong interest to continue our cooperation with civil society.

Background Information:

-        Official UN-ATT website:

-        Twitter: @ATT_Conference

-        NGO websites:


Link to Statements

-        Official UN-ATT website: ATT Statement by Ambassador Jörg Ranau (February 2012):