As part of its work on strengthening national coordination for the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNPoA), PSAAG carried out a national workshop in Vanuatu in November 2017. The workshop was funded by the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR), and facilitated by the Centre for Armed Violence Reduction (CAVR).
The two-day workshop from 15-16 November included representatives from the Vanuatu Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Police Force, State Law Office, Customs and Border Control, Red Cross Society, Nakororiki Youth Association, Youth Challenge Vanuatu, Vatumauri Consortium, Human Rights Coalition, Vanuatu Non-government Organisation (VANGO), and Port Vila Hardware. Participants explored in detail the elements of the ATT and the PoA, with specific focus on key articles of the ATT and elements of the PoA, including scope, national implementation, record keeping and reporting, and cooperation and assistance. The participants also engaged in hands-on exercises to simulate identification of weapons systems and parts and components, and a mock transit-license application. Other modules included assessing needs, exploring specific technical issues such as brokering, discussing elements of an emerging national action plan and coordinating mechanisms.
Several recommendations were formulated for the Vanuatu Government and its partners in Civil Society and Industry to ratify the ATT, and implement both the ATT and the UNPoA:
- Establish a Working Group on ATT ratification and implementation which includes all relevant stakeholders, including but not limited to relevant government departments and agencies; civil society organisations; private sector; sub-regional and international organisations
- Develop a National Action Plan for ATT ratification, implementation, and cross-institutional and stakeholder engagement. Elements of the National Action Plan may include:
– Identifying donor support for Consultations on the Arms Trade Treaty to other provinces for wider consultations;
– The Treaties and Conventions Division to assist Working Group to carry out National Consultations towards the ratification of the ATT for Vanuatu
– Reviewing the existing relevant legislation.
– Other items as decided by the Working Group.
- Identifying opportunities for securing assistance for government authorities, including but not limited to:
– Legal and legislative assistance including legislative review and contextualization of Model Legislation
– Financial assistance
– Technical training
– Material assistance (including x-ray machines, sniffer dogs, CCTV)
– Institutional strengthening and enforcement mechanisms
– Stockpile management
– Administrative and technical assistance
– Illicit weapons and the nexus with illicit drug trafficking
– Assistance to facilitate community engagement
- Exploring opportunities for donor support for consultations on, and implementation assistance of, the ATT nationally, regionally, and internationally.