The Pacific Small Arms Action Group (PSAAG) carried out a regional workshop in Vanuatu in November 2017 on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNPoA). The workshop was funded by the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR), and the Centre for Armed Violence Reduction (CAVR) acting as a fiscal agent and implementing agency.
The workshop was held at the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Secretariat in Port Vila from 13-14 November in collaboration with the Stimson Centre, USA. The workshop included representatives from the Fiji Ministry of Defence and National Security, the Papua New Guinea Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Solomon Islands Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, the Vanuatu Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the MSG Secretariat, the Centre for Armed Violence Reduction/PSAAG, and the Stimson Centre.
In light of the participants’ considerable background in, and experience with, the ATT and UNPoA related processes, the workshop focussed on reinforcing the role of National Points of Contact (NPC) during national and regional coordination for the implementation of the ATT and UNPoA; as well as identifying key elements for a formalised regional network structure. The participants took part in a number of modules to explore synergies with existing priorities and international obligations, institutional and resource challenges, needs and gaps, and discussed strategies to address these needs – including exploring technical, financial, and material assistance and cooperation opportunities.
The workshop concluded with the production of an outcome document incorporating key elements for the establishment of agreements on the next steps leading to the ratification of the ATT and the joint implementation of the ATT and UNPoA.
Based on the deliberations carried out during the event, the workshop recommends the following next-steps for MSG member states to take forward ratification/accession of the ATT, and implementation of both the ATT and the UNPoA:
- Exploring the feasibility of a regional network of ATT and UNPoA NPCs hosted by the MSG. This network should include additional relevant stakeholders.
- Developing a sub-regional action plan through the MSG, and identifying opportunities for further regional collaboration.
- Elements of the sub-regional action plan may include:
– Best practices
– Sharing experiences and challenges
– Identifying broader synergies with other international obligations
– Information and data sharing
– Identifying opportunities for securing assistance, including but not limited to:
– Legal Assistance
– Legislative assistance
– Assistance for institution building
– Administrative and technical assistance
– Financial assistance
– Material assistance
– Stockpile management assistance
– Illicit weapons and the nexus with illicit drug trafficking
– Implementation assistance towards developing sustainable and effective ATT implementation, as well as to ensure consistency and continuity to build on work already undertaken at the national level.
- Seeking the assistance of the MSG Secretariat to facilitate meetings with the Presidency of the 4th ATT Conference of States Parties (Japan), with the ATT Secretariat officials, and the President of the 3rd UNPoA Review Conference (France).
- Working with relevant national authorities in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu to ensure national participation at all the meetings leading up to and including the 4th Conference of States Parties (such as Preparatory meetings and meetings of the three working groups), and the 3rd UNPoA Review Conference.
- Working with bilateral, regional and multilateral donors to assist with sponsorship for participation at the 4th Conference of States Parties and its associated meetings, and the 3rd UNPoA Review Conference.