Speech/statement | Date: 27/08/2019
By Director Silja Skjelnes (Geneva, 27 August)
Director Silja Skjelnes gave the Norwegian speech at the Fifth Conference of the States Parties of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in Geneva.
Norway aligns herself with the statement of the European Union, and would like to make some additional remarks in a national capacity.
At the outset, I would like to underline the importance of the ATT as a mechanism to advance international peace and security. We must strive to uphold the multilateral system and continue to apply the provisions of the Treaty to the broadest range of conventional arms.
For Norway, this is a central part of our efforts to reduce armed conflict and violence across the world.
In many regions, large quantities of arms contribute to high levels of conflict and instability.
We also see that sexual and gender-based violence often increases before a conflict erupts, and persists after a peace accord has been signed. The prevalence of weapons therefore exposes women to further danger in an already vulnerable situation.
We need a more systematic focus on women, peace and security in our efforts to implement the objectives of the Treaty. We applaud the Latvian Presidency for focusing on these important issues and for leading the constructive debate yesterday.
In our view, including women is essential if we are to address the security needs of the whole population.
International standards are strongest when they are universally applied – which is why we have to push for further universalization of the ATT. We welcome the recent ratifications and accessions to the Treaty, and encourage states to speed up their ratification processes.
We must also push for a more effective implementation.
Norway supports efforts to provide technical assistance to Member States – and as was pledged earlier this morning, Norway will contribute NOK 500 000 to the Voluntary Trust Fund this year. We will also continue to serve on the Voluntary Trust Fund committee, as we have done since last year.
In our work, we must also strive for greater transparency and openness.
My delegation is pleased to see that many States Parties have submitted their initial and annual reports for 2018 – and made them publicly available. We encourage all States Parties to consider doing the same.
However, we note with concern that several States Parties have not yet submitted their annual reports under the Treaty obligation. We see a similar situation when it comes to financial obligations. This undermines the work of the ATT and the common goals we are trying to achieve.
Norway therefore strongly urges all States Parties to honor their obligations under the ATT. We appreciate the Secretariat’s efforts to follow up this issue with the countries concerned and to provide assistance where needed.
In our view, the working groups are important tools for bringing the Treaty forward. The working group structure allows for exchange of ideas, information and best practices – and will contribute to effective implementation of the Treaty, as well as transparency and timely reporting. We thank the chairs and participants of the working groups – and encourage all States Parties to take active part in these discussions.
Norway will continue to work with and support the ATT’s efforts in developing universal norms and best practices. In this regard, we commend UNIDIR’s important efforts in raising the issue of end use controls - under the CSP5 working group sessions.
Finally, Norway would like to highlight the important role and contributions of the civil society. We encourage NGOs to continue monitoring the implementation of the ATT, raise awareness and to mobilize their regional networks to create further support for the Treaty’s norms, principles and standards.
In conclusion, the Arms Trade Treaty is a milestone for the international community. For the first time we have established responsible standards for the international transfer of conventional weapons on a global level. However, the ATT rests on a set of common rules and norms that are under increasing pressure. So our work must continue.
Norway is confident that with the growing number of States Parties, stronger implementation and transparency, and together with civil society, we will continue strengthening the ATT – and through that, preventing proliferation of arms for illicit use.
We stand ready to contribute.