Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

Arms Trade Treaty - Working Group on Transparency and Reporting

Geneva, 04/04/2019 - 15:00, UNIQUE ID: 190405_7
Statements on behalf of the EU

Arms Trade Treaty Working Group on Transparency and Reporting EU Key Messages Geneva, 4 April 2019

Mr. Co- Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.  The Candidate Countries Turkey, Montenegro[*], Serbia and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.

 

State of play of compliance with reporting obligations

 

The EU thanks the ATT Secretariat for sharing the latest status of reporting. Unfortunately, we must conclude that the reporting rate has not significantly improved, and that the rate of compliance with the reporting obligations is alarmingly low.

 

In our view, transparency is a key element leading to confidence building among States. Reporting on arms exports and imports represents one of the cornerstone obligations of the ATT and is a crucial element for an efficient functioning of the Treaty. We reiterate our call on all States Parties to fulfill their reporting obligations in a timely and effective manner.

 

It is regrettable that since our last discussion on this issue, no new reports have been submitted for the period 2015-2017 to the ATT Secretariat. Since the deadline for submitting the annual report for 2018 is approaching, we hope to see better figures this year. We commend all States Parties that have already filed their annual report for 2018 and encourage others to follow suit without delay.

 

We also note that a sizeable number of States Parties are still to submit their initial report. We recall that all States Parties have an obligation to report on the measures they have taken to implement the ATT and we urge all to comply. Also, we encourage those States Parties who have already submitted their initial report, to report to the ATT Secretariat, when appropriate, to accurately reflect the changes that have been made to their national control systems in line with the requirements of Article 13.1 of the Treaty.

 

I would also like to draw your attention to the EU’s Annual Report on exports of military technology and equipment, which is a significant tool in enhancing transparency in the international arms trade. The EU’s Annual Report displays, for all destination countries, the number and value of authorised exports, the type of military technology involved and the number of denials per type of military technology and destination country, as well as the criteria that were invoked as the reason for the denial. The 20th Annual Report on arms exports in 2017 was published on 14 December 2018 and is publicly available.

 

Challenges concerning reporting

 

The EU welcomes the continuation of the discussion on obstacles and challenges to submitting timely and accurate reports. Sharing this kind of experience represents an efficient method to identify practical measures to assist States Parties in addressing those challenges and strengthening their reporting capabilities, with a view to helping them to comply with the ATT’s obligations and improving the reporting rate.

 

The EU would like to echo the Co-Chairs’ call to those States Parties who have a good reporting record to express their interest in offering basic support to other States Parties facing challenges.

 

The EU supports the Co-Chairs’ ongoing efforts to strive for greater responsibility and transparency in the arms trade and believes that the 2018 reporting exercise is a great opportunity to see the results of the work that has been undertaken in this working group so far. Hence, when drafting the annual reports, we encourage States Parties to consider the two support tools which were prepared  in the Working Group on Transparency and Reporting, namely `National-Level Measures to Facilitate Compliance with Reporting Obligations and Commitments` and `Reporting Authorized or Actual Exports and Imports of Conventional Arms: Questions & Answers`.

 

In this respect, we would like to draw the attention of those States Parties that might need assistance in fulfilling their reporting obligations to Article 16 on International Assistance of the Treaty. With regards to the EU ATT Outreach Programme II, we would like to inform you that, in the last few months, assistance was provided to Togo on ATT reporting obligations with a view to Togo submitting the first ATT annual report in May 2019. In addition, States are encouraged to make use of the Voluntary Trust Fund to establish or improve their obligatory reporting capabilities.

 

Organizational means for information exchange

 

The EU thanks the ATT Secretariat for its ongoing work to develop the IT platform and wishes to share its experience with regard to existing organizational means for information exchange at the EU level.

 

The EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on arms export controls lays down a notification mechanism for export license applications to non-EU countries which were denied in accordance with the eight risk assessment criteria. The EU Common Position institutes the obligation of consultation when assessing an export license application which is 'essentially identical' to one already denied by another EU Member State. During the last few years, the EU has developed an online system for exchanging information on denials, which has resulted in providing faster and wider information-sharing among national governmental stakeholders involved in arms export control. In 2018, the system registered around 320 interactions involving denials and consultations among EU Member States.

 

The EU Member States representatives meet on a monthly basis in the COARM Working Party of the EU Council, where they share information and best practices in order to improve convergence between their export policies to non-EU countries. Since the beginning of 2018, the EU has expanded the online system with a view to facilitating in-depth discussions also in the period between the COARM meetings. In this regard, new tools have been developed, such as the `tour de table` and `additional information` functionalities. These allow EU Member States to share concrete export-related information; share general national information and policies that are thought to be of value to other Member States, such as updates to export policies or to the national control system, national policy papers etc.; or exchange information on policies concerning specific destinations or recipients or on issues of concern. We consider that these new functionalities have made a substantial contribution to supporting transparency between EU Member States. Since March 2018, 13 tours de table were initiated by EU Member States: five for destination countries and eight for other topics. In addition, five messages containing additional information have been uploaded into the system.

 

Having this experience, we welcome the information exchange platform on the restricted area of the ATT website and are looking forward to it becoming fully operational. We would like to encourage all States Parties to register online for access to the restricted area of the ATT website and start using the IT platform.

 

Thank you, Mr. Co-Chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

[*] Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.