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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia[*], Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
The EU would like to thank Ms Katya Cortés Martínez of Mexico and Mr. Tom Nijs of Belgium for their competent steering of the Working Group on Transparency and Reporting, for the preparation of the online reporting tool and for the proposed mandate for 2020.
The EU supports the principles of cooperation, responsibility, and transparency in the international arms trade, enshrined in the Arms Trade Treaty. Transparency is a key element leading to confidence-building among States and ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Treaty.
We recall that the reporting obligations set out in the Treaty represent one of the cornerstones of the ATT as well as a crucial element for the efficient and effective functioning of the Treaty. All ATT States Parties have an obligation to submit an Initial Report on the measures taken to implement the Treaty, as well as Annual Reports. All States should strive for timely submission and ensure the quality and completeness of the information provided. We call on all States Parties to comply with their reporting obligations.
We are concerned that the reporting rate remains alarmingly low and that this downward trend seems to continue. We also encourage those States Parties who have already submitted their initial report, to report on the changes that have been made to their national control systems in line with the requirements of Article 13.1 of the Treaty. We are grateful to the ATT Secretariat for their continued sharing of updates on the number of Initial and Annual Reports, which help us to track progress. We also support exploring further flexible synergies in the reporting exercises to the ATT and to the UN Register for Conventional Arms (UNRoCA. Such synergies would reduce the administrative burden of reporting on parties with the aim of increasing the reporting rate and thereby overall transparency.
We appreciate the continued efforts of the Co-Chairs to identify obstacles and challenges affecting the fulfilment of the reporting obligations and to strive for responsibility and transparency in the arms trade. We support developing practical tools that can assist States Parties to strengthen national reporting capabilities and make their national reporting procedures more efficient, in line with the provisions of the Treaty. In this regard, we welcome the update to the 'FAQ' – Type Guidance Document on the Annual Reporting Obligation in the light of the introduction of the Online Reporting Tool.
We recognize that some States Parties may face administrative difficulties and require further capacity-building assistance. In this context, where possible, we encourage States Parties with a good reporting record to offer in-kind support to other States Parties. States are also encouraged to make use of the Voluntary Trust Fund for the purpose of establishing or improving their reporting capabilities. The EU’s Outreach Programme also supports States Parties in fulfilling their reporting obligations and in this regard, we would like to commend Togo for submitting its first annual report in May 2019.
The EU’s Annual Report on exports of military technology and equipment represents a significant tool in enhancing transparency in the international arms trade. It 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 EU’s 20th Annual Report on arms exports in 2017 was made publicly available on 9 November 2018.
Thank you, Mr. President
[*] The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.