UPF Staff Attend UNITAR Arms Trade Workshop

New York, USA - Mr. Taj Hamad, UPF Secretary General, and Genie Kagawa, Deputy Director of UPF's Office of UN Relations, participated in a February 10 workshop entitled “Key Issues for the Negotiation of the Arms Trade Treaty,” co-sponsored by UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research) and the Permanent Mission of Australia. Ms. Yvonne Lodico, Head of the New York Office of UNITAR, put together the workshop to support the preparation process for the Arms Trade Treaty conference at the UN in July 2012. The workshop provided delegates, especially from developing and least-developed countries, background information about the global arms trade to help them make informed decisions about the Arms Trade Treaty.

After ten years of intensive preparations, the international community will gather in New York to negotiate the Arms Trade Treaty under UN auspices. The poorly regulated global trade in arms in many parts of the world, along with the easy access to arms and munitions through their diversion to illicit markets, contributes to violent conflicts, transnational organized crime, and instability.

During the one-day deliberations by 26 high level speakers from the diplomatic community, foreign ministries, think tanks, research institutes, corporations, academia, and the private sector touched on every aspect of the issue, including the scope of the problem, implementation difficulties, and regulation.

Research institutions have revealed that corruption has a direct effect on the arms trade and that the conflict and violence resulting from the arms trade hinders development. A leading NGO, Oxfam, noted that weak governance increases the risk of civil strife. There is a recent trend linking development planning to security planning in the belief that development assistance can strengthen the capacity of institutions to deal with the difficult issues related to the arms trade by training civilian, police, security, and government officials.

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