Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Final appeal

by Dr. Robert Zuber, Global Action to Prevent War

The clock continues to tick on this final negotiating session and the list of objections seems to be lengthening rather than shrinking. Moreover, these objections are generally not, as we had hoped, tied to specific intentions on the part of delegations to either adopt, abstain from, or walk away completely from the “final” text to be presented by Ambassador Woolcott Wednesday morning.
 As mentioned by Global Action to Prevent War (GAPW) yesterday, it is important at this stage that states not only share the specifics of their concerns, but also the scale and severity of these “objections”. We have all said so much over so many months. There is little left to share. With a few modifications (some minor and a few more substantial), we most likely have the treaty that we will be obligated to adopt or pass on to another GA process. It is critical at this point that we know as much as we can regarding delegation intent so that some final efforts to modify such intent can urgently commence.

In the interest of moving forward both concretely and legally, we would like to restate one last time our primary concerns at this point in the process:
  • The need for the treaty to incorporate a reasonable process for amendment based on what we will come to learn about how treaty provisions function in practice as well as how technology will alter conventional weaponry in the future. We do not know how states will respond to adopted provisions, nor can we predict with certainty how global circumstances might impact the desire of states to seek a more context-specific engagement on transfers of existing or new types of conventional weapons.
  • The need for practical activity at the earliest possible moment to link exporting and importing states in capacity assistance and other measures essential to full implementation of treaty provisions. This activity should under no circumstances be dependent on entry into force and should be modeled on (or utilize) the existing Group of Interested States in Practical Disarmament Measures.
These are both essential in our view, but in some ways the first is the most significant. This treaty process has been costly at many levels, and has put enormous pressure on delegate time and energy. A treaty that cannot readily be amended to circumstance or that puts off indefinitely the practical engagement of existing provisions will only increase those costs.