With the first Arms Trade Treaty Conference of States Parties to occur in August and many decisions still to be made about the operation of the treaty, states should now move expeditiously to establish robust import and export regimes – where they are lacking – and be explicit about how they are applying treaty criteria to arms transfer decisions. The civil society-led ATT Baseline Assessment Project and Control Arms’ ATT Monitor are already up and running, and should provide a good starting point from which to aid and measure these steps.
The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots continues to engage all countries on the need to preemptively ban the development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons systems. In January, concerns over such weapons were expressed at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In April, civil society members will be active at a second informal meeting of experts under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) to discuss emerging "lethal autonomous weapons systems."
Finally, civil society groups and UN agencies continue to raise alarm about the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas and their subsequent harm to civilians in Syria, Ukraine and other conflict areas. Organizations working under the International Network on Explosive Weapons have documented statements of concern by at least 40 countries and point to an expert meeting – the third of its kind – to be held in Vienna in September as an opportunity for countries to begin development of an international commitment to stop the practice.
Jeff Abramson is the founder of the Forum on the Arms Trade and Program Manager of Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor.