The First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly is considering a resolution to convene “the Final United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty” in New York next March.
In July, a U.N. conference to negotiate an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) collapsed when it became obvious that the draft treaty was not ready for prime time. But as I wrote at the time, the conference’s collapse was “not the end of the process. It is the end of a phase.” That next phase of the ATT is now well underway.
After the conference fell apart, 90 nations—led by Mexico—stated their desire to secure an ATT “as soon as possible.” For a while, it seemed possible that, egged on by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that blamed the July fiasco on the U.S., they might try to push a treaty through the U.N. General Assembly, an approach that would certainly have produced a treaty the U.S. could never ratify. But cooler heads, and the marginally saner option of the First Committee resolution, prevailed.