by the Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya and the United Kingdom
New York 18 March 2013
We are today starting negotiations with the aim of finalising the Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations. Our efforts have continued for seven years. Now it is time to have the Treaty. It is long overdue.
On average a man, woman or child dies every minute as a result of armed violence. Two thirds of them die in countries that are not officially in conflict. The unregulated trade in conventional arms undermines peace, security, stability and human rights. There are far more harmless commodities that are more regulated than the trade in conventional arms. It is high time to correct this situation.
We have a unique opportunity to secure a robust and legally binding Treaty in the next nine days. To make a real difference, we need a comprehensive and universal Treaty that can be effectively implemented. This conference offers us an historic opportunity to secure the necessary international consensus behind such a Treaty.
We call for positive engagement from all. We need flexibility and commitment from everyone in order to secure a Treaty which will save lives and reduce human suffering, and to bring transparency and consistency to the global arms trade whose legacy will endure for generations to come.