On 2 April 2013, the United Nations took a major step to reduce human suffering and improve security and stability of States worldwide by adopting the Arms Trade Treaty by a vote of 154-23-3. The Treaty represents the first global, legally binding agreement to address the insufficiently regulated international trade in conventional weapons, and sets normative criteria for States to apply when making arms transfer decisions.
The Treaty opened for signature on 3 June 2013, initiating States’ ratification processes. The Treaty entered into force on 24 December 2014 and currently has 72 States Parties and an additional 59 signatories.
The Arms Trade Treaty does three things:
1. It establishes common international standards for the trade in conventional weapons that States must incorporate into their national systems.
2. It provides oversight for global arms sales by enhancing the transparency of a traditionally murky trade.
3. It creates an environment of accountability, where States are responsible for ensuring their arms sales meet global standards and norms.