Regulation of the arms trade


The Arms Trade Treaty, a binding instrument for regulating conventional arms

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which was adopted on 2 April 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly and entered into force on 24 December 2014, is the first legally binding instrument for regulating international conventional arms trade. As of the beginning of December 2019, it includes 105 States Parties.

The aim of the Treaty, while recognizing the legitimate interest of States to export, import or transfer conventional arms, is to have States adopt rules for responsible, transparent and proportionate behaviour in the area in order to contribute to international peace and stability, and to prevent violations of humanitarian law and human rights. To that end, the Treaty provides for the implementation of national control regimes for exports of war materials, the adoption of measures to prevent their diversion and the issuance of reports on the implementation of the Treaty.

France’s commitment to the universalization and implementation of the Treaty

France attaches great importance to this Treaty, which it has supported since the process of negotiations was launched in 2006 leading to its adoption. It deposited its ratification instrument on 2 April 2014 during a joint ceremony with Germany, and has remained committed to the universalization of the ATT. To be fully effective, the Treaty must be signed and ratified by as many States as possible, especially the main arms exporters and importers.

France holds regular dialogue with civil society on issues relating to the implementation of the ATT. At the Fifth Conference of States Parties, which was held in Geneva from 26 to 30 August 2019, committed to the effective implementation of the ATT, France also held a side event on the contribution of the private sector to the implementation of the ATT.

France also takes part in assistance and communication projects to help certain countries, especially African countries, accede to the Treaty and implement it effectively. The Expertise France Agency has been commissioned by the Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/915 to conduct, in partnership with Germany’s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA), the EU ATT Outreach Project II to support implementation of the ATT. This project aims to help strengthen the national control regimes of recipient countries through assistance in drafting a regulatory framework and training staff, and to promote the universalization of the ATT among States which have not yet ratified it.

Updated: December 2019