Aid groups take aim at global arms treaty

An AK-47 rifle. Poorly regulated arms trade impedes development, according to Oxfam International. Photo by: Brian / CC BY

The lack of a strong, legally binding agreement to regulate the global trade of arms and weapons hampers development.

That’s according to civil society organizations lobbying for the inclusion of development and anti-corruption criteria in the Arms Trade Treaty set to be negotiated at a U.N. conference July 2-27.

Oxfam International, for one, argues in a new report that poorly regulated trade in weapons and arms “weaken the ability of governments to sustainable progress in development.” Poor regulation of the arms trade fuels and contributes to conflicts in places such as Syria and Sudan, and it diverts resources away from development projects and poverty reduction efforts, the group argues.

Oxfam’s report, dubbed “Armed Robbery,” was released as members of the European Parliament debated and adopted a resolution that calls for an arms trade treaty that requires signatories to regularly report all arms trade and pass legislation to ensure efficient implementation of the agreement. The resolution is expected to inform upcoming discussions of European foreign ministers to outline the position EU members states will bring to the U.N. conference.

Oxfam International welcomed the “strong signal” the European Parliament sent in adopting the resolution but lamented the body’s failure to “propose robust and legally-binding criteria” that would make sure “every single arms transfer does not have a negative impact on the socio-economic development of the recipient country.”

Other nongovernmental organizations pushing for the ratification in July of a strong Arms Trade Treaty include Amnesty International, Saferworld and Transparency International.

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.

Join the Discussion