International commitments

Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

The ATT, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013 and entered into force on 24 December 2014, regulates for the first time the international trade in conventional arms in a way that is binding under international law. In doing so, it pursues the objective of contributing to international and regional peace, security and stability and reducing unnecessary suffering (cf. Art. 1 ATT). The Treaty is intended to achieve a responsible international arms trade and prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in arms. The Treaty has 141 signatory states, 111 of which have already ratified the Treaty (as of 24.08.2022).

Switzerland was heavily involved in the years-long negotiation of the Treaty and welcomes its conclusion. The ATT is in Switzerland's foreign, security and economic policy interests (see Dispatch on the Approval of the Arms Trade Treaty, BBl 2014 1541) and entered into force in Switzerland on 30 April 2015. Prior to this, the accession was confirmed by the National Council and the Council of States in September 2014 and the instrument of ratification was deposited in January 2015. Swiss export control is therefore compliant with the treaty provisions of the ATT. Geneva was also chosen as the location for its permanent secretariat.

Since then, Switzerland has actively promoted the implementation of the ATT within the framework of the annual Conference of States Parties and supports other countries in the implementation of the Treaty – in particular by providing financial support for the two treaty instruments: the Voluntary Trust Fund for project financing and the Sponsorship Programme, which enables experts from developing countries to participate in the work in Geneva. Switzerland also fulfils its accountability obligations by submitting annual reports on the import and export of conventional arms (Art. 13).

As well as being held in Geneva, the Conferences of States Parties (CSP) to the ATT have also been held in Mexico (CSP1) and Tokyo (CSP4). CSP6 was conducted by written procedure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last modification 30.09.2022

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