The Arms Trade Treaty: Past U.N. Negotiations, Current U.S. Debates, and Future Global Implementation

Adopted in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly, the Arms Trade Treaty sets international standards for transfers of conventional weapons and addresses diverging security, geopolitical, economic and ethical interests related to the international arms trade. Why was it negotiated in the framework of the U.N.? For example, how did the actors, notably the United States, pursue their interests? What are the treaty’s impacts? How does it affect the decision whether to supply lethal weapons to conflict areas such as Ukraine or Syria? What role will the United States play in the future?

The panel reflected on these questions:

  • Allison Pytlak, Campaign Manager at Control Arms Coalition
  • Rachel Stohl, Senior Associate at Stimson Center/ former Consultant to the UN
  • Ann Ganzer, Director of the Office of Conventional Arms Threat Reduction, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, US Department of State

The panel was moderated by James Seevers, Director of Studies for the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.