The 2017 Report

The ATT Monitor 2017 Report was launched Monday, 11 September 2017.


This third edition of the ATT Monitor report focuses on the critical issue of transparency in the arms trade and in the ATT specifically. Transparency is, as Chapter 1 outlines, central to many of the ATT’s operative articles. Without greater sharing of information by States Parties, it will be hard, if not impossible, to achieve the Treaty’s object and purpose of reducing human suffering, preventing diversion and establishing the highest possible common international standards for regulating the international arms trade. More than two years after the Treaty’s entry into force, early indicators are now available to assess the extent to which ATT States Parties are putting into effect their commitment to transparency.

In particular, this report focuses its analysis on the two official sources of information that States Parties must submit – the Initial and Annual Reports. Accurate, systematic and comprehensive reports on implementation and on exports/imports, submitted publicly and on time, are critical tools to measure how well States Parties are living up to their ATT obligations. Overall, this report finds that progress on public reporting has been disappointing, both in terms of the quantity and the quality of received reports.

Chapter 1 of this report is a special thematic section on transparency and the ATT. It is divided into three parts. First, it reviews how transparency as a concept is embedded within the ATT’s many operative articles, and questions the extent to which States Parties have met the transparency requirements within the Treaty in its early years. Second, it analyses the practical effect of increased transparency in two specific implementation areas – Article 11: Diversion and anti-corruption measures under Article 15: International Cooperation. Third, the special section explores the arguments in favour of greater transparency, and addresses some differing perceptions that may exist about the ATT’s transparency commitments.

Chapter 2 assesses the current state of ATT Annual Reports. Although the number of reports submitted publicly by States Parties is positive, the quality of their content will become an issue of increasing concern as the opportunity arises for greater scrutiny. In reviewing the content of the first set of Annual Reports submitted in 2016 – covering arms exports and imports during 2015 – the ATT Monitor has identified significant discrepancies in the information provided by States Parties. Some of these will likely be addressed over time as the reporting templates are amended and States Parties become more familiar with ATT reporting practice.

Other discrepancies relate to differences in national systems and definitions. However, some of the issues identified here pose immediate questions about how to improve the information being provided in the Annual Reports.

For example, an analysis of 435 separate transactions of SALW reported by an exporting State Party in its 2016 Annual Report found that a large majority of reported exports could not be matched in the report of the speciffed importing State Party.46
In 78 per cent of cases analysed, a reported export had no corresponding import of a similar weapon type (regardless of whether the quantities matched). And in only 6 per cent of cases was there an exact ‘mirror’ between reports (i.e. where the country, weapon type and weapon quantity all matched).

Chapter 2 also includes a summary assessment of Annual Reports submitted for arms exports and imports during 2016 before 31 May 2017. As was the case last year, it is anticipated that more States Parties will submit their report in the window between the legal deadline of 31 May and the beginning of the CSP. As such, this initial analysis will be further expanded in next year’s Monitor report.

Chapter 3 evaluates the extent to which Initial Reports are useful tools to assess ATT implementation practices and challenges faced by States Parties. It highlights some trends in implementation practice relating to exports, brokering and enforcement, and identifies some common challenges that impact the efficacy of initial reports, including the lack of any ability to check the accuracy or comprehensiveness of information submitted by States Parties. It finds that there is sometimes a critical gap between what is being reported and what is being practiced and implemented on the ground, and that it is important that States Parties update their implementation reports (as required by Article 13.1) in order for implementation progress and success stories to be tracked accurately.

Finally, Chapter 4 provides an update on the further development of the ATT Monitor’s Risk Watch tool. Risk Watch, as was initially outlined in last year’s report, is a tool to gather and synthesize publicly available information relating to risks identified in the ATT. This process will be carried out initially for a limited number of contexts of concern, and this chapter lays out the process used to develop a typology that captures a broad range of contexts in which weapons may be misused.

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