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IPU working to bring fresh momentum to peace and security treaties

Renewed IPU efforts and advocacy have brought new ratifications to international treaties on peace and security, including both the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).  The ratification of such treaties does not necessarily bring instantaneous peace, but it helps to build trust and can create its own momentum. The treaties are an effective contribution to peace and security.

When the IPU adopted its first resolution on the CTBT in 1995, few countries took much action, but the IPU and CTBT  Organization initiated a new campaign in late 2018, writing to parliaments in countries that had not yet ratified. States benefit from ratification in several ways. The CTBT’s verification system has a strong seismic component, for example, meaning that it can also help to monitor earthquakes and tsunamis. Meanwhile, researchers can access selected data to better understand the natural world, from whale behaviour to climate change or the timing of monsoon rains.

With these arguments made, the ratifications began to tick up, including Comoros and Cuba in 2021. In March 2022, following a workshop at the IPU’s I44th Assembly in Indonesia, another five IPU Members ratified – Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Timor Leste, and Tuvalu – meaning that of 196 total States, some 177 have now ratified.

In 2022, the IPU saw results from its work on another treaty, the ATT. The treaty addresses the availability of small arms and light weapons, which continue to kill and maim, including in Africa and Asia, where many countries have not yet signed or ratified the treaty. Public debate on the treaty is often limited, while governments worry about the treaty obligations. But reducing the availability of small arms saves lives, especially of women and children.

Building on an IPU resolution from 2006, the IPU had approached more than 80 parliaments in 2021, marking the start of its new ATT campaign. Following this, and with significant push from a single MP, the Philippines ratified in March 2022. In October, also with major effort from a single politician, the west African state of Gabon ratified too.

The year 2022 may not have been an easy context in which to push for disarmament, but the combination of personal relationships and persistent lobbying has brought some momentum. Meanwhile, the IPU continues to highlight the data linking small arms and excess mortality.

IPU Secretariat, Geneva