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Related commentary: Dual–use and arms trade control

Will pinning NATO’s security to missile defence lead to more cohesion?

A steady and incremental growth of ballistic missile capabilities is taking place fairly close to the perimeter of NATO as several countries improve the range and accuracy of their missiles. Technical barriers, such as export controls harmonized under the Missile Technology Control Regime, have not prevented these programmes from blossoming, and there is no meaningful international arms control effort to curb or reduce missile proliferation.

Looking back to ensure future progress: developing and improving multilateral instruments to control arms transfers and prevent illicit trafficking

Between July and September this year, the international community will be faced with the daunting prospect of concluding negotiations on an international arms trade treaty and a review of the implementation of the United Nations programme of action on small arms and light weapons.

SDG16.4 and the collection of data on illicit arms flows: Progress made but challenges ahead

This backgrounder provides an overview of ongoing and potential work on measuring states’ achievement of goal 16.4. It begins by outlining the SDG process and how it has sought to overcome the challenges associated with measuring illicit arms flows. It then summarizes the data collection efforts to date and outlines some possible options for filling the gaps that exist. 

3D-printable guns and why export controls on technical data matter

New developments in the 3D-printable gun case have revived the debate on the dangers of 3D-printing of firearms and the sharing of their electronic blueprints online. While these developments may only have a limited immediate impact on the proliferation of small arms, this approach has the potential to undermine controls on 3D printing and export controls on technical data more broadly.

The state of the Arms Trade Treaty: Advancing efforts on international assistance and illicit diversion

The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) entered into force in 2013 and aims to promote a more transparent, responsible and better regulated global arms trade. On Friday 24 August the ATT’s Fourth Conference of States Parties (CSP4) concluded in Tokyo after five days of constructive deliberations.

To stay or not to stay: Will Europe’s new trade initiative make a difference for Iran?

‘Today we have taken a significant step forward in delivering our commitment under the Iran nuclear deal to preserve sanctions relief for the people of Iran.’ These were the words of Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary of the UK, as he introduced the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which is the latest attempt by the E3 (France, Germany and the UK) at preserving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, or the J

The inclusion of gender-based violence concerns in arms transfers decisions: The case of the Arms Trade Treaty

Article 7(4) of the Arms Trade Treaty requires that states parties—when deciding whether to approve an arms export—shall take into account the risk that the items may be used to commit or facilitate serious acts of gender-based violence (GBV) or violence against women and children.

Revising the EU Dual-use Regulation: Challenges and opportunities for the trilogue process

The 2009 EU Dual-use Regulation (Council Regulation 428/2009) creates a common legal basis for European Union (EU) member states’ controls on the trade in ‘dual-use items’ (i.e. goods, materials and technologies that may be used for both civilian and military purposes) and is a crucial component of global non-proliferation efforts.

Using official development assistance to strengthen small arms and light weapons controls: Opportunities and risks

One of the many events that has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is the seventh Biennial Meeting of States (BMS) on the United Nations Programme of Action (UNPOA) on small arms and light weapons (SALW), which was due to take place this week in New York but has been postponed to 2021.

SALW-related assistance to states in sub-Saharan Africa: Hitting the target or missing the mark?

This Topical Backgrounder presents recommendations for both future research and steps that could be taken by states, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations to improve the coordination and effectiveness of SALW-related assistance efforts in sub-Saharan Africa.