From 7-10 November 2017, the Government of Palau and the Centre for Armed Violence Reduction (CAVR) held the Palau National Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) Workshop, funded by the ATT Voluntary Trust Fund (VTF) at the Palau Royal Resort. Representatives of the Palau Working Group for the Arms Trade Treaty, CAVR and the Stimson Centre (USA) met at the event to explore the steps required for ATT ratification. The Government of Palau was represented by officials from the Vice President’s Office; the Ministry of State; the Bureau of Public Safety, Commercial Development, Maritime Security, Immigration and Labour, Revenue, Customs, and Taxation; Fish and Wildlife Protection; Foreign Investment Board; the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism; the Narcotics Enforcement Agency; and the Belau Transfer and Terminal Company.
This workshop first explored all the key obligations enshrined within the ATT, including detailed discussions about the scope of the Treaty, transfer risk assessment criteria and reporting and record-keeping obligations. The participants took part in a number of training modules to develop institutional, administrative, legislative and legal baselines – and develop a clear picture of the possible changes required in the laws and processes of Palau to ratify and effectively implement the ATT. Additionally, participants visited the Commercial Seaport of Palau, and were given a detailed insight into how the port operates, how the security and oversight protocols are implemented, and a meaningful discussion of some of the immediate and long-term needs. Delegates also joined the Palau Marine Law Enforcement patrol for a hands-on monitoring and surveillance exercise.
The event concluded with the development of a list of recommendations following next-steps for Palau to ratify and implement the Arms Trade Treaty:
- Formalization of inter-agency working parameters and developing guidelines for the activities of the Working Group for the ATT. The working group should send a recommendation to the Vice President/Minister of Justice to formalise the inter-agency coordination mechanism with the goal of ratification and implementation of the ATT.
- Agreeing the mandate and responsibilities for the National Point of Contact – which was agreed by the workshop participants to be the Ministry of Justice.
- Developing a National Action Plan, which could include future activities of the Working Group.
- Synergise ATT reporting processes with existing international obligation reporting efforts (such as the Landmines Treaty, Cluster Munitions Treaty, UN Security Council Resolution 1540, the UN Register of Conventional Arms, and the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons – including roles and responsibilities, information needed, calendar of deadlines, and sources of information.
- Develop new legislation and/or legislative amendments, including implementing legislation, procedures and systems to pave the way for ATT ratification.
- Active participation of Senators, the House of Delegates, or their designees, in the meetings of the working group.
- Identifying opportunities for securing assistance, with specific reference to:
– Legal Assistance
– Legislative assistance
– Assistance for institution building
– Administrative and technical assistance
– Financial assistance
– Material assistance
– Stockpile management assistance
– Illicit weapons and the nexus with illicit drug trafficking
– Implementation assistance
- Continued participation of Palau at upcoming ATT meetings, including participation in working group and preparatory meetings, and selecting an expanded delegation to attend the 4th ATT Conference of States Parties in Tokyo, Japan in August 2018. To facilitate participation, the working group should explore sponsorship opportunities.