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Peace & Democracy

Programme Overview

PGA’s Peace and Democracy Programme focuses in marshalling global parliamentary support for improved regulation of the international arms trade, in particular where its inadequacies play a demonstrated role in destabilizing countries, causing or fuelling conflict and/or delay the emergence of countries from conflict.

Building on its record of accomplishment in the disarmament field, historically in the context of its members playing an important role in securing ratifications of the CTBT and Chemical Weapons Convention by their respective countries in the 1980s and 1990s and, in more recent years, in the arena of the successful work of members in achieving ratifications by their respective countries of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons - as well as improving domestic firearms legislation in certain other countries - PGA is uniquely positioned to deliver a significant contribution in:

  1. Mobilizing global parliamentary support for the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

    PGA Members from a diverse range of key countries have participated as Members of official delegations in all 4 ATT Preparatory Committee meetings that have taken place at the United Nations in New York to date, as well as in the July 2012 and March 2013 ATT Conferences.

  2. Please see the following links for further information:

    As Members of Delegations, some of these PGA MPs have been permitted to participate in ‘closed session’ meetings giving them an improved understanding of decision-making processes of UN Member States that is unique among civil society groups.

    PGA Members have also participated at key side-events during ATT PrepComs and the ATT Conference and PGA has organized several Workshops of its own in which high level participation has been achieved and the role of legislators been effectively promoted and been made better understood among primary stakeholders.

    Of particular importance, and since March 2011, PGA is the only parliamentary organization which is a Member of the Steering Board of Control Arms, the global coalition for the large number of civil society organizations worldwide that is engaged in supporting the ATT. To read more about Control Arms, please click here.

    As such it plays a substantive, ongoing role in the policy deliberations and decisions of the Control Arms Campaign.

    PGA Peace & Democracy Staff also drafted the Control Arms Global Parliamentary Declaration on the Arms Trade Treaty, with input from Oxfam, Amnesty International and Safer World, among others. In a period of only 7 months, 2,100 Legislators from 114 countries have signed this Declaration, highlighting the essential role that Members of Parliament play in promoting the ATT. List of Signatories of the Global Parliamentarian Declaration on the Arms Trade Treaty (as of August 14, 2012). PGA, through its worldwide membership, played a decisive role in securing over 85% of all these signatures for this Global Parliamentary Declaration on the ATT.

    It can also be usefully observed that the ATT is intended to cover conventional weapons of many kinds. While Small Arms and Light Weapons are an important component of this, the ATT is not confined to this sphere. Although some organizations have a particular focus in SALW, PGA's disarmament work has always been on a broader stage from the time of its establishment in 1978.

    PGA is also fortunate and rather unique, in being able to utilize the expertise of its Programme Work in other areas, most notably in the highly successful work of its International Law & Human Rights Programme in improving the universality of the Rome Statute of the ICC, in seeking to achieve the same objectives in the context of the ATT

  3. Advocating effectively for individual country ratifications of the Arms Trade Treaty to enable it to enter into force without undue delay

    PGA Members worldwide are deeply committed to ensuring multi-country ratification and implementation of the ATT, now that it has been agreed upon April 2, 2013. Many of these same MPs have already been involved in the highly successful PGA Campaign to ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC and played an important contribution to this end in 74 of the 122 countries that to date have ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC.

  4. Continue to advocate effectively for individual country ratifications of the Arms Trade Treaty after it enters into force to ensure that it becomes a truly universally accepted Treaty

    The threshold number of individual UN Member States required to become party to the ATT in order for the ATT to enter into force is 50 ratifications. However, to achieve full universality of a treaty, thereby ensuring its long term impact, it will be necessary to ensure that the largest number of ratifications/accessions are achieved among all 193 UN Member States in the years ahead. The credibility and legitimacy of any international treaty is measured in these terms. As it has done so effectively in the context of the Rome Statute of the ICC, so too will PGA Members worldwide work tirelessly for the true universality of the ATT.

  5. Drafting implementing legislation to give effect to the Arms Trade Treaty in all countries where PGA Members have been active in promoting ratifications of the Arms Trade Treaty

    Many PGA Members are both politicians and trained lawyers. A large number of these PGA Members have therefore played a fundamental role not only in advocating successfully for ratification of/accession to treaty, but also in actual drafting of the legislation that is so critical to give actual effect to the ATT in domestic law.

Key Achievements

  • PGA Legislators in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal all played an important role in ensuring their respective country's ratification of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons. This goal/objective they secured following participation in regional and international PGA SALW Workshops which served to raise their awareness of the need to address the scourge of the illicit trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, in particular in the West African region.
  • PGA Legislators played an active role in the negotiations of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and in securing the necessary number of ratifications for the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty to enter into force
  • PGA Missions/Workshops promoted peaceful dialogue between warring factions in several countries with conflict or near conflict and created openings between countries in cross-border conflicts - including Eastern Europe/South Caucus, Bangladesh/India, Afghanistan/Pakistan government-opposition agreements in Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, Central African Republic, Haiti, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zimbabwe
  • PGA Members have played an important role in reaching certain provincial autonomy and resource sharing agreements in Indonesia and Pakistan.
  • PGA has also played an important role in setting up regional organizations - ECOWAS in particular - to build peace, lessen the artificial Anglophone/Francophone divide in West Africa and expand regional trade.

Programme Objectives

The objectives of PGA's Peace & Democracy Programme are twofold: on the one hand, PGA aims to foster greater political leadership and improved legislative tools for Lawmakers to give effect to already existing commitments to curb and control Small Arms and Light Weapons; on the other, the membership of the Organization has now formally decided to engage in new initiatives to promote a global instrument that may effectively regulate and control arms transfers worldwide.

More recently, PGA Members have participated as integral members of national delegations to the first three ATT PrepComs in 2010 and 2011, enhancing their expertise in this area and facilitating greater understanding by them and their parliamentary colleagues of the main issues under discussion in the ATT negotiation process.

Programme Staff

  • Mr. Peter Barcroft
    Director of Peace and Democracy Programme
    Email: (New York)
    Phone: + 1 917 414 0254

Past Convenors

  • Mr. Ross Robertson, MP (New Zealand)
  • Mr. Kent Olsson, MP (Sweden)
  • Mr. Ibrahim Sorie, MP (Sierra Leone)
Last Updated Thursday, 03 July 2014

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