Opinion

The Great Debate

from The Great Debate UK:

“Week of Action” on arms trade treaty

John Duncan - John Duncan is the United Kingdom Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament. He comments regularly via Twitter and on his own Blog. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan once remarked that in terms of people killed and injured every day, conventional weapons are the worst weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century.

Monday sees the start of a “Week of Action” to generate support for a new International Arms Trade Treaty, organised by NGO alliance "Control Arms" which brings together Amnesty International, Oxfam and IANSA.

Control Arms have been lobbying for an ATT for the best part of ten years; inauspicious timing perhaps in a decade that is increasingly refereed to as “the Decade of Stalemate” in the field of international multilateral diplomacy.

The low point of international efforts to curb the proliferation of conventional weapons was probably 2006, with the collapse of the United Nations Review Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons in New York. But it was also the year that a group of seven countries (Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Kenya, Japan, and the UK) launched a process in the United Nations leading to the negotiation of a new legally binding treaty to regulate the international arms trade.

from Africa News blog:

Time to stop aid for Africa? An argument against

Earlier this month, Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo argued that Africa needs Western countries to cut long term aid that has brought dependency, distorted economies and fuelled bureaucracy and corruption. The comments on the blog posting suggested that many readers agreed. In a response, Savio Carvalho, Uganda country director for aid agency Oxfam GB, says that aid can help the continent escape poverty - if done in the right way:

In early January, I travelled to war-ravaged northern Uganda to a dusty village in Pobura and Kal parish in Kitgum District. We were there to see the completion of a 16km dirt road constructed by the community with support from Oxfam under an EU-funded programme.

The road is bringing benefits in the form of access to markets, education and health care. Some parents say their daughters feel safer walking to school on the road instead of through the bushes. Many families have used the wages earned from construction work to pay for school fees and medical treatment. This is the impact of aid.

  •