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We're back... and this time it's serious! Another month, another UN meeting, another round of Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations. But this time some things are different.
We have a draft treaty text – it's got some loopholes that must be fixed, but it's a good start. And we have momentum – from Addis Ababa to Libreville to Kingstown to The Hague governments and Control Arms Coalition members have been getting together to prepare for these negotiations.
And now we have kicked off in style!
- Armchairs: Ban Ki Moon opened the negotiations, asking why armchairs are regulated but not arms in his speech. The UK Mission in New York has been tweeting some of our killer facts – good to see our research being so widely used by governments!
- Actors: Our first press briefing with Hollywood actor and Oxfam global ambassador Djimon Hounsou, the Head of the Mexican Delegation and Geoffery Duke, a partner from South Sudan was really well attended by the UN press corps and led to some good opening articles.
- Amazing states: Later in the morning Mexico delivered a strong opening statement on behalf of an amazing 108 states, determined to see improvements to the text and stating that a weak treaty would be worse than no treaty. Control Arms agrees.
- Tuxedos: At 6pm delegates packed out our Opening Night reception, which included remarks from Oxfam's Paul O'Brien, Finnish Foreign Minister Errki Tuomioja, Actor Djimon Hounsou and ATT President Ambassador Peter Woolcott. Several other Foreign Ministers also attended the reception, which many delegates commented on as an excellent event.
- Thighs: We have also been supported by 'Millionth Face' Julius Arile, who ran the NYC half-marathon on Sunday for Control Arms, his first ever race in cold weather (and his first time to see snow). He did really well, finishing in 8th place, only 36 seconds behind the World Record holder and winner, fellow Kenyan Wilson Kipsang.
- Tweets: Twitter is buzzing on the #armstreaty hashtag, please join in! And we are getting some high-profile tweeters including Stephen Fry re-tweeting our messages. Plus, lots of reactive infographics going out on the Control Arms Facebook page.
Finally, if you have not yet seen these two amazing Arms Trade Treaty videos, they are worth a look (and please promote), one from Oxfam America:
And one from Cassette Boy and Amnesty International:Check out our list of key tweeters from the UN Arms Trade Treaty negotiations in NYC: https://twitter.com/Oxfam/arms-trade-treaty