Assistant Secretary General Speech


April 19, 2022 - Washington, DC

Buenos días a todos y a todas! Es un gran honor enviarles un saludo cordial y darles la bienvenida a la Segunda Conferencia de los Estados Parte de la Convención Inter-Americana sobre Transparencia en las Adquisiciones de Armas Convencionales (CITAAC), que se realizará de manera virtual el día de hoy.

Good morning! I would like to present my warmest regards to the authorities and distinguished representatives of the State Parties to CITAAC, the OAS Member States, international and regional organizations, and civil society present in this meeting. I especially recognize the Canadian authorities and I thank the Government of Canada for its protagonism in chairing this Second Conference and enabling this important Convention to be revitalized.

The recent events have reminded us of the importance of fostering transparency and trust among countries on military affairs to achieve our common goal of a peaceful hemisphere.

It was with this perspective that in 1999 the OAS Member States have decided to adopt CITAAC as a tool to ensure transparency and openness on acquisitions of conventional weapons in the Americas, complementing the efforts at the United Nations level. Through CITAAC, State Parties committed to providing annual reports on their imports and exports of conventional weapons, as well as acquisitions made by national production. The exchange of that information would allow for the earlier identification of risks and potential excessive and destabilizing accumulations.

As we know, most countries restrict the purchase and use of conventional weapons to Military Forces considering their capacity to cause damage. Conventional weapons are usually employed in armed conflicts and, by being transparent and predictable, States can build confidence while maintaining their legitimate security needs.

The CITAAC currently has 17 State Parties and 4 Signatory States. Unfortunately, the last political forum of CITAAC took place in 2013, and, since then, we have noticed a decreasing number of annual reports submitted by State Parties. The low compliance to the obligations of the Conventions is largely connected to the absence of an instance to follow up with State Parties and provide assistance to comply with CITAAC.

Currently, the Convention does not have the same governance as other successful operational treaties of the Inter-American System that include an institutionalized Technical Secretariat and a Consultative Committee.

Thus, I am very pleased that in this Second Conference, the State Parties will have the opportunity to approve two documents to institutionalize and strengthen CITAAC. I thank the Department of Public Security that, in collaboration with the Inter-American Defense Board, has made a detailed desk review and has elaborated the drafts of the documents that propose the creation of effective follow-up mechanisms to the Convention.

The annual meetings of the Consultative Committee will provide a continuous space for dialogue between the national points of contact to review progress and design creative solutions to continue advancing on this issue. On the other hand, the Technical Secretariat will contribute to the regular and consistent submission of the annual reports by providing technical support, awareness-raising activities, and the development of tools to facilitate its submission. It will also work closely with State Parties to encourage technical cooperation and deepen the measures to foment trust in the region.

The reality of our time proves that CITAAC is, more than ever, a key instrument to the stability and development of our region. It is fundamental to make the most of it by continuing to strengthen regional cooperation and increasing the efforts to build confidence and security among States.

Considering this, I also take the opportunity to encourage the OAS Member States that have not yet ratified CITAAC, to do so. Let’s use the political commitment of the State Parties to continue building synergies and offering coordinated and multidimensional answers that consider a human-rights perspective.

I am convinced this event today is a milestone for CITAAC and the region. Through the panels and the dialogue that will take place and the approval of the Rules of Procedures and the Recommendations, with clear guidelines and priorities to State Parties, we will all leave this space stronger and in a better position to coordinate our efforts.

I wish you a fruitful discussion and great success in this event. On behalf of the General Secretariat of the OAS, I reiterate our support and disposition to continue working together with the countries of the region and other key stakeholders to promote the pillars of the Organization and its application in public security and military affairs.

Thank you! Muchas gracias a todos y todas por su atención.