Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Switzerland and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations, Dr. Lansana Gberie, has been elected by his colleagues as President of the Seventh Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (CSP7). Dr. Gberie was nominated to steer the ATT, which has a total of 110 States Parties and 31 States that have signed but not yet ratified the Treaty, by Nigeria on 12 August, and was strongly supported by Namibia. Ambassador Gberie replaces Argentinian Ambassador Federico Villegas, President of the Sixth Conference of States Parties to the ATT, who delivered his closing statement of the Conference on 20 August. Ambassador Gberie’s mandate lasts for one year.
The ATT is an international treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional arms and seeks to prevent and eradicate illicit trade and diversion of conventional arms by establishing international standards governing arms transfers.
Sierra Leone ratified the Arms Trade Treaty on 12 August 2014, the 43rd UN Member State and 4th African Country to do so. In 2017, Sierra Leone began the process of identifying gaps in its legislation relating to arms, including stockpile management and oversight, to bring it in conformity with the ATT, the world’s leading disarmament treaty. The ATT has provided significant funding through its Voluntary Trust Fund towards this process.
Ambassador Gberie’s colleagues believed in supporting him for the position that his background monitoring illicit weapons movement in West Africa for the United Nations make him uniquely suited for the position. He was in December 2012 appointed by the United Nations Secretary General as a member, later Coordinator, of the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts monitoring the arms embargo then in place on Liberia. Dr. Gberie served in that capacity for three years.