Aiming for Prevention: International Initiatives

Aiming For Prevention logoConference Report

Final Diplomatic Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)
New York City
March 18-28, 2013

IPPNW recently engaged in a wide variety of efforts to support passage of a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty leading up to the Diplomatic Conference held March 18-28 at the United Nations in New York. These included working with colleagues from the Control Arms Coalition including Pax Christi, Oxfam, and Amnesty International on organizing a letter from 18 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates including former president Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu to President Barack Obama urging him to support a humanitarian-based ATT (see letter). PSR Executive Director Dr. Catherine Thomasson was part of a delegation that delivered the letter to senior White House National Security staff just prior to the UN meeting.

“IPPNW participated in the historic 1997 meeting in New York of a small group of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, convened by Oscar Arias, who called for an International Code of Conduct on arms trade that would benefit all of humanity,” said Dr. Thomasson at the handover meeting. “After 15 long years and millions killed, maimed or traumatized by gun violence, we are hopeful that this month the world’s countries will make history and finally enact a humanitarian-based Arms Trade Treaty.

We also worked with U.S. Physicians for Social Responsibility to organize nearly two thousand letters to the President and elected representatives.

As the only health member on the Steering Board of the Control Arms NGO coalition, our active participation in meetings with delegates from countries around the world ensured they understood the dire health consequences that result from the unregulated spread of armaments worldwide.

IPPNW delegates participating included Drs. David Onazi, Omolade Oladejo, and Emeka Okolo from Nigeria, Drs. Shannon Gearhart, Cathey Falvo, Donald Mellman, and Andrew from the US, Kay Tyler from the US, Dr. Bob Mtonga from Zambia, Vera Gruner from Austria, and Central Office Aiming for Prevention Director Maria Valenti.

IPPNW serves on the Steering Board of the Control Arms Coalition. We helped plan NGO activities during the recent ATT sessions and we will continue to participate in NGO leadership and activities in capitals and at the UN on this important ATT treaty. To get involved, or to attend upcoming UN sessions on this and other conventional arms issues, contact Maria Valenti at For additional information go to the IPPNW blog, Facebook Page and Twitter accounts.