Zambians to Zambia leaders – Ratify the ATT!
BY Dr. Robert Mtonga, Zambian Healthworkers for Social Responsibility
IPPNW-Zambia convened a series of meetings between 14-19 March in Lusaka, Zambia which brought together key stakeholders, including officials from the Zambian government and representatives of nongovernmental organisations, for a lobby-briefing on the ATT. During two-plus days nearly 30 participants shared experiences and prodded the Zambian government to commit to ratify before May 22, 2016, which would make Zambia a State Party to the ATT when the Second Conference of States Parties (CSP2) convenes in Geneva in August.
The key outcome of the meetings was Zambia announcing that the process towards ratification was well advanced thanks to the persistent advocacy work of IPPNW-Zambia and colleagues.
Representatives from the Zambia Society for Physiotherapists, Zambia Union of Nurses Organisations, IPPNW, The Young Women’s Christian Association, National Council of Catholic Women, Zambia Foundation of Landmine Survivors Association, Surgical Society of Zambia, Ministry of Defence, and University Teaching Hospital Social Workers engaged interactively with each other and addressed the agenda items.
Aiming for prevention shared with EU representatives
A lunch-time sidebar was organized on 15th March with special guests from the European Union (EU) (Germany, Netherlands and Croatia) and Nigeria (West African Action Network on Small Arms, WAANSA) where the participants were briefed on the EU activities in support of ATT implementation.
In related meetings, myself and three other members of IPPNW-Zambia were invited for a two-day interactive seminar organized by IPPNW-Zambia and the EU, again on its activities in support of ATT implementation. This interactive seminar provided opportunities to share IPPNW’s “aiming for prevention” work and lobby officials from Zambia and the EU to support IPPNW’s work.
IPPNW-Zambia, a member of the Zambia National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons (NatCom) was also invited on 17th March to attend a planning meeting. I represented IPPNW-Zambia and shared the latest developments on the ATT. I lobbied participants to also lend their weight to push towards ratification of the ATT.
The outcome of the marathon seminars was positive as participants praised our work. Many government officials were hearing about the ATT for the first time and were thankful to IPPNW-Zambia for convening the educational meetings and for our wealth of knowledge on the topics..
Gratitude is due to the Control Arms Coalition for the funding and IPPNW colleagues for the help in putting this work together.