FEEDBACK – HI at the 9th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Posted by: on Sep 6, 2019 | No Comments

From 2nd to 4th September, the 9th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (MSPCCM) took place in Geneva under the presidency of Sri Lanka. Most of the more than 100 state parties were represented.

Focus on the condemnation of the use of cluster munitions and clearance

An important point of discussion in the 9th MSPCCM was the continued use of cluster munitions in the Middle East. HI welcomed the declarations of several state parties strongly condemning the use of these weapons and calling on all states to refrain from it.

10 years after the Convention entered into force there were also the first requests from states to extend their clearance deadlines for the contaminated areas. Unsurprisingly, Laos, the state most affected by cluster munitions and with the largest contaminated areas, was one of them. However, Afghanistan reported to be on track with fulfilling the clearance deadline by 2022, despite present difficulties.

Lack of financial commitment of state parties

These yearly intersessional meetings have been suspended several times in the past and the number of meeting days of the MSP have since been reduced. Due to further financial constraints, this year’s MSP even had to be organised without translation during one of the three meeting days. The difficult financial situation was addressed in Geneva but it turned out that despite the fact that many state parties emphasized the importance of this treaty, only few of them are willing to support its implementation.

Civil society engagement

Hector Guerra, CMC, delivering the Opening Speech at the 9 MSP CCM, 2019.

Civil society participated actively in the otherwise not very intensive discussion. Hector Guerra of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) remarked in his opening statement that he is convinced that with strengthened political will and increased financial resources, the Convention has great potential to deliver on its promises.

Civil society organisations also did not miss speaking out against the horrific effects of the ongoing use of cluster munitions in Syria. Vidya Abhayagunawardena from CMC called on all states to do all they can to end any use of Cluster Munitions by anyone under any circumstances.

Civil society also called on state parties to intensify continued efforts on victim assistance and to strengthen cooperation between each other to increase the efficiency of their clearance activities.

Compared to former meetings, only few side events took place. Nevertheless, they were of crucial significance and therefore well attended. An important event in every conference is the presentation of the annual Cluster Munition Monitor, which stated that:

  • HI at the 9 MSP CCM 2019

    Launch of the Cluster Munition Monitor at the 9 MSPCCM.

    In 2018 149 people died through the effects of Cluster Munition. This represents a sharp decrease compared to 951 victims in 2016.

  • 99% of victims in 2018 were civilians.
  • 15 state parties to the Convention lament victims of Cluster Munitions in their countries.
  • Since the treaty came into force 35 state parties have destroyed 99% of all officially registered Cluster Bombs in the member states.
  • A total of 26 countries and three regions worldwide are contaminated with Cluster Munition remains.

Read the full report here : http://www.the-monitor.org/en-gb/reports/2019/cluster-munition-monitor-2019.aspx

Outlook on the 2nd Review Conference 2020 in Switzerland

The host of the 2nd review conference in 2020 already set the ambitious major objectives within the Conventions obligations:

  • Universalising the Convention. The existing 106 state parties should reach 130 by 2020 according to the Dubrovnik action plan.
  • Fulfilling the stockpile destruction. With 99% of state parties officially registered Cluster Bombs being destroyed it should be in reach before 2020 finished that duty.
  • Emphasising the need for victim assistance

Giving a Voice to survivors

The 2nd Review Conference also presents a great opportunity for civil society actors like HI to bring back the voices of survivors. That is especially important as this Convention once made a real difference and acted as role model to other processes due to its strong involvement of survivors.