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Global conference on cluster bomb ban ends with even more States pledging to join the treaty

16 Sep 2011

Lebanon—Friday 16 September 2011 marked the end of the week long Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, under the presidency of Lebanon’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions comprehensively bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, sets strict deadlines for clearance of contaminated areas and destruction of stockpiles of the weapon, and includes groundbreaking provisions for assistance to victims and affected communities.

Representatives from 131 States and entities, and 60 national and international organizations attended the conference with one aim in mind: to advance the progress made to implement and universalize the treaty.On the first day of the conference, Swaziland became the 63rd State Party to the Convention and Cameroon is expected to do the same in the coming days.

The general exchange of views resonated strong support for the humanitarian goals of the Convention with more than 40 non-signatory states and entities expressing the imperative of addressing the harm caused by cluste rmunitions. The Beirut Progress Report presented at the meeting reported on good progress in clearance, stockpile destruction and victim assistance in many o fthe affected states, but also emphasized the need to do more. Collaboration between affected states was also highlighted during the meeting, clearly indicating an increased interest for South-South cooperation to overcome the scourge of cluster munitions.

Recalling State Parties’ commitments made under the five-year Vientiane Action Plan to progress clearance and stockpiledestruction, expand coverage of services for victims and survivors and increase the level of resources provided for these tasks, the Beirut Declaration was adopted by consensus in the closing session of the Meeting stating that “we are compelled to do more, for as long as people remain at risk, to accomplish our collective goal – a world free of cluster munitions”.

Earlier this week, several hundred of the 1,000 participant sheaded to Nabatiyeh and Sarafand in Southern Lebanon to witness firsthand affected areas and to observe clearance and risk education, victim assistance and rehabilitation activities in South Lebanon. Five years after the 2006 conflict, only one third of the land contaminated in 2006 still remains to be cleared.

International and national civil society organizations highlighted their work in mine action, mine risk reduction and victim assistance and a number of side events added to the rich discussions held in Beirut thisweek.

At the end of the Meeting, a press conference attended by Ambassador Najla Assaker on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants and the President of the Second Meeting, Dr. Adnan Mansour, highlighted the adoption of the Beirut Declaration and the main outcomes of the meeting accompanied by the United Nations Resident Coordinator Robert Watkins,the Head of delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Jurg Montani and the Chairman of the Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC) SteveGoose.