FEEDBACK – The 2nd Review Conference to the Convention on Cluster Munitions reached a successful end | September 22, 2021

Screenshot of the conference hall at the 2nd Review Conference to the Convention on Cluster Munitions

The pandemic situation made it a hard job for the Swiss presidency to organize the Second Review Conference to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. What should have been an occasion of celebrating this life saving convention in Lausanne, turned out to be a delayed conference in two parts: an online working session in November 2020 […]

The pandemic situation made it a hard job for the Swiss presidency to organize the Second Review Conference to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

What should have been an occasion of celebrating this life saving convention in Lausanne, turned out to be a delayed conference in two parts: an online working session in November 2020 and a final hybrid conference, in Geneva and online, on 20th and 21st September 2021.

The special situation resulted also in a rather small number of participants. Around 45 states were represented in the UN conference-hall, 15 more were taking part on the virtual platform. As usual UN-organisations, ICRC and civil society were well represented. Many were following on UN web-TV – a possibility especially for  worldwide campaigners to join the conference without travelling. What was missing of course were not just celebrations but also the possibility to meet and exchange, especially between states and civil society.

Therefore video recordings from campaigners had to send strong messages to the states parties. At the end of the conference youth campaigners from all over the world urged states to keep up the momentum and strengthen their efforts to reach a world without cluster munitions. In the beginning already CMC-ambassador Branislav Kapetanovic, survivor from Serbia, addressed the conference with important words:

The Review Conference must send a clear message: All cluster munitions are bad…all use of cluster munitions by anyone, anywhere, at any time, is unacceptable & must be clearly and strongly condemned.”

This message relates to the fact that cluster munitions continue to be used by non State Parties – so in recent times in Syria, Yemen and Nagorno-Karabakh. To strengthen the relevance and effect of the Convention, it is very important that States Parties condemn any use of these weapons. But at the last review conference in Dubrovnik 2015, there was already a strong dispute about the exact formulation ending in a final political declaration that was not carried by all states parties. Thus it can be seen as a big success of the Suisse president that the 2nd Review Conference now ended with the unanimous adoption of final documents in which a compromise paragraph still formulates a clear condemnation of any use of cluster munitions by any actor.

Even more important the states parties can continue their work, now guided by a strong and detailed Lausanne Action Plan that was adopted at the end of the 2nd Review Conference. Many stakeholders including members of the Cluster Munition Coalition like HI have strongly contributed to this text. An important part of the plans relates to effective victim assistance which also means participation and inclusion of cluster munition survivors.

Participation and inclusion are also key wishes of a survivor from Laos, Lith Souda, whose video message was distributed by HI during the conference.

 

The 2nd Review Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions ended with the handing over of presidency to the representative of the UK who will organize the 10th states parties conference in 2022, followed by Iraq in 2023.  


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