Multilateral Relations

Convention on Cluster Munitions - First Preparatory meeting to the Second Review Conference

Geneva, 29/06/2020 - 14:41, UNIQUE ID: 200629_7
Statements on behalf of the EU

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia[1], Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

The EU congratulates the Swiss Presidency on the assumption of its important role in the Cluster Munitions Convention. We appreciate your preparatory efforts, Mr. President, to achieve a successful and action-oriented outcome, despite these challenging times, at the Second Review Conference to be held in Lausanne from 23 to 27 November 2020.

At the outset, let me recall that the EU supports the humanitarian goal of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. We consider that at the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention, the Review Conference provides an opportunity to assess achievements and progress since the Dubrovnik Action Plan in 2015 and to agree on a new plan for States Parties to implement their outstanding obligations under the Convention.

The EU supports your proposal to work towards several consensus outcome documents: (1) a Review Document for the 2015-2020 period, (2) a Lausanne Action Plan for the period of 2021-2024, (3) a Lausanne Political Declaration and (4) institutional aspects of the Implementation Support Unit. The EU welcomes the concept note on the Lausanne Action Plan contained in the Presidency letter of 15 May 2020.

We appreciate that there have been positive developments in the implementation of the Convention, most notably on the completion of stockpile destruction and the clearance of contaminated areas, and we encourage you to build on them in the review document. In the same vein, it is important to draw lessons from the time-bound targets and reflect on the setbacks and challenges in the same document.

We agree that a robust action plan is a central task of the Review Conference and serves as a key guide for realizing the objectives set forth in the Convention for the next five years. The Action Plan should contain the relevant thematic domains, highlight cross-cutting issues, and identify concrete, realistic and measurable objectives, which promote women’s full, equal and meaningful participation. Similar to the recently adopted Oslo Action Plan of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, we wish to see dedicated action on mainstreaming gender and diversity within the Convention as well as a specific thematic section dedicated to explosive ordnance risk education.

Enhanced ownership by affected States and improved cooperation and coordination between donors and other stakeholders are essential to make our work as effective and sustainable as possible. We fully support the Country Coalition Concept, as a useful vehicle to tailor assistance to the specific needs and challenges faced by an affected State, to be included in the Action Plan.

The initial and yearly transparency reports play an important role to monitor the implementation of obligations under the Convention. It is therefore crucial that all States Parties provide these reports within the timeframe stipulated by the Convention.

Finally, continued coordination on issues of victim assistance and international cooperation with other disarmament conventions could contribute to the development of common and more efficient approaches, and guiding principles.

In conclusion, we are concerned about the impact of the recurrent financial deficit of the Convention, which has at times resulted in the absence of interpretation services and delays in the translation of documents.  The sole structural solution resides in the observance by all States Parties of their financial obligations. The payment of annual contributions is part of the commitment of each State Party to the objectives of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Without it, some objectives of the Convention may remain elusive. Thus, ahead of the Review Conference, we call on all States Parties to meet their financial obligations under the Convention in full and on time, which will allow, inter alia, the translation of documents, which is essential for effective multilateralism.

Thank you, Mr. President

[1] The Republic North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.