Second Review Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), virtual from Geneva, 25-27 November 2020 [first part].
Statement delivered by Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith, Permanent Representative of Norway
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First, let me thank Switzerland and yourself, Mr. President, for your steadfast leadership. The pandemic has erected significant hurdles, which you have navigated well. We stand behind the decisions made, and look forward to continue the work of the Review Conference in the two separate parts.
Thank you also to the Coordination Committee members, the Working Group coordinators and the Implementation Support Unit for your hard work. Finally, I want to express my gratitude to partners and friends in the mine action community working relentlessly to protect lives and to lay the foundation for development and prosperity.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions is a key humanitarian tool. By design, cluster munitions kill and mutilate indiscriminately. Almost exclusively civilians. Unexploded bomblets menace societies and hinder development for decades.
With 110 states parties, the Convention sends a clear message: there is no acceptable use of this inhumane weapon. Yet, we still see instances of new use. And with more than 2,500 square kilometers [km2] of contaminated land worldwide, the legacy of previous use is still haunting parts of the world. Moreover, the threat represented by stockpiles in 49 non-states parties is unacceptable.
Universalization of this convention is key to protect the life and livelihood of those who have borne the brunt of conflict.
We have fallen short of our goal of 130 states parties by 2020. In partnership we will have to work even harder to reaching this goal. In addition, we must work to ensure that the norms are upheld by all. We much welcome the working paper of the universalization coordinators in this regard.
To be credible advocates, we must get our own house in order. We must eliminate the stockpiles in our own ranks, and double down on our clearing obligations in line with the best-practice of the International Mine Action Standards – IMAS.
I am happy to say that there is hope and also good news. Since 2010, close to 800 square kilometers [km2] of contaminated land and almost 1 million submunitions havebeen cleared. No single year has seen more land cleared from cluster remnants than we saw in 2019. This is encouraging, and we commend the national mine and cluster munitions programmes and the mine operators.
We are also strongly encouraged by the establishment of a Mine Action Forum in Lebanon during this review period. In our experience, a regular, in-country technical and policy dialogue between the relevant stakeholders is essential to promote efficient operations. We welcome the “Country Coalition” concept also in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as steps in this direction in other countries. We urge all donors to support the establishment of regular dialogue on remaining challenges to completion in all affected countries.
By keeping up the pressure, we can ensure that contaminated land is transformed into areas of opportunity. Abandoned fields can become prosperous. And in the meantime, by ensuring effective and inclusive risk education for affected communities, we can do our best to prevent new casualties.
On this note, we welcome the prominent position that the draft Lausanne Action Plan accords to risk education – in a separate chapter of its own. Similarly, we believe that the focus on gender and diversity in Actions 3 and 4 are examples of best-practice.
There are concerns that the financing of the mine sector is at risk. We urge our fellow States Parties to maintain funding for mine action, including affected states making this a national priority.
Norway remains a consistent partner in mine action. As we join the Security Council from 1 January, protection of civilians will be one of our core priorities. This includes protection from land mines, cluster munition and explosive weapons.
There are close links between the Mine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Last year we adopted the Oslo Action Plan. We have already seen the value of using clear indicators and baselines to measure progress and to be held accountable for our engagement.
The Dubrovnik Action Plan has been a guiding tool for implementing our obligations under this Convention for the past years. We are now ready for new commitments. We believe the Lausanne Action Plan will be an effective instrument to ensure efficient implementation in the five coming years.