24 June 2009

The new international convention banning cluster bombs is already delivering results, as signatories plan the destruction of these indiscriminate weapons even before it has entered into force, said the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) on the eve of a major international conference in Berlin.

On 25 and 26 June 2009, delegations from more than 80 countries will meet in the German capital to discuss plans for stockpile destruction. The event will allow experts to share knowledge and experience, and thus to provide signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions with guidance and broader information on the issue of cluster munitions’ destruction.

Since the Convention on Cluster Munitions opened for signature in December 2008 in Oslo, 98 countries have already signed and 10 have ratified it. The treaty will enter into force 6 months after the 30th ratification is deposited at the United Nations in New York.

Early initiatives on the implementation of the treaty are very encouraging. “As representatives from civil society, we are thrilled to witness the continued momentum behind the ban and the desire from many countries to relegate cluster bombs to history,” said Thomas Nash, Co-ordinator of the CMC. “This meeting in Berlin and the attendance of so many countries show that the treaty is more than words on paper. Signatories are determined to implement it.”

The Convention obliges signatory states to destroy their stockpiles of the weapon as soon as possible but no later than 8 years after entry into force. 31 out of 32 signatories that still possess stockpiles of the weapon are expected to be in Berlin this week showing their willingness to start destruction soon and abide by the treaty deadline. More than a dozen countries have already started – and Spain has even finished – destroying their stockpiles.