The Meeting of the States Parties to the CCW
The Meeting of the States parties to the CCW was held in Geneva on 18 and 19 November under the chairmanship of Gordan Markoti (Croatia). Its main task was to consider the Report of the Group of Governmental Experts of the States parties to the Convention, including the recommendations contained therein on the mandates of the two working groups for further work in 2005, as well as the recommendations to consider the issue on possible options to promote compliance with the Convention and its annexed Protocols and to consider matters pertaining to the preparation of the Third Review Conference. Sixty-nine States Parties1
to the Convention participated in the Meeting along with six Signatory States2
and one State, which had deposited its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval of or accession, but for which the Convention has not yet entered into force.3
Seventeen States not parties to the Convention attended as observers.4
Representatives of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as well as a number of other international and non-govenrmental organizations also attended the Meeting.
In his message to the Meeting, the Secretary-General underscored the importance of full implementation of and universal adherence to the CCW. He expressed particular concern over MOTAPM and remained hopeful that the Group would soon be able to recommend to States parties the strongest possible commitment on this particular issue. He also appealed to the States parties to consider further steps that could be taken to prevent weapons from becoming explosive remnants of war and to minimize their devastating humanitarian impact. He praised the three States parties that had ratified Protocol V on ERW and hoped that more ratifications would follow for the Protocol's early entry into force.
During the consideration of the report of the Group's work and general exchange of views, 25 delegations made statements.5
A representative of the ICRC also participated in the discussion. Many participants pointed to the considerable humanitarian hazard caused by the irresponsible use of MOTAPM and underlined that after years of consideration the issue was ripe for codification. Although they recognized the existence of different approaches on how best to address the various aspects of the MOTAPM problem, the majority of States parties expressed strong support for commencing negotiations on prohibitions and restrictions on their use. Several countries, however, thought that the issue still needed further study and reiterated their readiness to consider it within the present mandate. Support was also expressed for a continuation of the ERW discussion.
Moreover, in discussions on the issue of the third review conference, several delegations6
gave their support to a timely commencement of the preparations for the conference.
With a view to future work, the Meeting adopted new mandates for the two working groups to continue their work in 2005.7
Regarding ERW, the Group would continue to consider, including through participation of legal experts, the implementation of existing principles of international humanitarian law. It would also further study, on an open-ended basis, with particular emphasis on meetings of military and technical experts, possible preventive measures aimed at improving the design of certain specific types of munitions, including submunitions, with a view to minimizing the humanitarian risk of these munitions becoming explosive remnants of war. Information exchanges, assistance and cooperation would be part of this work. On the issue of MOTAPM, the Group would continue to consider all proposals put forward since the establishment of the GGE with the aim of elaborating appropriate recommendations for submission to the next Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention. Meetings of military experts would also be convened to provide advice on these activities.
The Meeting further decided that the Chairperson-designate of the Meeting of the States Parties in 2005 should undertake consultations during the intersessional period on possible options to promote compliance with the Convention and its annexed Protocols, as well as on the preparation of the Third Review Conference and should report to the next Meeting of the States Parties on both matters.
The States parties decided to redesignate Gordan Markoti (Croatia) as Chairperson of the Meeting of the States Parties in 2005, and reappointed Jayant Prasad (India) as Coordinator on Explosive Remnants of War and Markku Reimaa (Finland) as Coordinator on Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines. The Group would hold its tenth, eleventh and twelfth sessions from 7 to 11 March, 2 to 12 August and 14 to 22 November 2005, respectively.
See Report of the Meeting of States Parties to CCW (CCW/MSP/2004/2). This and all documents on the CCW are available from http://disarmament.un.org/cab.
Japan, Netherlands (on behalf of the European Union) and South Africa.