Geneva, Switzerland, 5 November 2007 - Secretary-General's message to the First Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons' Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War [delivered by Mr. Timothy Caughley, Deputy Secretary-General, Conference on Disarmament]I am delighted to send my greetings to this First Conference of the States Parties to Protocol V of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
Explosive remnants of war -- munitions that have failed to function as intended or which have been abandoned -- are generated in every conflict. These horrendous and silent hazards pose particular risks to civilians. They continue to endanger lives long after hostilities have ended, and hinder the socio-economic reconstruction of societies struggling to emerge from the ravages of war.
The existence of explosive remnants of war is of no military benefit. It is in the interests of all to ensure that their pernicious hazards to people and the environment are minimized and, where possible, eliminated.
Protocol V is an important tool to address the huge humanitarian and developmental effects of these deadly threats. I commend the 35 States parties that have acceded to the Protocol so far. I urge you to make best use of its provisions and ensure that it becomes a flexible and stable framework for international cooperation.
This is a unique opportunity for you, the States Parties, to advance implementation of the Protocol. For its implementation to be effective and meaningful, you will have to strongly support the clearance, removal and destruction of explosive remnants of war. You will have to share experiences and information, and cooperate closely with each other. And you will have to mobilise resources and help provide assistance to victims.
I call upon those States that have not yet done so to ratify and implement Protocol V without delay. I also call upon them, pending adherence, to apply the Protocol's provisions on a voluntary basis. I take this opportunity to remind all States of their existing obligations to ensure the effective protection of civilian populations in conflict.
As always, the United Nations stands ready to assist you in ridding the world of explosive remnants of war. In that spirit, please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.
Statements on 5 November 2007
- New York, 5 November 2007 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on fighting in Afghanistan
- New York, 5 November 2007 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on Pakistan
- The Hague, Netherlands, 5 November 2007 - Secretary-General's message to the Twelfth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention [delivered by Mr. Sergio Duarte, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs]