Geneva, Switzerland, 9 November 2011 - Secretary-General's message to the Fifth Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Protocol V to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons [delivered by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva]I am pleased to send greetings to all those attending the Fifth Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Protocol V to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War is a centrepiece of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. This instrument broke new ground by requiring that once hostilities have ended, explosive remnants of war must be cleared and the civilian population protected. Protocol V is rooted in the understanding that while some conflicts may be unavoidable, the long-term suffering of civilians caused by explosive remnants of war is not.
Protocol V's greatest potential is to be found in Article 4, the implementation of which also applies during armed conflict. The requirement to record, retain and share information on the use of explosive ordnance or the abandonment of explosive ordnance can accelerate the work of clearance and other mine action operations. This means that, in the aftermath of a conflict, communities can more quickly reclaim their land, livelihoods and security.
I welcome the efforts of States Parties and coordinators to implement Protocol V by sharing experiences, encouraging transparency and making the best use of limited resources for clearance, risk education and other preventive measures. I commend the innovative spirit of States Parties, for example with respect to the Web-based Information System. And I applaud the work done to address the needs of States Parties that have requested assistance and to promote best practices on victim assistance, drawing on the experiences of other relevant conventions.
Universalization will be crucial to strengthening adherence to and implementation of Protocol V's norms. While steady progress continues to be made in this direction, I urge all States Parties to do their part in promoting Protocol V.
The United Nations stands ready to fully support the implementation of this crucially important legal instrument. I wish you all the best in determining the roadmap for next year's endeavours.
Statements on 9 November 2011