A cluster munition consists of a hollow shell that is dropped from the air or fired from the ground. It breaks open in mid-air and releases smaller bombs, or submunitions, that can number in the hundreds and saturate areas as wide as several football fields. This means that everyone in those areas, including civilians, run the risk of being harmed or even killed. The smaller explosive submunitions also sometimes fail to detonate immediately, leaving them capable of killing or maiming at random even long after a conflict has ended.
Convention on Cluster Munitions
The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) prohibits under any circumstances the use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, as well as the assistance or encouragement of anyone to engage in prohibited activities. The Convention provides a comprehensive international response to the suffering caused by the use of cluster munitions and their remnants, to prevent the proliferation and future use of these weapons.
The CCM opened for signature in Oslo on 3 December 2008 and entered into force on 1 August 2010.
The text of the Convention is available for download in the six official UN languages:
The Geneva Branch of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs carries out the responsibilities entrusted to the UN Secretary-General under the terms of the Convention, including:
- Collection and dissemination of transparency reports by and to the States Parties (Art.7);
- Facilitation of clarification of compliance (Art. 8); and
- Convening Meetings of States Parties and Review Conferences (Art. 11 and 12 and relevant United Nations General Assembly resolutions).
The United Nations Secretary-General is also the depositary of the Convention and regularly calls on countries to consider joining the treaty.
The CCM’s Implementation Support Unit (ISU) is hosted outside the United Nations and provides technical support and advice to States parties and States not party, serving as the interface between national authorities and the international community on issues related to the implementation of the treaty.
For information on the implementation of the Convention, visit the CCM Implementation Support Unit.