On 12 October 2018, the Sri Lankan Mission in coordination with the CCM Implementation Support Unit (ISU) organized a side event on “Convention of Cluster Munitions (CCM) universalization: Asia-Pacific region”. The event was targeted at States not yet party to the CCM, giving them an overview of the convention and what their obligations would be under the convention. It also offered insights into the work the ISU and the actions State Parties have taken to support the convention.
Opening the session, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez (Sri Lanka) reflected on his country’s progress from recognizing the benefits of the convention and joining it in March 2018, to taking over the presidency of the convention just six months later in September. He was followed by Sheila Mweemba, Director of the ISU, who gave an introductory presentation on the CCM. She pointed out the good track record of countries adhering to the provisions of the treaty, clarified that joining the treaty put minimal financial burdens on States, and stressed the extensive support available to ratifying States through the ISU and fellow State Parties. Such support included military-to-military dialogues between State Parties and interested states and a system whereby States coordinated support on specific subject areas. The representative of New Zealand which coordinates national implementation measures confirmed their commitment at the meeting, inviting any interested States to utilize their support.
The representative of Vietnam expressed interest in joining the CCM but raised concerns over the deadline for decontaminating areas from cluster munition remnants. Vietnam suffered from such extensive contamination that it stated it would need significantly longer to clear remnants of war. In response, Ms. Mweemba called it an exceptional case but pointed to the similar situation of Laos, a CCM State Party. She stressed the awareness of State Parties and the ISU in such cases and the support Laos was receiving to tackle decontamination.
Drafted by Ruben Nicolin