Geneva, Switzerland

15 November 2012

Secretary-General's message to meeting of High Contracting Parties to Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons [delivered by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)]

I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at the Meeting of High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.  A key strength of the Convention is its responsiveness to humanitarian issues raised by developments in weapon technologies and armed conflicts.  In this context, let me raise three issues of concern to the United Nations.

First, in my last report to the Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, I welcomed the work carried out on anti-vehicle mines this year under the aegis of the Convention.  I strongly urge High Contracting Parties to continue to explore all possible avenues for ensuring that these weapons no longer harm civilians, impede the delivery of humanitarian aid or obstruct social and economic development.  In doing so, I encourage Parties to consider the views and field experiences of United Nations entities. 

Second, I have repeatedly expressed dismay about the often devastating humanitarian impact of using explosive weapons in populated areas.  Explosive weapons that cannot be directed against individual targets, or those that affect a wide area – owing to the use of multiple explosives, the scale of blast and fragmentation, or the inaccuracy of delivery -- present a significant risk to civilians.  I repeat my call for more focused attention on this issue by all actors.  

Third, the Convention’s achievements in terms of prohibiting or restricting the use of incendiary weapons, blinding laser weapons and weapons that injure by non-detectable fragments should not be taken for granted.  I urge Parties to increase efforts to raise awareness and strengthen these rules.

Progress on these three matters is integral to the Convention’s long term effectiveness.  I call on all States that have not yet done so to ratify or otherwise accede to the Convention and all its protocols.  I also appeal to all High Contracting Parties to consent to be bound by those protocols to which they are not yet party.

Against this background, I very much welcome your Accelerated Plan of Action on Universalization and the commitment to increase the transparency of reporting under the Convention’s Compliance Mechanism.  I wish you a successful meeting.