I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at this first Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This is an opportunity to celebrate achievements, confront challenges and set the course for the future.
I congratulate the Republic of Croatia on its assumption of the Presidency of the First Review Conference. This is an appropriate recognition of the country’s historic support for the Convention and diligent work to implement its provisions.
The Convention stands as a resounding success story for the international community. In just five years since its entry into force, 95 States have acceded or ratified the Convention, including nearly half of those States affected by these weapons.
I take this opportunity to congratulate Belize, Canada, Congo, Guinea, Guyana, Iceland, Paraguay, Rwanda, Slovakia, South Africa and the State of Palestine for joining the Convention in the last twelve months. I urge those States that have not done so to become parties to the Convention as soon as possible. The growing number of States parties strengthens the global prohibition never to use, develop, produce, acquire, transfer or stockpile cluster munitions.
There has already been remarkable progress. States parties have destroyed more than 80 per cent of their reported cluster munition stockpiles and demonstrated clear progress in the clearance and destruction of cluster munition remnants under their jurisdiction and control.
I am pleased to note that the Convention has also established the highest standards for assistance to cluster munition victims, and for their social and economic inclusion.
The Convention is the result of an effective coalition among States, international organizations and civil society. It is a clear example of what we can achieve when we work together towards a common goal. I congratulate you on these accomplishments.
At the same time, we recognize that our mission is far from over. I will continue to be vigilant in monitoring all allegations of use of cluster munitions. The United Nations stands ready to provide all necessary support in your essential work.
In this spirit, I wish you great success.