Ambassador Steffen Kongstad, President of 3MSP and Permanent Representative of Norway to UN and Other International Organisations in Geneva, said at the opening ceremony that the first few years of the Convention have been successful. “The use of cluster munitions has practically stopped, larger quantities than expected of stockpiles have been destroyed and the international market for munitions of this kind has virtually disappeared”, he said. Updates from States Parties during the plenary sessions at the Meeting confirmed that the Convention is being implemented at an impressive rate. Nine countries have joined the Convention over the last year.
During the Norwegian Presidency, efforts were made to address the concerns of states affected by cluster munitions that have yet to become States parties to the Convention. The Presidency made a ten-day trip to Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia and to State party Lao PDR and visited Serbia and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In the coming two years, Norway will continue to work for universalization of the Convention, through its role as Coordinator of Universalization together with Ghana.
The tenure of the 3MSP Presidency also saw the first sustained and intended use of cluster munitions since the Convention’s adoption in 2008. Ambassador Kongstad has condemned the use of cluster munitions in the Syrian Arab republic on several occasions over the last 12 months. While acknowledging the tragedy this use constitutes for the affected civilian population, he said he was encouraged by the great number of states that have actively supported the Convention over the past year, expressly condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria. He moreover stated that “such reactions underscore the global support enjoyed by the Convention on Cluster Munitions and reflect the strength of the norm that has been established, despite the unacceptable actions that have taken place in the ongoing Syrian conflict”.
More information about the meeting can be found here
Ambassador Kongstad’s statement at the high-level opening ceremony can be found here, and his statement during the official opening of the meeting here.