This is the fifth blog post in a series looking at an array of issues in 2019 related to weapons use, the arms trade and security assistance, at times offering recommendations.
In 2018 there were advances in the universalization and implementation of the CCM. Namibia, Gambia, and Sri Lanka became States Parties. The latter, immediately after joining the Convention declared its interest and availability to preside over it, so following the Nicaraguan Presidency of the 8th Meeting of States Parties, in September 2018, the South Asian country’s candidacy was unanimously supported for it to preside over the 2019 (9th) Meeting of States Parties.
There are now 105 States Parties and 15 Signatories to CCM.
Meanwhile, Croatia, Cuba, Slovenia and Spain completed the destruction of their stockpiled cluster munitions.
At the UN General Assembly’s First Committee, the resolution on the CCM continues receiving important political support, even by states not parties. Also 2018 saw an interesting swing, with Russia changing its vote from “no”, to abstention.
2018 also marked the 10th anniversary of the adoption in Dublin of the CCM—and of its signing in Oslo—, and the 15th anniversary of the Cluster Munition Coalition.
With respect to MBT, the number of its States Parties has risen to 164, that is, about 85 percent of all UN Member States, as Palestine and Sri Lanka joined the Treaty towards the end of December 2017. In both cases, entry into force took place on 1 June 2018.
At the 17th Meeting of States Parties, under the Presidency of Afghanistan, in November, Oman announced the fulfillment of its MBT obligations of destroying its stockpiled antipersonnel landmines. Also, from the MENA region, Mauritania became the 31st country to declare itself mine-free. Meanwhile, Ukraine participated at the 17MSP having belatedly presented its request for an extension of the deadline for the completion of the destruction of stockpiled antipersonnel landmines.
2019 is a special year in the life of the MBT, as it marks the 20th anniversary of entry into force (1 March). Also, the 4th Review Conference of the Treaty will take place, under the Norwegian Presidency, in Oslo. As in the three previous RevCons, an action plan could be expected.
Given existing trends on the use of improvised landmines in conflict areas, one could expect that we will continue having high numbers of victims, at least into the early part of 2019.
Of course, one wonders if among the expectations for 2019, should we not expect more decisive reactions from the international community to increase the very low share (2%) victim assistance receives from the total of international and national support for mine action, abiding by the principles and spirit of humanitarian disarmament. Could 2019 be a year when tougher stances are taken against those states missing their MBT deadlines, or moving from one extension request to the other, with deadlines beyond 2025, the year agreed upon by MBT States Parties under the Maputo Action Plan to complete their respective time-bound obligations according to the Treaty?
With the Second CCM Review Conference around the corner (2020), 2019 could be a year when a series of states, in particular from among the 15 signatories (including Angola, Haiti, Jamaica, Philippines or Cyprus) could take the necessary steps to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions and participate in the 2RevCon as States Parties.
The two RevCons will present an opportunity to define where the treaties are and what is the state of the measures taken to reach a mine- and cluster munition-free world, given the 2025 and 2030 aspirational targets of the Maputo and Dubrovnik Action plans, respectively. The question is: Will we get to the point where no more lives, limbs and livelihoods are lost, in our lifetime, or will that ideal remain a mirage of politically-correct words stated by diplomats in conference rooms?
Hector Guerra is the director of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines-Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC)