Thank you Mr. President,
As this is the first time my delegation is taking the floor, please allow me to commend the work and commitment of your Presidency to the principles of the Convention as well as the work of the Coordinators the Philippines and Spain and the ISU and welcome the reintroduction of the Intersessional Meetings for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. NPA is committed to promoting Universalisation of the Convention and was delighted to take part in the Workshop in Abuja providing expert clearance input from an operator perspective in support of the Universalisation efforts.
More than fifteen years since the start of the Oslo process, and over ten years since entry into force, we continue to be reminded of the success as well as the importance of the provisions laid out in the Convention. However, with new wars we have seen the use of prohibited weapons, namely in Ukraine, with the threat of cluster munitions increasing and working against decades of efforts we have been investing to put a stop to their harm. This is unacceptable; civilians must be protected at all times. Cluster munitions are indiscriminate wide area weapons which cause tremendous harm to civilians, causing displacement, destroying infrastructure, hindering humanitarian access and leaving grave consequences long after a conflict is over. These weapons are banned for a reason by this very Convention we have gathered around today and as such their use by any actor, anywhere, must be condemned.
We welcome the condemnations on the use of cluster munitions over the course of the past couple of months in relation to the war in Ukraine, heard from both states parties and those not party to the Convention. However, words are not enough to put a stop on suffering from cluster munitions use.
To attach meaning to the words and defend the principles and norms set out in the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the thirteen signature states that have not yet ratified the Convention, should do so without further delay and states not party to the Convention should accede to it without hesitation.
We also call on the affected states parties to fully implement the Lausanne Action Plan and do so in a gender and diversity sensitive manner to ensure needs of all are met.
Furthermore, we urge states parties to fulfil their clearance obligations as soon as possible, without delay, especially in those states with low contamination and sufficient resources to address it.
NPA as an operator with present cluster munition operations in eight countries around the world, we would also like to underline the importance of maintaining support for our collective efforts to rid the world of cluster munition remnants. Humanitarian mine action operations should remain a priority to protect civilians from these indiscriminate weapons, enable safe and sustainable return of displaced persons, as well as enable access for other humanitarian, reconstruction, and development efforts. We must jointly promote the norms set out by this Convention; encourage states to join and fulfil the Convention obligations; use Country Coalitions more widely and more actively as a proven method to enhance coordination and implementation; promote and implement the Lausanne Action Plan;and increase our efforts to protect civilians from cluster munition remnants in a concerted approach as affected states, donors, and operators to ensure reinforcement and continued success of this Convention.
Thank you, Mr. President.