The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), which was adopted in 2008 and entered into force in 2010, prohibits the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions.
It requires States Parties to clear cluster munition remnants on their territory within ten years (Article 4) and destroy stockpiles within eight years (Article 3), as well as to provide assistance to victims (Article 5).
The CCM has rapidly gained momentum and has built a strong norm against the use of cluster munitions. Sadly, however, cluster munitions still continue to be used, mainly by a small handfull of states not party to the convention. Cluster munitions were used in 2014 in South Sudan and Ukraine, and the Syrian government’s on-going use of cluster munitions since mid-2012 has left a devastating civilian casualty toll in its wake.
By the end of 2014, 24 states and three other areas were contaminated by cluster munition remnants. The good news is that most of these can clear their territory in less than five years with political will, the latest land release methodology, and adequate international support. There are only a few cases where clearance should take longer.
The States Parties to the CCM are showing an impressive commitment to rapidly implement the convention’s Article 3 obligation to destroy their stockpiles of cluster munitions. By 2014, more than 85 million submunitions, or 60% of all States Parties’ reported stocks, had already been destroyed. All of the states that have joined the CCM thus far should be able to complete stockpile destruction well in advance of the convention’s eight-year deadline. Not a single one should need to request an extension of this deadline.