[Delivered by Ms. Mary Soliman, Acting Director, Geneva Branch, Office for Disarmament Affairs]
I am pleased to greet the Sixth Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. I congratulate the Netherlands for assuming the Presidency of the Meeting and for leading its preparations. I also thank Switzerland, the host country.
Over the years, States, international organizations and civil society have worked together to establish and implement a solid legal norm prohibiting the use, development, production, acquisition, transfer or stockpiling of cluster munitions. This unity has made the Convention a success.
I congratulate Colombia, which ratified during the First Review Conference last year, as well as Cuba, Mauritius, Palau and Somalia for joining the Convention most recently, bringing the number of States parties to 100. The United Nations will continue to support all efforts aimed at the universalization of the Convention.
With the adoption of the Dubrovnik Action Plan, States parties have set an ambitious path of concrete actions and specific deadlines for the Convention’s further implementation by the Second Review Conference in 2020. Actions are to be undertaken in the crucial areas of universalization, stockpile destruction, clearance and risk reduction education, victim assistance, international cooperation and assistance, transparency and national implementation measures. Our shared hope is to achieve the destruction of additional stockpiled cluster munitions, the release of previously contaminated land for productive use and, ultimately, a reduction in the number of new victims.
Ridding the world of heinous cluster munitions is a moral and humanitarian imperative. I wish you every success as you embark on your important deliberations.