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The German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) hosted the Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions at the Hilton Hotel, Berlin, from 25 to 26 June 2009. The Conference was co-hosted by the Royal Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and supported by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), as well as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

One of the key obligations of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) is the destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions (Article 3), which States Parties will have to complete within 8 years after the entry into force of the Convention. The provisions on retention of cluster munitions (Article 3), on international cooperation and assistance (Article 6) and on transparency (Article 7) are directly related to the issue of the destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions.

Given the technical challenges posed by the destruction of cluster munitions and the short deadline to complete the task, the German Federal Foreign Office decided to organise the Berlin Conference to define key challenges related to destruction, and to provide guidelines and recommendations to complete the obligation of Article 3. The conference gathered more than 270 experts on the issue of stockpile destruction, representatives of signing States as well as international organisations, NGOs and companies working in this field.

About the Convention on Cluster Munitions

As of June 2009, a total of 98 States have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, and 10 of them have ratified it. The Convention prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of these weapons. It will enter into force six months after the 30th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Download the Convention text PDF 320KB

Objectives of the Berlin Conference

In order to support the timely implementation of the Convention’s obligations, the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), together with the Royal Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, have organized a conference dealing with the particular challenge of the destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions, and to look at the issue of retention of cluster munitions for training purposes (Article 3), of international cooperation and assistance (Article 6 §5) as well as of reporting (Article 7).

The time limit foreseen in the CCM for stockpile destruction is 8 years. Having in mind the cost and technical complexity of this task, as well as the lessons learned during the implementation of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC), the GFFO considered an early approach to the issue as essential for a successful implementation of the CCM. This event allowed experts to share knowledge and experience, and thus to provide States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions with guidance and broader information on the issue of cluster munitions’ destruction.

Agenda of the Conference

In order to best face the challenges which will be encountered in the implementation of Article 3 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the agenda included the following topics:

1) recent developments regarding the ban on Cluster Munitions
2) destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions
3) national planning, reporting and international cooperation
4) retention of cluster munitions

For further details on the issues tackled during the conference as well as on the presentations and statements made during the various sessions, please check the Conference Documents page.

Moreover, please note that a publication summarising the discussions and conclusions of the conference will be released by the end of July. This document will be downloadable on this website.