The Africa Regional Convention on Cluster Munitions Universalization Workshop was held at the Sheraton Abuja Hotel, in Abuja, Nigeria, from 23 to 24 March 2022. Representatives from eight of the nine Signatory African States and two States not Party supported by four African States Parties met to discuss CCM universalization and implementation in the region. The workshop co-hosted by the governments of Nigeria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom was organized with the logistical and technical support of the CCM Implementation Support Unit (ISU). United Kingdom in its role as the Presidency of the 10th Meeting of States Parties to be held in August 2022 and Switzerland as the immediate past president of the CCM Second Review Conference (2RC) also participated in the workshop. Workshop resource persons were representatives of the United Kingdom, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the ISU.
The workshop presented an opportunity to promote the universalization of the CCM to all African Signatory states and a few selected States not Party as they are considered as likely members since most of them are states that have never produced, used, possessed cluster munitions and/or been contaminated by them with only a few reporting to have cluster munition contamination and/or holding small stocks. This workshop provided the platform for the States to further their understanding of the Convention and discuss challenges and solutions to joining and implementing it with the anticipation that this would help Signatory and States not Parties undertake the necessary efforts towards ratification or accession in the lead up to the 10th Meeting of States Parties of the Convention (10MSP) scheduled to take place from 30 August to 2 September 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The workshop provided a brief as well as an in-depth overview of the Convention’s key provisions and outlined the extensive range of technical support, tools and resources available to assist States not yet party in their ratification or accession process and implementation of the treaty thereafter. Three of the four African States Parties present were invited to share their experiences in overcoming obstacles to joining and implementing the Convention. Signatory and States not Party in attendance were also invited to give updates on the status of any plans to join the Convention and shared the specific obstacles and challenges faced in doing so. Resources and expert advice on the Convention’s key operational obligations and on national ratification and domestication were provided to the participants throughout the two days. A military-to-military exchange session strictly open to military personnel only was held on the afternoon of Day 2 of the programme.
The workshop ended with each state represented sharing its one key takeaway from the workshop to aid it in moving forward the national status on Universalization and Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions.