What happened 10 years ago?

Key dates:

  • 30 May 2008 – Adoption of the Convention in Dublin
  • 3 December 2008 – The Convention opened for signature in Oslo

The negotiation and conclusion of an international treaty to specifically address the humanitarian issues related to cluster munitions began in Oslo, Norway, in February 2007, as what is termed to be the ‘Oslo Process’. On 23 February 2007, the Declaration of the Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions (also known as the ‘Oslo Declaration’) was adopted by 46 States, committing themselves to:

‘Conclude by 2008 a legally binding international instrument that will: (i) prohibit the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians, and (ii) establish a framework for cooperation and assistance that ensures adequate provision of care and rehabilitation to survivors and their communities, clearance of contaminated areas, risk education and destruction of stockpiles of prohibited cluster munitions.’

Following this, a series of global and regional conferences took place to discuss draft versions of the proposed international treaty and address particular themes surrounding the issue of cluster munitions. The ‘Wellington Declaration’ was adopted by 79 States in Wellington, New Zealand, on 22 February 2008, which proposed the principles that would go into the Convention, such as:

  • A prohibition on the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians, and
  • A framework for cooperation and assistance that ensures adequate provision of care and rehabilitation to survivors and their communities, clearance of contaminated areas, risk education, and destruction of stockpiles.

On 30 May 2008, the final draft of the Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted by 107 States in Dublin, Ireland. The support for the Convention was considered to be far-reaching, as 7 out of 14 States that had used cluster munitions and 17 out of 34 States that had produced them were amongst the States that adopted the treaty.

As stipulated in Article 15 of the Convention, it was opened for signature in Oslo, Norway, on 3 December 2008, and was signed by 94 States by the end of the ceremony in Oslo. To date, a total of 120 States have joined the Convention, as 104 States Parties and 16 Signatories.