23 February 2009

Take Action: Bring the Convention into Force

Today, 23 February, marks 2 years to the day since the Oslo Process began with the adoption by 46 states of the historic Oslo Declaration that mapped out the road to a ban on cluster bombs. The process has come a long way during this time: that group of 46 countries that set out in Oslo has grown and we've seen around 150 countries take at least some part in treaty discussions. This has included almost all of the affected countries. Most importantly we have secured a strong and comprehensive treaty which just 2 years after the launch of the process has been drafted, negotiated, adopted and signed by 95 countries and ratified by 4 countries. We must keep up the momentum throughout 2009 to bring the treaty into force and to make sure that more countries sign it. The main priority for the CMC is that we secure 30 ratifications as quickly as possible to make sure that the Convention enters into force swiftly. That is 26 more ratifications needed for entry into force: www.stopclustermunitions.org/treatystatus/TAKE ACTIONThis week, 23 February - 1 March, is also a week-long Action Alert for our sister campaign, the ICBL, celebrating 10 years since the Mine Ban Treaty entered into force. Many campaigners will be using this opportunity to promote the Convention on Cluster Munitions and the need to bring it into force, in addition to highlighting what still needs to be done on the Mine Ban Treaty.Some suggested actions and news on an event in New York.1) 18 March 2009: Opportunity for states to sign and ratify in New York There will be an event at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday 18 March, facilitated by UN agencies including the UN Treaty Section. All countries will be invited to participate through their missions in New York and for those countries that have not signed or ratified the Convention, they will have an opportunity to do so at this event as a group and in the spotlight of other states, civil society and media.

  • If your government hasn't yet signed the Convention - particularly those states who did not get adequate ‘full powers' to sign in Oslo, and states that adopted the Convention in Dublin but failed to sign in Oslo - please encourage them to sign at this event in a few weeks' time, if not before.
  • If your government can complete ratification procedures within the next few weeks, please encourage them to deposit their ratification instrument at this event, if not before.
  • Even if your country has signed, encourage your country's mission to the UN in New York to attend the event.
2) Adapt and send a letter to your Minister of Foreign Affairs calling on your government to sign or ratify the treaty as soon as possible (if they haven't done so already)You can find tempalte letters here: www.stopclustermunitions.org/take-action/government/We recommended that you adapt the letter so that it is appropriate to your national context. Here are some suggestions:
  • Welcome any announcements that the government has made saying it will sign the Convention soon if it hasn't yet signed, or that it will ratify the Convention quickly if it has already signed, as well as any steps already taken towards signature or ratification. If you are writing to your country about ratification, you may also want to make clear what next steps are needed to complete this procedure;
  • Highlight why it is important that this country signs/ratifies the Convention, for example if it is an affected country then it will be able to request and receive assistance to clear contaminated land and if it stockpiles then it will obligate the country to start destruction.
  • Copy the letter to all relevant people in government, parliament and civil society that can help to follow up on ensuring that the signature / ratification procedure is carried out quickly and efficiently.
  • Attach to the letters the CMC Briefing Paper on the Convention and the ‘How to' guides on signing and ratifying the Convention.
3) Contact members of parliament and engage them in your campaignCheck out the excellent new Parliamentary Action Kit online which has information on the Parliamentary Friends of the CMC network, parliamentary forums on cluster munitions, and other useful resources. Thanks so much to Portia Stratton and Landmine Action for putting this together.
  • Send letters to parliamentarians asking that they encourage your government to sign and ratify the Convention (if they haven't done so already). You can find template letters here: www.stopclustermunitions.org/take-action/mp/
4) Arrange a briefing for key government officials and parliamentarians
  • There is a range of materials to support briefings including the lobbying guides and practical information on how to sign and ratify the Convention, ratification and signature, briefing papers explaining what the treaty means, PowerPoint presentations and photo slide shows: www.stopclustermunitions.org/campaign-resources/