RP chairs 'Inhumane Weapons' meet in Geneva

(PHILIPPINES), Manila,5 May 2010 -The Philippines led the meetings of the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), also known as the "Inhumane Weapons Convention," at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a news release Wednesday.


In its report to the DFA, Philippine Mission to the United Nations in Geneva said Minister Jesus Domingo served as chairman of the CCW's Group of Government Experts (GGE) on April 12 to 16. This group seeks to develop a CCW protocol on Cluster Munitions (CMs). Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Leonidas Hidalgo of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chaired the GGE's Military and Technical Experts' Committee. The Philippines' GGE team included experts from the governments of Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Ireland. The CCW process on Cluster Munitions is separate from the Cluster Munitions Convention (CMC), which prohibits all use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of Cluster Munitions. Also known as the "Oslo Convention," the CMC enters into force this year. The CMC was adopted in Dublin by 107 states including the Philippines on May 30, 2008 and signed on December 3 of the same year in Oslo, Norway.
The CMC was negotiated outside the UN and was not signed by the major users and producers of CMs. The CCW process is within the UN system and is therefore more inclusive. A CCW protocol on the CMs would also bind the said CM users who did not join the CMC, as these states are members of the CCW. The CCW-GGE was particularly challenging given the difficulties in finding common ground between CMC signatories and CM user states. The Philippine chairmanship nevertheless was able to foster a constructive atmosphere during the meeting, through intense engagement with all delegations and the encouragement of frank and open dialogue and "out of the box" thinking. During the second week of the GGE held last April 19-23, discussion focused on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Explosive Remnants of War (ERWs).Colonel Hidalgo gave a well-received presentation on the IED situation in the Philippines, as IEDs are the most significant inhumane weapon threat to the country. The CCW-GGE will hold informal meetings in June, and its second formal session in August to September. The Philippine chairmanship of the CCW-GGE is a key element of the country's global leadership in disarmament and non-proliferation, highlighted by the Philippine Presidency of the ongoing Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference being in New York.

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