By DR. ROBERT MTONGA, ICBL-CMC Governance Board and Zambia Campaign Member
Zambia is calling all States to its shores for the 4th Meeting of States Parties (4MSP) to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) being held in Lusaka, Zambia’s Capital City from 9-13 September 2013. It is especially calling the 112 States that have joined the CCM to come in full force to the meeting.
The 4MSP Local Organizing Committee has been working round the clock for close to a year now, leaving no stone unturned, to ensure a smooth and fruitful meeting.
The hotels for the delegates, the conference venue, the majestic Government Complex and transportation arrangements are ready and all systems are go as of 9 September 2013.
The Zambian Republican President, His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, will be the Guest of Honor on Monday 9 September 2013 when an opening ceremony, has been planned.
The online registration has been encouraging. As of Friday 30 August 2013, over 400 delegates had registered. Among those that have registered are 12 Ministers who will take part in a special high-level segment of the 4MSP.
Under the theme Universalization, Zambia is expecting States yet to join the convention to do so. Forty-two of Africa’s fifty-four States have joined the convention since December 2008. There are 12 African States still hesitating between joining and remaining outside the convention. Lusaka offers these states a chance to stand up and be counted. This is Africa’s time. This is their time. Their hour has come.
More generally all states need to swim ashore. The 83 States Parties to the CCM must make it their business to ensure that those that have signed and not ratified as well as those that need to accede to the CCM do so sooner rather than later. The attending Ministers must make it their business also to ensure their states, their regions and their cooperating partners come on board within the shortest possible time.
States descending upon Lusaka must also pack punches to condemn use of this banned weapon. Syria must come up for condemnation for using cluster munitions (and Chemical Weapons for that matter). This is the only way to curtail bad behavior and promote the norm globally.
Lusaka should also be a place for States’ Parties to the CCM to review progress made to date. It is great that over 70 per cent of the cluster munitions that were stockpiled by States Parties have been destroyed and clearance work in contaminated regions and places is progressing steadily. May those that have the wherewithal to offer assistance and cooperation do so proactively for those less resourced in order to make the CCM every nation’s convention.