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Daily Update: Thursday 15 May

Opening of the meeting

The meeting of the Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction was convened by its Co-Chairs, Mr. René Haug of Switzerland and Mr. Radu Horumba of Romania, with the support of its Co-Rapporteurs, Mr. Luigi Scotto of Italy and Mr. Carlos J. Arroyave of Guatemala. In accordance with the President's Action Programme of the Fourth Meeting of the State Parties (4MSP), the Co-Chairs indicated their desire that the Standing Committee focus its attention on State Parties updating information concerning the deadlines for stockpile destruction.

Overview of the status of implementation

The Co-Chairs introduced a document that highlighted progress in the implementation of Article 4. They noted that while all States Parties that had a 1 March 2003 to destroy stockpiled AP mines had communicated that they had done so, important challenges remain. The ICBL presented a general overview of the progress made since the last meeting. According to the ICBL, more than 30 million AP mines have been destroyed, 48 State Parties have completed their destruction programmes, and 93 States Parties are free of AP mine stocks. The ICBL noted that with respect to mines retained in accordance with Article 3, 54 State Parties decided not to retain any mines, 1 State Party decided to keep almost 70'000 mines, 11 States Parties are retaining more than 5,000, 30 States Parties between 1,000 and 5,000 and 20 States Parties less than 1,000.

National updates on implementation

In keeping with past practice, the Co-Chairs dedicated the majority of the meeting's time to national updates on implementation:

  • Djibouti, Japan, Mozambique, Brazil, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Portugal, Jordan, Slovenia, Thailand and El Salvador have declared to have completed their stockpile destruction since the last meeting.

  • Uganda, with a destruction deadline of 1 August 2003, declared that it will be able to destroy its stockpiles in time with the assistance from the UNDP and Canada.

  • Venezuela, with a deadline of 1 October 2003, declared that it started recently the stockpile destruction process and expects to complete it before June 2003.

  • The following States Parties, which have deadlines in 2004 and beyond, provided updates: Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Romania, Tanzania, Uruguay and Zambia. Most of them seem to be confident in achieving their goals. Argentina and Chile stated that they will complete stockpile destruction before the end of 2003.

  • Guinea-Bissau presented its destruction programme and requested international financial support in order to complete the stockpile destruction.

  • Uruguay announced that it would complete stockpile destruction in September 2003.

  • One State not Party, Belarus, declared that it has 4 million stockpiled anti-personnel mines and that in 2003 it plans to destroy 100,000 units. It also requested financial assistance.

  • One armed non-state actor, representing a Somali faction, made a presentation on the complexities of the mine problem in Somalia. It stated that it has signed a commitment with the Geneva Call and that it seeks international assistance for the destruction of 3,000 stockpiles mines and for demining operations.  

Assistance and Co-operation in the area of stockpile destruction

Bangladesh and Senegal requested financial assistance for the implementation of the Convention and reaffirmed their commitment to fulfil their obligations. Italy reaffirmed its willingness to assist other countries in their destruction processes.^

Destruction of PFM mines

With respect to PFM-1 landmines, the GICHD, Bulgaria and Ukraine gave technical presentations on the destruction of such mines. The European Commission and the UNDP provided updates on their efforts in this area. The ICRC reported on the mine action seminar which took place in the February in Kiev.

Food for thought paper

The Co-Chairs recalled that a "food for thought" paper was distributed in February outlining several issues related to post stockpile destruction measures. The GICHD offered its services with respect to retaining the knowledge base on stockpile destruction experiences. The ICBL expressed several views with respect to the Co-Chairs' papers. With respect to the declaration of the completion of the stockpile destruction and of AP mines retained in accordance with Article 3, the United Nations made some constructive suggestions concerning the proper use of Forms B and D in Article 7 Reports.