Excellencies and Distinguished Colleagues,
On behalf of the Co-Chairs of the Standing Committees established by the States Parties to the Convention, it is our pleasure to invite you to participate in the second session of the 2003-2004 meetings of the Standing Committees. These meetings will take place as follows:
21-25 June 2004
The June meetings will be significant because they will be our last chance prior to the First Review Conference to maximize the potential of this unique informal forum. When the Intersessional Work Programme was established in May 1999, it was intended to "engage a broad international community for the purpose of advancing the achievement of the humanitarian aims of the Convention." The Intersessional Programme increasingly has lived up to this promise. However, with five days of meetings ahead of us in June, let us achieve an even greater success.
We must recall that the Fifth Meeting of the States Parties "called upon States Parties requiring assistance for mine clearance, those requiring assistance in meeting the needs of landmine victims, and those in the process of destroying stockpiled anti-personnel mines to ensure that prior to the First Review Conference plans are in place consistent with the Convention's deadlines, to take concrete steps to implement these plans, and to use the opportunity presented by the Intersessional Work Programme to present their problems, plans, progress and priorities for assistance."
The Co-Chairs have again responded to this call by establishing agendas that provide mine-affected States Parties and those in the process of destroying stockpiles with sufficient opportunities to share information on their plans and needs for assistance. In addition, the Co-Chairs have provided opportunities for other States and relevant organizations to highlight how they can support implementation of the Convention on the part of those who may require assistance.
The 5MSP also called upon States Parties "to continue to share information and views, particularly with respect to articles 1, 2 and 3, with a view to developing understandings on various matters by the First Review Conference." In addition, the 5MSP issued calls related to resource mobilization, universalization and timely reporting in accordance with Article 7 of the Convention. The relevant Co-Chairs have heeded these calls by providing a forum for the States Parties and others, in an informal manner, to share views on these matters.
Enclosed you will find a programme for the June meetings of the Standing Committees. Because it is essential that we maximize the limited time available to us, in keeping with past practice you will note that the programme does not incorporate a general exchange of views. It is essential that beginning on the morning of Monday 21 June we get down to work, focusing on that day and throughout the week on the topics which, for the past five years, the States Parties and others have identified as requiring our most urgent attention. To assist us in focusing on these matters, the Co-Chairs have developed a package of background documents. We encourage you to review in particular the enclosed Co-Chairs' suggestions on ways to prepare for these meetings in order to maximize the opportunities presented by them.
In order to facilitate your logistical and administrative preparations for the June meetings, please find enclosed a registration form and a document containing important administrative information. You can register on-line or by faxing completed registration forms to the GICHD. Either way, please register as soon as possible and no later than 14 June 2004. In order to assist the Co-Chairs in their preparations, please notify the Implementation Support Unit (isu(at)gichd.ch) should you desire to intervene on various agenda items.
We look forward to seeing you at the meetings in June,
* Please note that on 28-29 June at the Palais des Nations in Geneva the Second Preparatory Meeting in advance of the First Review Conference will be held. A separate notice for this meeting will be distributed by the Executive Secretary of the Review Conference at the beginning of June 2004.