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 first session of the 2002-2003 meetings of the Standing Committees. These meetings will take place from 3 to 7 February 2003 at the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), Room A, avenue de la Paix 7bis (WMO Building), Geneva.
The Intersessional Work Programme was established to facilitate in-depth considerations of mine action issues by all interested parties, to work in a way which promotes continuity, openness, transparency, inclusiveness and a cooperative spirit, and to advance the achievement of the humanitarian objectives of the Convention. Through the work of the Standing Committees, this initiative has lived up its promise and at the Fourth Meeting of the States Parties (4MSP), the Meeting recognized the continuing importance of the Intersessional Work Programme.
At the 4MSP, the States Parties also expressed that in the lead-up to the Convention's First Review Conference in 2004 the Intersessional Work Programme should focus with even greater clarity on those areas most directly related to the core humanitarian objectives of the Convention: destroying stockpiled mines - especially with the first deadlines for destruction approaching in 2003; clearing mined areas; assisting victims; and, universalizing the ban on anti-personnel mines. We are pleased that the Co-Chairs of the four Standing Committees have developed agendas that will allow for a rich discussion of these matters. The Co-Chairs have also ensured that time will be provided during each Standing Committee meeting for discussions on assistance and cooperation and that an opportunity for an in-depth discussion on resource mobilization will be held on 3 February.
Complementing Article 7's formal exchange of information on national implementation, the meetings of the Standing Committees provide an informal forum for the States Parties to communicate the extent of their challenges, the plans they have put in place to overcome these challenges, the progress they have made and their priorities for assistance. It is our hope that mine affected States Parties and those in the process of destroying stockpiled mines will indeed maximise the potential of this unique mechanism. And it is our hope that other States Parties and partner organizations will contribute to discussions by highlighting how they can support the implementation process.
To assist you in preparing for the meetings of the Standing Committees, the Co-Chairs have developed a package of background documents that may be of use to you. We would encourage you to review the enclosed Co-Chairs' Notes to Meeting Participants and note in particular the provisions for State participation in the meetings. As indicated in the Co-Chairs' Notes, you may wish to contact the Implementation Support Unit should you desire to intervene in various issues. This will greatly assist the Co-Chairs in preparing speakers lists.
In order to facilitate your logistical and administrative preparations for the February meetings, please find enclosed a registration form and a document containing important administrative information. Please fill in the registration form and fax it to the GICHD no later than 20 January 2003. You can also register online for the meetings of the Standing Committees.
We look forward to seeing you at the meetings in February and we remain,