Stockpile destruction and retention

What does the Convention say?

The Articles 1 and 3 of the Convention of Cluster Munitions, outlining the scope and application of the Convention, states that “Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to (…) stockpile or retain cluster munitions”, and that “Each State Party undertakes to destroy or ensure the destruction of all cluster munitions” under its jurisdiction or control “as soon as possible but not later than eight years after the entry into force of this Convention for that State Party”.

On retention, the Convention states that “(…) the retention or acquisition of a limited number of cluster munitions for the development of and training in cluster munition and explosive submunition detection, clearance or destruction techniques, or for the development of cluster munition counter-measures, is permitted” (CCM, Article 3 § 6). Comprehensive and detailed reporting obligations on behalf of that State party are included in Article 3 § 8.

Progress made (as of February 2013):

  • 11 States Parties now no longer hold stockpiled cluster-munitions (Afghanistan, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Moldova & Slovenia
  • Together the States parties have destroyed some 744 231 cluster munitions and 85.8 million explosive sub munitions.
  • Of the 17 States parties with stockpiles, 6 have confirmed that destruction will be completed well in advance of the eight years deadline. All remaining States have a plan in place to meet their deadline or are in the process of developing concrete plans to do so as requested by Action 8 of the Vientiane Action Plan.

Remaining challenges:

  • Some States parties have yet to clarify the size of their stockpiles and to present concrete destruction plans.
  • It is an enduring challenge to find cheaper and more efficient stockpile destruction techniques, whilst simultaneously improving compliance with international standards for safety, public health and the environment.