Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

statement 156

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War

Fourth Conference of High Contracting Parties

Statement by Mr Paul Wilson
Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia
to the Conference on Disarmament

22 November 2010


Mr President

Australia would like to thank the Coordinators on clearance, victim assistance, cooperation and assistance, generic preventative measures, national reporting and the web-based information system for their hard work this year.

Through their efforts we are building on past achievements and promoting the effective implementation of Protocol V. The discussions at the Meeting of Experts held in April and the subsequent Coordinators’ reports show the usefulness of this informal implementation mechanism. Australia looks forward to discussing the recommendations proposed by the Coordinators to this Conference.

Mr President

Australia extends a special welcome to the new States Parties to Protocol V since the last Conference, namely Belgium, China, Cyprus, Gabon, Honduras, Italy, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. 69 States are now parties to the Protocol.

While Australia welcomes the strong growth in membership of this Protocol over the past year, much work remains to achieve its universalisation. Australia will do what it can to promote the Protocol, particularly in our under-represented region of the Asia-Pacific.

Mr President

Protocol V represents a strong practical step forward in reducing the humanitarian risks and effects of all forms of explosive remnants of war.

For Australia’s part, the Government has fully implemented the Protocol. The Australian Defence Force has revised its doctrine in relation to explosive ordnance to incorporate the provisions of Protocol V, including in all aspects of its operational planning and the targeting process.

Australia continues to work towards implementing the preventative measures in Part 3 of the Technical Annex to this Protocol. When procuring explosive ordnance, Australia has endeavoured to ensure measures, including those relating to munitions manufacturing management, are implemented and respected during the life cycle of the explosive ordinance.

Australia continues to maintain a robust ordnance management regime. Samples of our ordnance stocks inventory are inspected and tested regularly to ensure they continue to meet the internationally accepted performance specifications. This activity is critical for improving the reliability of munitions, and therefore minimising the occurrence of explosive remnants of war.

Mr President

Australia is equally committed to fulfilling its obligations under Protocol V in order to minimise the risks and effects of explosive remnants of war, including those obligations in Article 8 of the Protocol on cooperation and assistance.

Australia’s Mine Action Strategy has assisted in reducing the humanitarian suffering and socio-economic impact of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war. Our assistance is principally provided on clearance, risk education and survivor assistance projects. We have delivered support to countries across the Asia-Pacific, and in the Middle East and Africa.

Clearing land contaminated by explosive remnants of war is vital to removing the threat and social and economic impact to individuals and communities. Clearance has allowed affected communities to move freely again and return lands to productive use.

Victim assistance is a key component of our mine action program. We support a number of victim assistance centres in rehabilitating and reintegrating people with disability, including victims of explosive remnants of war, into society. We also work in partnership with civil society to ensure that victims of unexploded ordnance, understand and exercise their rights to achieve greater inclusion in social and economic activities.

We have recently supported similar activities in other countries affected by explosive remnants of war, including Cambodia, Lebanon, Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Sudan.

Mr President

Protocol V provides the High Contracting Parties with an immediate tool to address concerns surrounding explosive remnants of war. Australia urges all CCW States to consent to be bound by Protocol V as soon as possible.

Universal acceptance and effective implementation of Protocol V will assist in minimising post-conflict humanitarian problems.

Thank you.