Norway participated in the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Vientiane on 9-12 November 2010. The delegation to Lao PDR was led by State Secretary Espen Barth Eide.
The First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions was held in Vientiane on 9-12 November 2010. The Norwegian State Secretary Espen Barth Eide led the Norwegian delegation to the Meeting and also had conversations with the Foreign Minister and the Minister of Energy and Mining in Lao PDR.
Lao PDR was heavily bombed during the Indochina wars from 1964-1973 and is as a result the heaviest affected country in the world with millions of unexploded cluster bombs still littering the country. Hosting the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention demonstrates Laos’ engagement and commitment in connection to the Convention.
More than 110 governments attended the Meeting held in Vientiane on 9-12 Nov 2010. The meeting adopted a political declaration which confirmed the international dedication for a world free of cluster bombs, called “No Cluster Munitions: From Vision to Action”. A concrete and ambitious action plan was another outcome from the Meeting.
Field visit to Xieng Khuang led by Lao national clearance programme. Left: State Secretary Espen Barth Eide with the leader of Norwegian People’s Aid’s mine programme, Per Nergaard. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norway’s delegation was led by State Secretary Espen Barth Eide. He highlighted the Conventions practical aspect and said: “The Convention makes a difference on the ground because it is an effective framework to clear contaminated areas, secure help to survivors and to destroy all cluster munitions within certain timeframes.”
To date, 108 countries have signed the Convention and 46 have ratified it.
The Government of Lao PDR has developed a separate and additional Millennium Development Goal (MDG) related to unexploded ordnances. Norway signed the MDG Compact goal in a ceremony on the sidelines of the meeting on 11 November 2010. The Norwegian State Secretary Barth Eide also had separate meetings with Foreign Minister Sisoulith and Minister of Energy and Mining Daravong, discussing bilateral issues between Lao PDR and Norway in advance of the upcoming 20 year jubilee of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.