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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Andre Pung at the Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

22.11.2017

Statement by H.E. Mr. Andre Pung

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations in Geneva


Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)

Geneva, 22 November 2017


Check against delivery

Thank you Mr. Chair

Estonia aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union, but allow me to add a few remarks to express our commitment to the CCW and its Protocols.

First, allow me to congratulate you on your election as 2017 Chair of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and express my gratitude to you as well as to the Implementation Support Unit for all the good work and preparations done to ensure the success of this meeting. You can count on my delegation’s full support.

Mr. Chair,

Estonia supports the efforts to universalise and strengthen the CCW, thus we congratulate Afghanistan and Lebanon who joined the Convention this year and urge all States that have not yet done so to accede to the Convention and its Protocols without further delay. Work on strengthening national reporting should continue. In this regard, Estonia, as the President of Protocol V, welcomes the decision in the context of Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) to establish a voluntary expert assistance mechanism to improve the rate and quality of national reporting and we look forward to its implementation. We believe, the application of the mechanism could be considered also under the Amended Protocol II and CCW reporting mechanisms.

Mr. Chair,

It is of high importance that the CCW continues to fulfil its mandate supporting the effective implementation of IHL and thereby preventing and alleviating human suffering. Estonia finds it essential that the CCW remains responsive and flexible as the main forum for tackling the new challenges and developments in weapons technologies in coming years. We welcome the first meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) and thank Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill from India for his skilful leadership in conducting the deliberations. Estonia firmly believes that any weapons system, irrespective of its level of autonomy, must only be used in strict compliance with international law. In terms of the way forward, Estonia supports a further elaboration on characteristics of autonomous weapons systems and on what is required in order for a weapon system to be considered as being under meaningful human control. Estonia also supports a further discussion on best practices of weapons reviews. Estonia firmly believes that CCW is the best framework for continuing these discussions.

Mr. Chair,

Like many in this room, Estonia is concerned about the continued fragile financial situation, which is putting in danger the effective operation of the CCW and its. We urge all States to comply with their financial obligations on time and pay all outstanding arrears. Estonia welcomes efforts to increase clarity on financial matters. Therefore, we support your proposal, Mr. Chair, to make the financial situation of CCW more sustainable.

In this context, it is however regrettable that the cash flow problems will lead to the termination of staff contracts of both members of the ISU, as we have been informed by the UNODA over the weekend. We find the ISU-s work relevant in guaranteeing sustainability of the work under the CCW and its Protocols, promoting universalization, overseeing the sponsorship programme, retaining organisational knowledge, including assistance to office holders and supporting the High Contracting Parties in the implementation of the CCW and its Protocols. We would therefore appreciate more information on how the sustainability of our work can be maintained and what are the financial implications of terminating the ISU staff contracts.

Mr. Chair, we look forward to a productive Meeting of the High Contracting Parties.

Thank you!

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