27 June 2013

Governments meet in Brisbane to identify a road map for a Pacific free of unexploded ordnance

From 27-29 June 2013, governments of Pacific Island States, including those affected by World War II ordnance, will join Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United States, civil society and mine action agencies, to identify a road map for a Pacific free of unexploded ordnance.

The Pacific Regional ERW Workshop is jointly hosted by ICBL-CMC member organisation Safe Ground (recently renamed from the Australian Network to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munitions), and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat with support from AusAID. Nine Pacific Island countries remain heavily contaminated with explosive remnants of war (ERW), including limited landmine and cluster munition contamination – a dangerous and long lasting legacy from WWII. The affected islands are Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia, Tuvalu and Nauru.Of the Pacific Island Forum countries, two countries – Micronesia & Tonga – have yet to join Mine Ban Treaty, and the Marshall Islands, a signatory to the Treaty, has yet to accede.

With respect to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, nine countries have yet to join the Convention, namely, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nieu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and signatory Palau has yet to accede.Building on the regional meeting on the ‘Implementation of the Pacific Islands Forum Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Strategy’, which took place in Palau last October, the Brisbane workshop is expected to foster a regional approach to the problem of ERW and encourage states to come on board the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.