General Committee on Status and Operation of the Convention
22 June 2011, Geneva, Switzerland
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Thank you Mr. Chair and thanks also to Belgium for chairing the Article 7 Contact Group.
States Parties are obliged under Article 7 to submit transparency reports annually by 30 April. These reports provide a yearly baseline of data that is vital to measuring progress in meeting the treaty's obligations, and they further the spirit of transparency and openness in which this treaty was created.
We commend those States Parties who have met their transparency reporting requirements, and we extend our appreciation to States not Party to the treaty who submit voluntary reports. However, each year fewer and fewer States Parties submit transparency reports and many states fail to submit them year after year-more than one-third of States Parties have not submitted a report in at least two years, nearly one-fifth have not submitted a report in at least five years, and one State Party-Equatorial Guinea-has never submitted its initial transparency report. As of today only 44% of States Parties have submitted reports for calendar year 2010, and we appear headed toward the lowest annual compliance rate in the past decade. More information about which States Parties have or have not submitted reports for 2010 is available in a Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor fact sheet available on the tables outside the meeting room.
Of particular concern is the lack of regular, detailed reporting by States Parties with major outstanding treaty obligations, especially those seeking international cooperation and assistance to fulfill these obligations. As of today only 68% of States Parties with Article 5 mine clearance obligations submitted reports for 2010. Presenting clear and comprehensive updates on progress and remaining work is an essential way to communicate with international partners and should be a prerequisite for receiving assistance.
Reports that have been submitted are of variable quality. Many lack sufficient detail to render them useful. Some are missing entire forms. Only 55% of States Parties that retain antipersonnel mines for training and research purposes submitted reports covering 2010 used Expanded Form D to report on retained mines. Few States Parties made use of Form J to report on progress in implementing victim assistance or the provision of international cooperation and assistance.
Each year fewer reports are submitted, and each year we do not see an increase in report quality. Despite this we know that States Parties remain committed to the treaty. The current reporting forms served the international community well a decade ago, but they need to be updated to provide a better framework for States Parties to report on their activities and to reflect the reporting commitments made in the Cartagena Action Plan. We would therefore like to encourage States Parties to consider amending several of the reporting forms and perhaps adding new ones on victim assistance and cooperation and assistance. We would suggest using the Convention on Cluster Munitions transparency reporting forms as a template since development of that convention's transparency requirements and corresponding reporting forms were largely based on lessons learned from the Mine Ban Treaty experience.
In the meantime, States Parties should not feel confined to the existing transparency reporting template. The reporting form is a guide-use it, adapt it, insert language from the Convention on Cluster Munitions reporting form-do whatever you need to do to report in detail on progress made toward implementing the treaty and remaining challenges. In this regard, we support Belgium's proposal to create a new guidance document for States Parties to accompany the reporting forms as a way to encourage states to provide the best possible information.
We would like to end with a call on all States Parties with outstanding reports, particularly those with major outstanding treaty requirements and those that habitually fail to submit reports, to submit complete reports to the United Nations without delay.