Secretary Clinton praises $1 billion hunger pledge by InterAction members

(New York) September 27, 2012 — In a massive attempt to tackle global hunger, leading U.S.-based international NGOs will spend more than $1 billion in private funds over the next three years on agriculture, food and nutrition programs, announced  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and NGO alliance InterAction on Thursday.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (State Dept. photo)

“InterAction’s members are at the forefront of the global fight against hunger and poor nutrition.  They work alongside local communities to help people become more self-sufficient. Their efforts complement U.S. government programs, such as Feed the Future,” said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction.

Worthington was speaking on Thursday at an event held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where Clinton praised the work of civil society organizations, including members of InterAction.

Clinton said: “Today, I am pleased to announce a new commitment by civil society groups. InterAction, an alliance of 198 U.S.-based organizations—and Sam Worthington, its president, is here today—is pledging more than $1 billion of private, non-governmental funds over the next three years to improve food security and nutrition worldwide.

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Cluster bomb ban movement meets in Oslo

(Oslo) September 14, 2012 —  More than 100 governments gathered in the Norwegian capital to report on how they are meeting their commitments to eradicate cluster munitions and prevent them causing any further harm.

Around 30 states that have yet to join the lifesaving 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of the weapon will take part in the conference, showing the power and importance of the treaty even for countries not yet on board.

Amongst these are China, which continues to produce cluster bombs, Libya, where forces loyal to Gaddafi used cluster bombs last year and countries contaminated by unexploded cluster bombs including Cambodia, Serbia, Tajikistan and Vietnam.

The importance of this conference is further underscored by credible but as yet unconfirmed allegations of use of cluster bombs in both Syria and Sudan earlier this year. 

“In the two years since this treaty became binding international law there has been remarkable progress in eliminating cluster munitions, but too many countries still remain outside the ban,” said Laura Cheeseman, director of the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC).

“We sincerely hope that the presence of a large number of states that have not yet joined the treaty means they recognize the ban is the only way to stop the harm caused by cluster bombs, and that they will announce their plans to join it as soon as possible,” Cheeseman added. 

The Oslo Process to ban cluster munitions was launched six years ago in response to the indiscriminate impact these weapons have on civilians at the time of use and long after conflicts end.

“In a very short period of time cluster munitions have gone from being strongly defended as essential for national security to being considered completely unacceptable for use by anyone,” said Steve Goose, chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “The global stigma against these weapons is clearly strong, and growing stronger,” he added.

Figures released last week from the CMC’s annual Cluster Munition Monitor report show rapid progress is being made by countries that have joined the ban treaty, most notably the destruction of cluster munition stockpiles way ahead of the treaty’s eight-year deadline. The report shows that States Parties have already destroyed 750,000 cluster munitions containing 85 million submunitions.

The Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions took place in Oslo from 11-14 September 2012.  A total of 111 countries have joined the Convention, including 75 States Parties and 36 signatories that still have to ratify.

Impressive Progress on Total Ban on Cluster Bombs

Rapid destruction of stockpiles is saving lives

(London) Sepetember 6, 2012 —  Governments that have joined the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions have destroyed nearly 750,000 cluster munitions containing 85 million submunitions to date, according to Cluster Munition Monitor 2012, a global report released today in London.

“The impressive number of stockpiled cluster bombs destroyed under the Convention on Cluster Munitions demonstrates just how committed governments are to rapidly implementing this treaty,” said Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch, final editor of Cluster Munition Monitor 2012.  “It is proving to be a milestone in humanitarian disarmament diplomacy, and the hold-out states that have not yet joined need to get on the right side of history,” Wareham said.

Cluster Munition Monitor 2012 is being launched by the international Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) in advance of the convention’s Third Meeting of States Parties, which opens in Oslo, Norway on Tuesday, 11 September. A total of 111 countries have joined the Convention, of which 75 have ratified or acceded, becoming full States Parties.

The report cites the serious allegations of new use of cluster munitions in Syria and Sudan as the most disturbing developments of the year. The allegations have not yet been confirmed, but are considered credible by the Monitor. Neither state has joined the ban convention.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions, which entered into force on 1 August 2010, comprehensively prohibits the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions. It also requires destruction of stockpiled cluster munitions within eight years, clearance of cluster munition remnants within 10 years, and assistance to victims, including those killed or injured by submunitions as well as their families and affected communities.  Read the rest of this entry »