Cluster munitions pose significant dangers to civilians for two principal reasons: their impact at the time of use and their deadly legacy. Launched from the ground or dropped from the air, cluster munitions consist of containers that open and disperse submunitions indiscriminately over a wide area, claiming both civilian and military victims. Many explosive submunitions, also known as bomblets, fail to detonate as designed when they are dispersed, becoming de facto landmines that kill and maim indiscriminately long after the conflict has ended and create barriers to socio-economic development.
To protect civilians from the effects of cluster munitions, Norway and other like-minded countries initiated a fast-track diplomatic process in 2006 aimed at creating a new international treaty. Working in partnership with United Nations (UN) agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and civil society organizations grouped under the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC), the fast-track Oslo Process resulted in the adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in May 2008.
The tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions was marked on 1 August 2020. The convention 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 injured by submunitions as well as the families of those injured or killed, and affected communities.
Cluster Munition Coalition
Launched by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in November 2003, the CMC plays a crucial facilitating role in leading global civil society action in favor of the ban on cluster munitions. With campaign contacts in more than 100 countries, the CMC works for the full universalization and implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. In January 2011, the CMC merged with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) to become the ICBL-CMC, but the CMC and ICBL remain two distinct and strong campaigns.
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor
Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor provides research and monitoring for both the CMC and the ICBL, on the Convention on Cluster Munitions and Mine Ban Treaty respectively. Created by the ICBL as Landmine Monitor in June 1998, the initiative became the research and monitoring arm of the CMC in 2008 and changed its name in 2010 to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, known simply as “the Monitor.”
The Monitor represents the first time that NGOs have come together in a coordinated, systematic, and sustained way to monitor humanitarian disarmament treaties and to regularly document progress and problems. Established in recognition of the need for independent reporting and evaluation, the Monitor has put into practice the concept of civil society-based verification that is now employed in many similar contexts. It has become the de facto monitoring regime for both treaties, monitoring and reporting on States Parties’ implementation and compliance, and more generally, assessing the international community’s response to the humanitarian problems caused by landmines, cluster munitions, and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). The Monitor’s reporting complements transparency reporting by states required under the treaties, and reflects the shared view that transparency, trust, and mutual collaboration are crucial elements for the successful eradication of antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions.
The Monitor is not a technical verification system or a formal inspection regime. It is an attempt by civil society to hold governments accountable for the legal obligations they have accepted with respect to antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions. This is done through extensive collection and analysis of publicly available information, including via field missions in some instances. The Monitor works in good faith to provide factual information about issues it is monitoring in order to benefit the international community as a whole. It aims to promote and advance discussion in support of the goal of a world free of landmines and cluster munitions.
A Monitoring and Research Committee coordinates the Monitor system and has overall decision-making responsibility for the Monitor’s research products, acting as a standing committee of the ICBL-CMC Governance Board. To prepare this report, an Editorial Team gathered information with the aid of a global reporting network comprised of more than a dozen researchers with the assistance of CMC campaigners. Researchers contributed primarily to country profiles, available on the Monitor’s website at www.the-monitor.org.
Unless otherwise specified, all translations were done by the Monitor.
The Monitor is a system that is continuously updated, corrected, and improved, and as was the case in previous years, the Monitor acknowledges that this ambitious report is limited by the time, resources, and information sources available. Comments, clarifications, and corrections from governments and others are sought in the spirit of dialogue and in the common search for accurate and reliable information on this important subject.
About This Report
This is the twelfth annual Cluster Munition Monitor report. It is the sister publication to the Landmine Monitor report, which has been issued annually since 1999.
Cluster Munition Monitor 2021 covers cluster munition ban policy, use, production, transfers, and stockpiling globally; and contains information on developments and challenges in assessing and addressing the impact of cluster munition contamination and casualties through clearance, risk education, and victim assistance. While its principal frame of reference is the Convention on Cluster Munitions, other relevant international law is reviewed, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The report focuses on calendar year 2020, with information included up to August 2021 where possible.
A broad-based network of individuals, campaigns, and organizations from around the world produced this report. It was assembled by a dedicated team of researchers and editors with the support of a significant number of donors.
Researchers are cited separately on the Monitor website at www.the-monitor.org. The Monitor is grateful to everyone who contributed to the research for this report. We wish to thank the scores of individuals, campaigns, NGOs, international organizations, field practitioners, and governments who provided us with essential information. We are grateful to ICBL-CMC staff for their review of the content of the report and their assistance in the release, distribution, and promotion of Monitor reports.
Responsibility for the coordination of the Monitor lies with the Monitoring and Research Committee comprised of six NGOs, as well as Monitor research team leaders and ICBL-CMC staff. The committee’s members include: the Colombian Campaign to Ban Landmines (Camilo Serna), DanChurchAid (Lene Rasmussen), Danish Refugee Council (Richard MacCormac), Human Rights Watch (Stephen Goose), Humanity & Inclusion (Alma Taslidžan Al-Osta), Mines Action Canada (Paul Hannon), Loren Persi Vicentic (Impact research team leader), Kasia Derlicka-Rosenbauer (ICBL-CMC government liaison and policy manager), Diana Carolina Prado Mosquera (ICBL-CMC advocacy and campaigns manager), Marion Loddo (Monitor editorial manager), and ex officio member Hector Guerra (ICBL-CMC director).
From January to August 2021, the Monitor’s Editorial Team undertook research, updated country profiles, and produced thematic overviews for Cluster Munition Monitor 2021. The Editorial Team included:
- Ban policy: Mary Wareham, Stephen Goose, Mark Hiznay, Jacqulyn Kantack, and Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan;
- Impact (contamination, clearance, casualties, risk education, and victim assistance): Loren Persi Vicentic, Ruth Bottomley, and Éléa Boureux, with assistance from Mathilda Englund and Marianne Schulze; and
- Support for mine action: Marion Loddo.
Marion Loddo provided final editing in July and August 2021 with assistance from Michael Hart (publications consultant).
Report and cover design was created by Lixar I.T. Inc. Pole Communication printed the report in Switzerland. The front cover photograph was provided by Aris Messinis/AFP and back cover photographs provided by Sean Sutton/Mines Advisory Group (MAG). Additional photographs found within Cluster Munition Monitor 2021 were provided by multiple photographers, cited with each photograph.
We extend our gratitude to Monitor financial contributors. In 2021, this work was made possible with funding from (list accurate as of 10 August 2021):
- Government of Australia
- Government of Austria
- Government of Canada
- Government of Germany
- Government of Norway
- Government of Switzerland
- Holy See
The Monitor’s supporters are in no way responsible for, and do not necessarily endorse, the material contained in this report. We also thank the donors who have contributed to the organizational members of the Monitoring and Research Committee and other participating organizations.