At the fourth states conference of the Oslo Process on cluster munitions held in Wellington, New Zealand (18 to 22 February 2008), Germany signed the Wellington Declaration on cluster munitions.
The German Government has thus reaffirmed its commitment to a worldwide ban on cluster munitions. The negotiations will be continued in Dublin during the second half of May. A legally binding international instrument on cluster munitions is to be signed before the close of 2008.
The Oslo Process and the parallel negotiations on the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) are mutually complementary. The common goal is to fully protect the civilian population from cluster munitions.
The German delegation submitted proposed texts in both negotiation processes. A three-step approach put forward by Germany and supported by many delegations maps out a realistic strategy on bringing about an effective ban and, at the same time, includes states with large stockpiles in the process. It could help effectively enhance humanitarian protection from cluster munitions without ignoring military realities.
The three-step plan envisages firstly the immediate renunciation of the use of dangerous cluster munitions with a high dud rate. Secondly, in the medium term, other kinds of cluster munitions should also be banned completely and destroyed. Thirdly, in future only alternative types of munitions should be used which limit the harm to the civilian population as much as possible.
At national level, the German Government has already taken very far-reaching steps in its Joint 8 Point Position on Cluster Munitions. Germany's armed forces have already stopped procurement of cluster munitions and destroy cluster munitions with a dud rate of over 1%. To this day they have not used cluster munitions.