Universalizing the Convention

Action to Promote the Universality of the Convention

At the 2016 Fifth Review Conference, High Contracting Parties recognized that universalization is critical to the success of the Convention and its Protocols as a major international humanitarian law treaty.

It was agreed (i.a.) that:

  • Officeholders of the CCW, Protocol V and Amended Protocol II are to  promote universalization of the Convention and its Protocols, and specifically to address States not party
  • High Contracting Parties are encouraged to report on their initiatives to promote universalization of the Convention and its Protocols;
  • High Contracting Parties which have not yet done so are to consider adhering to the 2001 amendments to Article 1;
  • the Implementation Support Unit is to provide the necessary administrative and substantive support.

Focus on Affected States

Despite significant progress towards universal adherence in the past years, a number of Member States of the United Nations have yet to ratify or otherwise accede to the Convention and its annexed Protocols.

Adherence remains particularly low in Africa, Asia, in particular South-East Asia, and the Middle East. Yet, half of those States not yet parties to the Convention are affected by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), with several of them still, or recently having been, involved in active armed conflicts and hostilities.

Joining the CCW and its Protocols

The Convention was opened for signature by all States at United Nations Headquarters in New York for a period of twelve months from 10 April 1981, during which fifty States signed the Convention.

Pursuant to Article 4, the Convention is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by the Signatories.

To become a party to the Convention a State must join at least two of its Protocols and at any time after the deposit of its instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval of the Convention or of accession thereto, may notify the Depositary of its consent to be bound by any annexed Protocol by which it is not already bound.

Further information

For further information please consult the CCW publication on Becoming a High Contracting Party to the CCW

For more information, please contact the CCW Secretariat, Office for Disarmament Affairs (Geneva branch), e-mail: ccw@un.org, or the Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs, United Nations, New York, NY 10017, e-mail: treaty@un.org