Implementation is Key: EWIPA Conference 2024

Today, States who endorsed the Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA) Political Declaration gathered in Oslo, Norway for the first follow-up conference after signing the Political Declaration.

The day was filled with hearing from survivors and civil society experts, as well as statements from States. States have made some progress, but there is still much to be done. It is important that States take their commitments seriously and bridge the gap between words and action. Namely, condemning all use of EWIPA by any actor is paramount to upholding the integrity of the Declaration. Survivors brought the reality of the harm from EWIPA into the room, and we urge States to listen to survivors first and foremost. 

Canada delivered a statement which thanked survivors and first responders. Canada also highlighted that distinction, proportionality, and precaution- all basic principles of International Humanitarian Law- are not being met frequently enough. They also placed on emphasis on the importance of data- data collection, disaggregated data, transparency, and the need to develop best practices for gathering data. Mines Action Canada agrees that data plays a vital role in highlighting the issue and ensuring that victims receive the support they need. Finally, we were pleased to hear that Canada stated the importance of including gender advisors at highest level of command. This is a welcome suggestion, as it is important for gender equality to be taken seriously at all levels. Overall, we are pleased with Canada's statement but the real test will be if they follow through and implement their words, in all situations. 

Mines Action Canada hosted the first international youth seminar on EWIPA in London this February, bringing together youth from Syria, Philippines, Ukraine, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Argentina, France, and more to learn more about how to advance universalization and implementation of the EWIPA Political Declaration. At the end of the Seminar, the youth participants drafted a statement which spoke to the reality in their affected countries, and urged states to make EWIPA a practice of the past. The statement was recorded, and shown at the Oslo conference today for States, survivors, and civil society to hear.

We have uploaded the statement to YouTube and encourage you to listen to the youth's message.