Cluster Munition Monitor 2021

Major Findings

Status of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions

  • The Convention on Cluster Munitions has a total of 110 States Parties, as well as 13 signatories which have yet to ratify it. The last country to join the convention was Saint Lucia, which acceded to it in September 2020.
  • A record high of 147 states, including 33 non-signatories, voted in favor of an annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the convention in December 2020. For the first time, no country voted against the resolution. 

Use of Cluster Munitions

  • There have been no reports or allegations of new use of cluster munitions by any State Party since the adoption of the convention in May 2008.
  • In the reporting period, between August 2020 and July 2021, cluster munitions were used in Syria, and by Armenia and Azerbaijan in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Syria is the only country to have experienced continued use of these weapons since 2012.
  • There were allegations that cluster bombs were used in the Tigray region of Ethiopia in 2020–2021, but there was insufficient evidence to confirm the allegations.

Casualties and Contamination

  • Globally, 360 new cluster munition casualties were recorded in 2020, killing 107 people and leaving 242 injured. The survival status for 11 casualties was unknown. This marks a continuing increase from the updated annual totals of 317 casualties in 2019 (14%) and 277 casualties in 2018 (30%).
  • Civilians accounted for all casualties whose status was recorded in 2020. This is consistent with statistics on cluster munition casualties for all time, due to the indiscriminate and inhumane nature of these weapons.
  • With 126 child casualties recorded in 2020, children accounted for 44% of all casualties where the age group was reported.
  • Almost a quarter of casualties where the age and sex were reported (24% or 54 casualties) were women and girls.
  • Half of all casualties in 2020 were recorded in Syria (182), where casualties occurred both due to cluster munition remnants and during cluster munition attacks. 
  • The highest number of casualties resulting from cluster munition attacks was recorded in Azerbaijan (107).
  • In 2020, casualties due to cluster munition remnants were recorded in seven countries—Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Lao PDR, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—and one other area, Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • A total of 29 countries and other areas remain contaminated by cluster munition remnants: 10 States Parties, two signatories, 14 non-signatories, and three other areas. New use in 2020 resulted in contamination in non-signatories Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Syria, and other area Nagorno-Karabakh.

Stockpile Destruction

  • Since the convention’s adoption, States Parties have collectively destroyed 99% of the total global cluster munitions stocks that they declared, destroying nearly 1.5 million cluster munitions and 178 million submunitions.
  • In 2020, States Parties Bulgaria, Peru, and Slovakia destroyed a total of 2,273 stockpiled cluster munitions and more than 52,000 submunitions.
  • In 2021, two States Parties received extensions to their stockpile destruction deadlines: Bulgaria by two years (until October 2022) and Peru by three years (until April 2024).
  • The Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Slovakia destroyed their respective stocks of cluster munitions retained for permitted research and training purposes in 2020. Only 10 States Parties still see a need to retain live cluster munitions for such purposes.

Clearance of Cluster Munition Remnants

  • In 2020, States Parties reported clearance of approximately 63.4km2 of cluster munition contaminated land and the destruction of more than 80,900 submunitions. This represents a 23% decrease from the 82.3km2 reported cleared and a 16% decrease from the 96,500 submunitions destroyed in 2019.
  • Two States Parties completed clearance of areas contaminated by cluster munition remnants in 2020: Croatia and Montenegro. This brings to six the total number of States Parties that have fulfilled their clearance obligations since the entry into force of the convention.
  • Four States Parties appear to be on target to meet their Article 4 deadlines to clear all contaminated areas: Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Chad, Germany, and Lebanon. For another three, it is uncertain or unlikely that they will meet their clearance deadlines: Iraq, Lao PDR, and Somalia.
  • Three States Parties requested an extension to their clearance deadlines in 2021: Afghanistan by four years (until March 2026), Chile by one year (until June 2022), and Mauritania by two years (until August 2024). Extension requests will be considered during the Second Review Conference in September 2021.

Risk Education

  • The majority of cluster munition contaminated States Parties have some form of provision of risk education. Only Lao PDR has risk education directed predominantly at addressing the risk behaviors associated with cluster munition remnants.
  • In 2020, States Parties Afghanistan, BiH, Chad, Iraq, Lao PDR, and Lebanon provided risk education specifically targeting groups vulnerable to the threat of cluster munition remnants contamination, including children and hard-to-reach nomadic groups. Some efforts were also made to better reach persons with disabilities through adapted materials and approaches.
  • Several affected States Parties adapted risk education delivery in 2020 to the changing circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which both restricted operations and created opportunities for testing new innovative approaches.
  • During 2020, emergency risk education was carried out to alert communities to the risks of contamination from recent or ongoing conflicts in non-signatories Libya, Syria, Yemen, and other area Nagorno-Karabakh.

Victim Assistance

  • Efforts to improve the quality and quantity of rehabilitation programs for survivors were reported in most of the 12 States Parties acknowledging responsibility for cluster munition victims, despite ongoing funding shortages and obstacles to victim assistance services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • All these States Parties, except Sierra Leone, had a designated victim assistance focal point for cluster munition victims. Only about half had the necessary national strategies or planning in place for victim assistance: Albania, BiH, Chad, Iraq, Lao PDR, and Lebanon.
  • Several states still needed to conduct surveys to establish if they have cluster munition victims, and/or collect data on victims and their needs, including BiH, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Mauritania, Montenegro, and Sierra Leone.
  • Integrating victim assistance into public health systems is increasingly recognized as essential for the sustainability of physical rehabilitation services. But, in all States Parties with cluster munitions victims, there remains a clear need to expand and strengthen the availability, capacity, and quality of—as well as access to—those services.
  • Some limited progress was reported in ensuring survivor inclusion in social, economic, and educational activities in Afghanistan, BiH, Chad, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Montenegro, and Sierra Leone.
  • Measures to address the trauma and ongoing mental health impacts on cluster munition victims were scarce. Lao PDR was the only State Party to report on psychological support that directly reached cluster munition victims. 

Production and Transfer

  • None of the 16 countries that still produce cluster munitions, or reserve the right to do so, are party to the convention.
  • China and Russia are actively researching and developing new types of cluster munitions.
  • In the past, at least 15 countries have transferred more than 50 types of cluster munitions to at least 60 other countries.

Transparency Reporting

  • A total of 100 States Parties have submitted an initial Article 7 transparency report, which represents more than 90% of those for which the obligation currently applies. Of the 10 States Parties yet to fulfil their initial transparency reporting requirement, Cape Verde and Comoros are a decade late.
  • Compliance with the annual reporting requirement is less impressive, with only 60 States Parties having provided their annual updated reports due by 30 April 2021.