GENEVA, 13 April 2021 – The Philippines successfully concluded its Presidency of the 23rd Annual Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Second Amended Protocol to the Convention of Conventional Weapons (CCW) with the adoption by High Contracting Parties of the technical decision document on 8 April 2021.


The said decision document ensures the continuation of work on the Amended Protocol, which provides rules on the use of mines, booby traps, and other such devices. These weapons are regulated or banned under International Humanitarian Law due to their indiscriminate effect and destructive humanitarian consequences.


During its Presidency of the 23rd Annual Conference, the Philippines promoted the universalization of the Amended Protocol, actively reaching out to delegations of countries that have yet to ratify the said accord. The Philippines also sought to promote the review of the operation and status of the Amended Protocol, and on improving international cooperation and technological assistance under its framework.


Under the Philippine Presidency, the High Contracting Parties – or the countries that are part of the agreement – exchanged views on the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Meetings of the Group of Experts (GOE) under the Amended Protocol were chaired by Ambassador Maria Teresa T. Almojuela, Philippine Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, on 29-30 September 2020. The said meetings discussed the threat of IEDs and their humanitarian impact.


“IED attacks kill and injure more people annually than attacks with other type of weapons, except firearms,” Ambassador Almojuela said during the GOE meeting last year. “In 2019 alone, IEDs accounted for 47% of all civilian casualties worldwide.”


Under the direction of the Philippine Presidency, France and Colombia, in their capacities as IED Co-Coordinators, facilitated panel discussions at the same GOE meetings during which experts shared information and insights regarding trends in IED development for the past year, while diplomats spoke on challenges to and best practices in IED clearance in their countries, particularly in the urban context.


Among the experts on the panel was Fred Lubang of Non-Violence International Southeast Asia (NISEA), who briefed on the evolution of IEDs being deployed by local terrorist group New People’s Army (NPA), as well as efforts by government and civil society to address their threat.


Philippine delegate Jonelle John Domingo, meanwhile, shared Philippine policies and best practices in countering the IED threat, including the enactment and implementation of the Strategic Trade Management Act and the adoption of a “whole-of-society” approach that includes cultivation of partnerships with grassroots communities.


In 2018, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres submitted a report to the U.N. General Assembly entitled “Countering the Threat Posed by Improvised Explosive Devices.” The said report, which was prepared in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 71/72 on the same subject, highlighted that the increasingly urban nature of conflict has exacerbated the threat of IEDs, leading to a dramatic rise in the manufacture and use of IEDs, mainly by non-state actors.