Process for a political declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas

After Austria hosted a conference on Protecting Civilians in Urban Warfare in October 2019, Ireland announced it would hold a series of consultations with a view towards developing a political declaration to address the humanitarian harm arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

The first two consultations took place in Geneva on 18 November 2019 and 10 February 2020. Ireland released a draft of the political declaration in March 2020, but the subsequent round of consultations were postponed due to COVID-19. After accepting written input throughout 2020, Ireland released a revised draft declaration in January 2021. Online consultations were held 3-5 March 2021. Further talks were postponed due to the pandemic, but in-person consultations were held 6-8 April 2022 in Geneva to discuss a second revised draft declaration circulated by Ireland in March 2022.

Following the April 2022 consultations, Ireland issued a third draft declaration, which was discussed at the final meeting on 17 June 2022 in Geneva. At this meeting, states agreed to the final text of the declaration and several states announced their intention to endorse it at any upcoming signing ceremony. The signing ceremony was held in Dublin, Ireland on 18 November 2022, when 83 states signed the Political Declaration.

Resources from the consultations

Reaching Critical Will resources

WILPF calls for an end to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and supports the development of a political declaration. We have also drawn attention to the gendered, human rights, and arms trade aspects of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Here are some of our key resources related to the use of EWIPA and the political declaration process:

INEW resources

The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), of which WILPF is a member, has long called for the development of such a declaration as well as operational and policy positions aimed at ending the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas. Some recent INEW resources on this issue include:

Additional resources