After decades of seeing civilians suffer with each new use of cluster munitions, and in the face of an inadequate response in other fora, Norway launched the "Oslo Process" on cluster munitions in February 2007 by inviting governments supporting the development of new rules on cluster munitions to a conference in Oslo. This Process was open to all States committed to adopting urgently a treaty prohibiting cluster munitions which cause "unacceptable suffering" to civilians. The Final Declaration of the Conference, which was supported by 46 States, established several common goals, including the adoption of a legally binding international instrument prohibiting "cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians" by the end of 2008, and the establishment of a framework for cooperation and assistance for the care and rehabilitation of survivors, the clearance of contaminated areas, risk education, and the destruction of prohibited cluster munitions.
More than 100 States began to consider these issues in detail during preparatory sessions in Lima, Vienna and Wellington in 2007 and early 2008. Following the last preparatory meeting, States adhered to the Wellington Declaration, confirming their attendance as full participants in negotiations at the Diplomatic Conference held in Dublin, Ireland, in May 2008.
After these successful international conferences and various regional meetings in many other parts of the world, 107 States adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions on May 30, 2008 in Dublin.
In addition to States, United Nations agencies, civil society represented through the Cluster Munition Coalition and the ICRC participated in the Diplomatic Conference as observers. Such delegations included clearance operators, former military officers, technical specialists and humanitarian workers. In the view of the ICRC, the Conference found solutions to key issues, which will provide the strongest possible protection for civilians and be effectively implemented by armed forces, including those of States that have been producing, stockpiling or using these weapons.
108 States signed the Convention between 3 December 2008 and 31 July 2010. The Convention entered into force on 1 August 2010.
(As of January 2011, 49 States were party to the Convention.)