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Summary: 28 October 2011, New York - Statement delivered by Andras Kos, Minister Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union, at the UN General Assembly Fourth Committee on Item 49: Assistance in Mine Action
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States
The Candidate Countries, Croatia*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Iceland†, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova ,and Armenia, align themselves with this declaration.
We welcome the significant progress made in the fight against the suffering and casualties caused by explosive remnants of war, in particular by anti-personnel mines, in the last two years, while being strongly aware of the humanitarian and developmental challenges that remain. Sadly, this year has shown once again that it is essential to further expand acceptance of the norm banning use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines. The 11th Meeting of State Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh from 28 November until 2 December will give the international community an opportunity to assert a strong and continuous commitment towards a world free of anti personnel landmines (APLs), reduce the numbers of new APL victims, and provide sustainable care for the victims of these weapons, in addition to further strengthening close cooperation and coordination among all relevant actors.
We are fully committed to implementing the Cartagena Action Plan 2010-2014 as an agreed basis to guide us in our fight against anti-personnel landmines and their effects for the next years. A new Council Decision in support of the implementation of the Cartagena Action Plan is currently being finalised. This decision will focus in particular on victim assistance, compliance with mine clearance commitments and universalization efforts. The technical implementation of the individual projects will be entrusted to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention ISU, represented by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD).
We are resolved to cooperate with and extend assistance to those States that need support in meeting the commitments of the Convention and will continue to actively pursue its objective of "zero victims". We believe that we should prevent new mine victims and that we should provide a high level of sustainable assistance to victims worldwide, with mine action fully integrated into the development dialogue in order to guarantee sustainable results. Thus, the EU promotes the integration and streamlining of mine action into broader cooperation and development policies. To ensure integration of mine action through bilateral cooperation, it is also necessary that countries prioritize mine action in their requests for general assistance and that they make it a priority in their national indicative programmes. In this way, direct ownership and long-term impact will be ensured. In addition, in crisis situations the EU continues to provide assistance through the Humanitarian Aid Instrument and the Instrument for Stability, such as in Libya this year.
The financial support provided by the European Union and its Member States to support mine action has surpassed two billion euros over the past ten years. This is around half of the world's financial assistance to mine action in that period.
Through inclusive partnerships between donors and affected countries constructive ideas can be developed and concrete action carried out in support of all girls, boys, women and men affected by explosive remnants of war.
I would like to turn now to the resolution on Assistance in mine action, traditionally presented by the European Union and its Member States. We highly value the resolution on Assistance in Mine action and its role in reaffirming the normative framework for the humanitarian mine action activities carried out by the UN system. In this year's resolution, we particularly welcome the inclusion of the Convention on Cluster Munitions as an important legal framework in responding to humanitarian problems caused by this type of munitions, which constitute a major concern for all EU Member States. We also welcome enhanced framework for cooperation between United Nations Mine Action Team, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders. We take note with appreciation of the recent activation of the mine action area of responsibility within the cluster approach of coordination of the humanitarian assistance. Finally, the evaluation of current mine action architecture is in its final stages. We look forward for the report by the Joint Inspection Unit and a good discussion on follow-up to their recommendations.
We would therefore like to express our appreciation for how the negotiations have been carried out. We thank all delegations for their constructive engagement on the draft resolution and look forward to its adoption by consensus.
* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process
† Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area