Sommaire: October 28, 2004: STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION BY MR. ARJAN HAMBURGER, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE, 59th GENERAL ASSEMBLY - FOURTH COMMITTEE, Agenda item 22: Assistance in Mine Action (New York)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The candidate countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA country Iceland member of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.
1. Anti-personnel landmines and explosive remnants of war inflict death and injury around the world. The presence of mines and explosive remnants of war also cause serious social and economic consequences. Mines prevent refugees and other displaced persons to return to their homes and constitute an obstacle to humanitarian aid operations and to reconstruction and economic development.
2. Although resources allocated to mine-action activities have increased in recent years, there is a clear need to mobilize additional resources and to secure the best possible utilization of such resources. We need to continue our efforts to make a difference on the ground, where it is needed.
3. The First Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty, The 2004 Nairobi Summit on a Mine-Free World (29 November to 3 December 2004) represents a momentous event to assess the enormous progress made in ending the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines since the Convention was established. A lot of mines have been cleared, the number of new victims has fallen significantly in some countries and more attention is focused on assistance to landmine survivors. However many challenges remain. Therefore the Nairobi Summit should not only celebrate the remarkable progress that has been made, but also honestly review the critical issues that remain. In Nairobi we should demonstrate our collective will and commitment to move forward with determination.
4. More than ever before, partners in mine action should be encouraged to strengthen cooperation and coordination, to build on national capacity, to increase national ownership and to explore ways to mainstream the landmine and unexploded ordnance issue into national development plans and programmes of mine affected countries. On all of these issues we face still many challenges. I would like to stress the important role of UNMAS in coordination and the leading role of UNDP in capacity building. But in fact, effective coordination and increased national ownership is something we should all contribute to. It is a common responsibility and should therefore be a joint effort of mine-affected countries, donor governments, regional institutions, national and international NGO’s as well as all bodies of the United Nations. In this regard the European Union welcomes the ongoing discussions between the United Nations and NGO’s to improve cooperation and coordination mechanisms in the field as well as enhance transparant prioritization and cost effectiveness.
5. Our ultimate goal is to come to the best possible response to the needs of mine affected communities around the world. The European Union is committed to meet the challenge of planning for a clear way forward.
6. The The EU has led a series of informal consultations on a Resolution under this agenda item "assistance in mine action", as we have been doing in previous years. Although there was good progress in these informals on a number of issues and a near consensus was achieved, through constructive engagement from delegations, a number of points remained on which consensus could not be reached. We have therefore decided to introduce a decision that will defer the item to next year. It is unfortunate that the GA will not be able to express its views on Mine Action this year and cannot give guidance to those engaged in Mine Action, this year. We consider this a missed opportunity. Keeping in mind that the ultimate goal of this resolution is the relief of human suffering caused by mines and explosive remnants of war, it is even more disappointing that no common ground could be found to achieve that goal. It is therefore that we call upon all UN Member States to combine their efforts in order to achieve progress in this field during the 60th session of the GA. We believe firmly in a constructive dialogue between the UN secretariat and Member States. Deriving from this dialogue, the SG has the mandate and responsibility to organize the UN's coordination and response to the mine problem. Interventions in Mine Action by the UN and others can only be effective by respecting this mandate, while recognizing the need for ownership and leadership of mine affected countries in the response.