I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, as well as Ukrainealign themselves with this statement.
We would like to thank Norway for its hospitality and commend you Mr. President, your team and the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) for the effective and transparent preparatory process carried out in the run-up to this Review Conference.
The EU is a strong supporter of the universal ban on anti-personnel mines. We appeal to all actors to refrain from the production, stockpiling, trade and transfer of anti-personnel mines and strongly condemn their use anywhere, anytime, and by any actor, whether States or non-State actors. We consider the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention to be a key disarmament instrument. Its integrity, full implementation and strict application must be guaranteed and universal adherence pursued. All EU Member States have joined the Convention and we urge States that have not yet done so to join it without delay, or, as an interim step, to comply with the norms of the Convention.
Twenty years since its entry into force, the Anti-Personnel Mine Convention is a success story of effective multilateralism and disarmament diplomacy, strengthening the rules-based international order, rooted in respect for international law, human rights and international humanitarian law. The Convention combines a strong global norm with impressive results on the ground, including the destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines, the clearance of mine contaminated land and its provisions that each State Party in a position to do so, shall provide relevant assistance to mine victims, integrated into broader national policies, plans and legal frameworks. The Convention has generated a measurable and considerable positive impact on humanitarian protection, stabilisation, development and disarmament worldwide, contributing to international peace and security and to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The EU acknowledges that the objectives of the Convention have, however, not yet been achieved in full. Anti-personnel mine contamination continues to cause harm, instil fear, deny access, impede socio-economic development and stop displaced people from returning home. The EU is concerned about the ongoing impact of existing contamination and the new large-scale contamination by anti-personnel mines of an improvised nature in countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The burden placed by anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war on individuals, families, communities, regions and States remains high and unacceptable. The outcome of this Review Conference must provide guidance for our collective effort to address those remaining challenges.
You can count on our continued support for achieving progress towards a mine free world and making a difference for people living in mine affected countries. The EU and its Member States are major donors and since the last Review Conference, have committed more than EUR 500 million for mine action in over 30 mine affected countries. The EU also provides significant support for the universalisation and implementation of the Convention and the Maputo Action Plan. Most recently, the EU supported the Global Conference "Fostering Partnerships" on mine survivors and disability rights in Amman, Jordan. The EU is committed to providing further cooperation and assistance, also in light of the new Oslo Action Plan. We call on all States, including existing and potential new donors to step up their efforts. Furthermore, we urge all States Parties and States participating in the Conference to meet their financial obligations under the Convention in full and on time.
We welcome the growing understanding that national and local ownership, based on an inclusive national mine action strategy, is key for achieving effective and sustainable outcomes. We support concepts such as the Individualised Approach, National Mine Action Platforms as well as Country Coalitions which provide important venues for affected States Parties to present their specific challenges and needs to mine action operators and donors.
The EU expresses its appreciation for many partners and stakeholders who have contributed to the success of the Convention, including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The EU would like to sincerely thank the Special Envoys, Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium and His Royal Highness Prince Mired of Jordan, for their tireless efforts in promoting the universalisation of the Convention. The EU congratulates the Implementation Support Unit on its steadfast and invaluable work, and underscores the strong partnership between the EU and the United Nations, including on mine action. In particular, the EU honours the courage and determination of deminers who are working to make land accessible and safe again, and commemorates those who lost their lives while doing this noble work.
Finally, Mr. President, let me reiterate the elements which we would like to see included in the outcome documents of the Fourth Review Conference, as set out in the EU position adopted by the Council of the EU on 25 June 2019.
- Firstly, the Oslo Action Plan should welcome the new UN Mine Action Strategy and take note of the UN Secretary General's Agenda for Disarmament in this context.
- Secondly, we would like the Political Declaration to highlight our strong commitment to the rules-based international order, rooted in respect for International Law, including Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law; reaffirm the ambition and aspiration of the Third Review Conference in Maputo to meet the goal of a world free of mines and new mine victims to the fullest extent possible by 2025; underline the importance of full compliance with all the Convention’s obligations; underline the importance of partnerships with all mine clearance actors, including civil society; recall that mine action can enable socio-economic development, peace building and stabilization; and make a commitment to consider gender in all aspects of mine action.
To close my statement, Mr. President, please rest assured that the EU will fully support your efforts in achieving a successful outcome of the Review Conference that should strengthen the norm against anti-personnel mines and make tangible progress towards a mine free world.
Thank you, Mr. President
*the Republic North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.