I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, as well as the Republic of Moldova, align themselves with this statement.
The EU considers the upcoming Review Conference as an opportunity to review progress, reaffirm commitment and generate a push for further universalisation and strengthened implementation of this important Convention. The Review Conference should enable an open dialogue between States Parties and involve all stakeholders to discuss current and future challenges. We encourage all parties to accelerate progress towards achieving the shared goal of an anti-personnel mine free world by 2025.
On 25 June 2019, the Council of the EU adopted Conclusions on strengthening the ban against anti-personnel mines in light of the 4th Review Conference. The Council Conclusions outline the EU’s common objectives for the outcome of the Review Conference. They were presented to the Norwegian Presidency in June and have been submitted as a working paper to this Preparatory Meeting.
The EU highly appreciates the preparatory work carried out by the Norwegian Presidency and the draft outcome documents presented to States Parties, namely the Oslo Action Plan, the Oslo Declaration on a Mine-Free World and the Review of the operation and status of the Convention.
Review of the operation and status of the Convention
The EU welcomes your draft as very good basis for our deliberations. It is an elaborated and comprehensive document addressing all aspects of Convention implementation.
As an additional element, we would like to propose that we explicitly express our gratitude to the work of the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) and the Convention’s Committees, including the Coordinating Committee. They deserve such a recognition.
Oslo Action Plan
We thank the Norwegian Presidency for the draft Oslo Action Plan, which addresses all aspects of Convention implementation. We welcome the inclusion of gender considerations in the specific actions and indicators. In general, we are of the view that the plan indicators should be linked to actions and that the number of actions and indicators should be kept reasonable and that similar or overlapping actions should be combined to produce a streamlined and more concise Action Plan.
Allow me to propose some additional elements in line with the Council Conclusions.
- Firstly, in the introduction, we would like to acknowledge the role of mine action across security and humanitarian efforts, stabilization and socio-economic development, as well as return of refugees and integrated support to mine victims.
- Secondly, in the chapter on guiding principles we would like to include transparency; accountability, effectiveness and efficiency; inclusivity where all stakeholders are involved; and the importance of local ownership, in addition to national ownership, thereby underlining the need to involve both, as appropriate, in the implementation of mine action. In addition to these, to include the principle of non-discrimination, including an inclusive and integrated approach to victim assistance.
- Thirdly, in the chapter on mine clearance, we would like to highlight the need to maintain focus on legacy/historical mine contamination.
- Fourthly, in the chapter on victim assistance, States Parties should recommit to make use of synergies with other relevant instruments of international humanitarian and human rights law, including potentially the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It should also clearly reference engagement in other domains for the integration of victim assistance into wider national social and health policies and programmes; emphasise the value of the integrated approach for victims in general; and stress the freedom of donors to adopt a flexible approach for supporting victims with the aim of delivering effective, efficient and sustainable support.
- And fifthly, in the chapter on cooperation and assistance, we would like to introduce the need for enhanced cooperation and dialogue between donors and affected countries and donor coordination supported by the formats of the Individualised Approach and Partnerships for Completion. We would also like to underline the need for improved donor coordination supported by dialogue formats such as the Mine Action Support Group, the UN Mine Action Directors Meetings, and ad-hoc formats. We would also like to see an encouragement for innovative financing mechanisms for mine action assistance.
- Finally, the Action Plan should also mention the multiplier and catalyst effects of mine action in (1) supporting efforts outside of the Convention, aimed at reconciliation and confidence building between former enemies; (2) for supporting wider efforts aimed at the return of internally displaced persons; and (3) for supporting the integrated approach by marginalised groups and disability being addressed in wider national supports efforts. We would also like the Action Plan to welcome the new UN Mine Action Strategy and add a reference to the specific technical challenges to mine action in urban environments.
Elements for the Political Declaration
The EU welcomes the elements for the Political Declaration which represent an excellent basis for our work.
In addition to the proposed elements, the EU would like to propose that States Parties express their strong commitment to the rules-based international order, rooted in respect for International Law, including Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, and support for continued multilateral dialogue on disarmament. We believe that this EU commitment is widely shared and it could therefore feature in the Political Declaration.
Furthermore, we would like to underline the importance of full compliance, including the financial obligations under the Convention, which are crucial for its effective functioning.
Finally, the Declaration should confirm that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) which meet the Convention's definition of an anti-personnel mine, fall under the obligations of the Convention.
The EU would like to assure the Norwegian Presidency of its full support and cooperation in achieving a successful outcome of the Oslo Review Conference.
Thank you, Mr. President
*The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.