- Check against delivery –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
The European Union is united in its collective commitment to the goal of a world free of anti-personnel mines. All 28 EU Member States are States Parties to the Ottawa Convention and, today, all EU Member States co-sponsor the resolution of the General Assembly on assistance in mine action.
The Ottawa Convention is a good example of effective multilateralism and international cooperation, combining a strong global norm with impressive results on the ground. In the year of its 20th anniversary since entry into force, we expect the Oslo Review Conference to review progress, reaffirm commitment and generate a push for further universalisation. In this context, we support Norway in its role as President of the Fourth Review Conference.
The EU and its Member States are together one of the leading donors in this area. But our effort alone is not enough. We believe that combined assistance by international actors can increase the impact of the different strands of support. The international community needs to reinforce partnerships and collaboration between States, the UN and other relevant international organisations and institutions, the African Union and other regional organisations, the ICRC and relevant NGOs. Reinforced collaboration will help to support the efforts of the affected States in an effective and sustainable way.
Now I would like to turn to the resolution on Assistance in Mine Action, traditionally presented by the EU Member States and facilitated by Poland again this year. The European Union and its Member States are very grateful to the Mission of Poland, in particular Joanna Lalak, for the excellent facilitation, sometimes in difficult circumstances, of this resolution on behalf of the 28.
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. We are pleased that the humanitarian dimension of the resolution is now better balanced.
The resolution further addresses the concern for the impact of mines and explosive remnants of war on populations and expresses concern about the increase in casualties, in particular among children who represent almost half of all civilian casualties.
The resolution emphasizes a need for a comprehensive approach to mine action and stresses the impact of mines and explosive remnants of war not only on access to humanitarian assistance but also on the achievement of sustainable development and peacebuilding and sustaining peace efforts.
We welcome the initiative to include a gender- and age-appropriate perspective and to take into account the specific needs of persons with disabilities.
Also, we welcome the streamlining of the resolution and the call to comply with international obligations related to mine action. UN member states must remain committed in promoting respect for international humanitarian law. Furthermore, we welcome the fact that it recognises the efforts of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action and the African Union on mine action.
Crucially, the resolution also recognises the contribution of mine action to the 2030 Agenda. To this end, we welcome the enhanced call for UN member states to continue to proactively support mine action with predictable and sustainable funding in order to ensure that victim assistance requirements are met.
We thank delegations, particularly those co-sponsoring the resolution, for their constructive engagement on the draft resolution and look forward to its adoption by consensus.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.