The statement was held on October 28th under item 22 "Assistance in mine action", and went as follows:
Anti-personnel landmines remain a serious cause of human suffering in many parts of the world. Since the entry into force of the Mine Ban Convention on 1 March 1999, much has been achieved to relieve this suffering, but much still remains to be done. Norway believes that in order to address the problems caused by anti-personnel mines properly, the following principles are important:
- Sensible resource utilisation requires that states are committed to the obligations of the Mine Ban Convention. National ownership of mine action and mine victim assistance is vital. Mine affected countries must assess their own needs and define their own priorities. Sharing knowledge and experience among mine-affected countries constitutes a resource in itself and should be further enhanced.
- To make better use of resources, mine action needs to be co-ordinated at the lowest possible level. The co-operation between national and local authorities, field operators and donors should be enhanced. In order to make mine action sustainable and effective, the primary responsibility needs to be with the mine affected countries themselves.
- Mine Action should be further integrated into both the humanitarian and development agendas. In mine-affected areas mine action must be an integral part of the efforts towards poverty reduction and sustainable development.
The Mine Ban Convention is the primary framework for mine action. The Convention holds provisions not only for a total ban on anti-personnel mines, but also on international cooperation and assistance in mine action. The first Review Conference of the Convention will take place in Nairobi in one months time. The Conference will agree on the way forward for mine action for the next five years. Norway’s priorities will be to promote the intensification and acceleration of mine clearance efforts, at the same time as adequeately ensuring effective care, rehabilitation and reintegration of landmine victims. A continued strong political support for the Convention is important to secure its effective implementation at field level. The most effective and expeditious fulfilment of the Convention’s article five is crucial in this regard. Norway will also work towards securing adequate funding for mine action and, and in particular, advocating the best possible utilisation of the resources available.
Discussions in the framework of the Mine Ban Convention take place between all actors involved. That is mine-affected states, other states, the ICRC, various non-governmental organisations and operators in the field, as well as regional organisations and the UN system. This is a major strength of the Convention.
The United Nations has a role to play in mine action. The implementing agencies of the UN should continue to include mine action in their regular activities when this is relevant. For example, both the UNDP and UNICEF have demonstrated that this is possible. When relevant, mine action should be part of the UN consolidated appeals and the UNDP needs assessments. In our view, the task of UNMAS is to support the necessary co-ordination within the UN system and to secure that mine action is part of discussions and strategies of the UN where this is relevant.
Meaningful implementation of the Mine Ban Convention and the best possible utilisation of the resources available for mine action can only be achieved if efforts are properly coordinated at field level. This is why national ownership of mine action programmes must be ensured.