June 12, 2017
At the initiative of Bolivia, the Security Council will hold a briefing tomorrow (13 June) under the agenda item maintenance of international peace and security with the title “Comprehensive Approach to Mine Action and Explosive Hazard Threat Mitigation.” Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Alexander Zuev, will brief on the work of the UN related to mine action, including the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS). A mine action worker from UNMAS in Colombia, Nathalie Ochoa Nina, will provide a briefing focusing on her experience in the field. Bolivia has proposed a draft resolution as an outcome, but at press time negotiations were still underway and no action has been scheduled for tomorrow. It seems Bolivia is aiming to get agreement on a draft that could be adopted later this month. It would be the Council’s first stand-alone resolution on mine action.
In preparation for the meeting, Bolivia circulated a concept note recalling that the Council regularly calls for the mitigation of the threats posed by explosive hazards such as landmines, explosive remnants of war, cluster munitions, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), particularly when considering peacekeeping or special political mission mandates, and that the mitigation of such threats is vital to the success of missions and to promoting peacebuilding and stabilisation efforts. The note highlights the importance of mine action for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, mission mobility, the return of displaced persons and refugees, commercial activity, and sustainable development.
The concept note asserts that because of “the cross-cutting nature of mine action and its relevance to promoting the peace and security agenda, it is appropriate for the Security Council to hold a thematic briefing on mine action and to adopt a resolution that will frame a comprehensive approach to mine action and explosive hazard threat mitigation.” It presents the briefing as an opportunity to address how the complexity of these threats has evolved in terms of the types of explosive hazards being used and the action required to mitigate their impact, including the leading role played by UNMAS. It emphasises the growing threat posed by the use of IEDs, particularly by non-state actors in asymmetrical conflicts, and their impact not only on civilians but also UN peacekeeping personnel, negatively affecting mobility and the delivery of mandates. According to the note, 105 injuries and 21 fatalities were caused by IEDs in 167 incidents recorded since 2014 involving explosive hazards and UN uniformed personnel. In addition, the concept note highlights the important role played by UNMAS in implementing and coordinating mine action activities.