Mine Action Standards Must Adapt to Evolving Conflict Stresses Assistant Secretary-General, as Delegates Recount Explosive Horrors
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) approved a draft resolution today, by which the General Assembly would urge all States affected by landmines to identify all areas under their jurisdiction or control containing anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war, as it concluded its consideration of assistance in mine action.
By other terms of that draft (document A/C.4/72/L.12), approved without a vote, the Assembly would also urge support for mine-affected States through assistance in developing mine action capacities; support for national programmes; and reliable, predictable and timely multi-year contributions for mine action activities. It would also urge States to provide necessary information, as well as technical, financial and material assistance to locate, remove, destroy and otherwise render ineffective minefields, anti-personnel mines and explosive remnants of war.
The Assembly would also, by further terms, urge States to provide humanitarian assistance for victims of anti-personnel mines while striving to spare civilians. It would stress the importance of cooperation and coordination in mine action, and emphasize the primary responsibility of national authorities in that context, while also stressing the supporting role of the United Nations.
Before action on the draft resolution, Alexandre Zouev, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, delivered a statement on behalf of Under-Secretary-General Jean-Francois Lacroix in the latter’s capacity as Chair of the United Nations Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action.
Mr. Zouev emphasized the importance of adapting mine action standards to evolving methods and devices used in conflict, and said that the draft resolution reflected realities on the ground. Mine action was a critical component and driver of humanitarian action, crucial for building peace and accelerating the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said. Noting that the dynamics of the Organization’s deployments had adapted to the evolution of conflict, he said individuals and communities received mine-action assistance even in the midst of active hostilities. In Iraq, the United Nations was supporting the Government’s stabilization efforts in areas liberated from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). Despite falling anti-personnel mine casualty numbers, however, there had been a 40 per cent rise in the number of casualties recorded in 2016 resulting from the full range of devices, he said. “The world cannot afford complacency,” he stressed.