4C: Mine action

Statement on the agenda item Mine Action, delivered by Counsellor Unni Rambøll

In a time of rearmament and rising global tensions, building trust and ensuring adherence to commonly agreed norms and rules is more urgent than ever. Established norms are being severely challenged. The humanitarian disarmament conventions are threatened. We must act to preserve the instruments that prohibit and regulate the use of weapons that do not distinguish between civilians and combatants, such as the Mine Ban convention.  

The Mine Ban Convention, together with the Convention on Cluster Munitions, are cornerstones of the humanitarian disarmament architecture. Grounded in a human centered approach, the treaties have been hugely successful and serve as positive examples of how disarmament diplomacy can reduce human suffering.  

And there is good news to celebrate. The last four years have exceeded our expectations and more square meters than ever have been cleared of mines, despite challenges with the pandemic, instability, wars, and economic down times.  

Nevertheless, anti-personnel mines continue to cause deep suffering and pose acute protection challenges in many countries. We are deeply concerned by reports of new use of these indiscriminate weapons, especially on Ukrainian territory.  

In countries suffering from instability and the presence of non-state armed groups we see an increase in the use of improvised explosive devices. IEDs causes a high number of civilian casualties. Improvised, victim-activated mines are no different to the convention than manufactured mines and must be addressed within the Convention.  

Of the more than 30 states parties with reported or suspected mine contamination, only a handful are in a position to meet their current clearance deadlines. Reduced funding of mine action globally being one of the main causes. We urge States Parties to the convention to maintain the funding for mine action. This includes the affected states. Contributing with own funds and resources demonstrates ownership. National ownership is key to success in mine action, as well as to donor funding.  

It is equally important that we use our limited resources in the most effective way. Proper implementation of the International Mine Action Standards, including the most up-to-date mapping and land release methodology, is central.  

Norway remains a consistent partner in mine action. The protection of civilians is a lodestar in our humanitarian policy. Mine clearance and risk education continues to be a priority for us, along with universalization of the Convention and its norms. We will continue to advocate for an inclusive approach to mine action that is sensitive to gender and diversity. It is not primarily a question of values. It is a question of getting the best results. We will continue our support to victims. 

Recent developments underline the urgent need of ensuring universal adherence to the humanitarian disarmament instruments. We call on all states not party to the conventions to join without delay.