I want to thank Kenya for organising this Arria meeting on a sadly relevant topic. Like others, Norway has lost personnel in IED-related attacks, and we welcome this opportunity to engage in discussion on how we can deal with this scourge.
IEDs are simple, cheap, and deadly. “Improvised” does not mean that they are not sophisticated. Indeed, the internet has been a great enabler. Hostile actors quickly adapt to new situations and technology. And the means, methods, and purposes, of the use of IEDs varies in- and across- conflicts.
This all points to the fact that protecting our peacekeepers from the threat of IEDs is a complex task, requiring a comprehensive approach. And Norway fully supports the development of a ‘counter-improvised explosive device strategy’ by the UN Secretariat.
We need to understand the threat situation. This includes being able to gather, and analyse relevant information about hostile actors and their methods. And interaction with host countries, and the local population is key.
We must be prepared for the threat. Our peacekeepers need to be properly trained and equipped. And in this regard, Norway supports the deployment of specialised mobile training teams, in partnership with the UN Mine Action Service.
We must also strengthen our ability to detect and defeat the threat. It is important that we explore the use of new technology - such as Unmanned Aerial Systems - to detect activities in the area of operations, and along routes of transportation.
Continued support for the Mine Ban Convention is also fundamental. The convention has established a norm against indiscriminate weapons such as anti-personnel mines. And we must pursue all relevant avenues to ensure that those using IEDs in violation of international humanitarian law are held to account.
There is no easy solution, but we owe it to our peacekeepers to minimize the risks they run in the pursuit of the safety of others.