The 17th Meeting of States Parties elected Norway to preside over the Mine Ban Convention on 30 November 2018. As president, Brattskar and his team will lead the work under the Convention and Norway will host the Fourth Review Conference in Oslo in November 2019.
The Norwegian presidency will take as its point of departure the humanitarian aspect of the Convention “As long as landmines are in the ground, they continue to kill and maim, so we must increase the pace of mine clearance worldwide” said Ambassador Brattskar as he took over the presidency. It was the humanitarian concerns over the indiscriminate impact of landmines that provided the push for the Mine Ban Convention. The Convention is an important tool to ensure the protection of civilians both during conflict and long after conflicts are over.
A mine free world
The goal of a mine free world by 2025, which was adopted during the 3rd Review Conference in Maputo, Mozambique, will underpin Norway’s efforts to inject new energy into global mine action, although we recognize that our work will also have to continue beyond that date.
When states meet in Oslo for the Fourth Review Conference, they will agree on a new five-year action plan. The Oslo Action Plan should provide a push to finish the job of mine clearance in as many countries as possible. Far more experience, technological advances and vastly improved methodologies are available to the mine action sector today than was the case when the Mine Ban Convention was adopted. A mine-free world does not mean a world without landmine victims and survivors, however. Survivors will continue to need access to services, education and employment in their communities. “Our joint aim is to ensure that victims can enjoy their full rights and place in society” said Brattskar.
A successful Convention
The Mine Ban Convention is one of the most successful multilateral arms-related conventions in recent times. It was adopted in Oslo on 18 September 1997 and signed by more than 100 countries in Ottawa on 3 December the same year. In 2019, it will be 20 years since the Mine Ban Convention entered into force. The Convention has established a strong norm against any use of landmines. This norm is adhered to by many more than just the state parties to the Convention. The stigma attached to using this banned weapon is very clear.
Since the Convention was adopted, 164 states parties have joined, 51 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed, and vast areas have been successfully cleared and released to local communities. This makes it possible for people to live free from fear, and for development to take place. Each of these 51 million landmines represents a potential life or limb saved.
Norway has been supporting mine action for 25 years and is one of the top five donors to global mine action. We are currently funding mine action in 18 countries across the world, in direct partnership with humanitarian NGOs.
A new challenge: Widespread use of improvised landmines
Despite the success of the Mine Ban Convention, we have witnessed new and widespread use of improvised landmines and improvised explosive devices in recent years. Many of these are used as tools of war and terror by non-state actors. “While improvised landmines themselves are not a new concept, the scale of the problem is. We must rise to the challenge and jointly develop our understanding of how to tackle this issue” said Brattskar.
The links below allows you to read more about Norwegian activities and other mine related issues:
More about the Norwegian Mine Ban Efforts on the Norwegian Government’s website: https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/foreign-affairs/humanitarian-efforts/mbc_presidency/id2619701/
More about Norwegian Mine Ban Efforts on the Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN in Geneva’s website: https://www.norway.no/en/missions/wto-un/our-priorities/humanitarian-affairs/presidency-mine-ban-convention/
More about the The Mine Ban Convention: https://www.apminebanconvention.org/