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Statement Clearance

Statement by Norway on Implementation of Article 5 (agenda item 9 b) delivered during the 17th Meeting of States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, Geneva, 26 - 30 November 2018.

29 November 2018

Thank you, Madam President.

We thank the Committee on Article 5 Implementation for the conclusions and recommendations presented.

Since this convention entered into force, 30 states have reported completion of their art 5 obligations. There are still 36 states parties, and 22 states not parties to this convention, who are still affected by landmines. The Mine Ban Convention is more relevant than ever. The job is not done. Lives are still at risk and men, women, girls and boys live with the daily threat posed by landmines.

Last year, more than 95% of all recorded clearance was by states parties to this Convention. Still, the pace of clearance needs to be accelerated. Too many affected states are not on track to meet their deadlines for completion. In many affected states, land mine contamination is low or modest, and clearance could be completed within a short period with the right approach and commitment.

We welcome Mauritania as the most recent states party to complete their clearance obligations under Article 5 of the Convention

It will be a priority for Norway´s presidency to push the pace of clearance of land mines to protect human life and limbs, and to promote social and economic development. We all know what needs to be done. We know what tools are available to ensure effective clearance and release of land. Survey and clearance must take into account the experience and perspectives of all those affected, in an age- and gender-sensitive way. The next Action Plan to be adopted in Oslo in one year from now  should help us make a strong push to finish the job in as many countries as possible, as early as possible. We continue to be guided by our common aim of a mine-free world by 2025 from the Maputo Action Plan, while recognizing that challenges to reaching this goal remain.

Madam President,

over the last few years we have seen an increase in the use of improvised landmines, mainly by non-state armed groups. This has resulted in an increased number of civilian casualties. This situation urgently needs to be addressed, through risk education for local communities, IDPs and refugees,  – and more importantly, by removing the threat of landmines and IEDs  from the ground.

Improvised landmines are not a new concept. We have been clearing them for years. What is new, is the scale and magnitude of the problem.

We very much appreciate the initiative of the  Committee to produce a background paper on “Reflections and understandings” on the art 5 obligations that follow from the Mine Ban Convention.

This paper reminds us in a very clear manner that the Convention does not distinguish between manufactured and improvised antipersonnel mines, since it is the effect of these weapons which is the basis for the definition. This means that article 5 and article 7 obligations apply in full to states parties who face contamination of improvised land mines.

The challenges related to new use by improvised landmines have increased global political attention and funding for mine action. This is necessary and welcome. But it should not come at the expense of efforts to clear legacy contamination which continues to burden the majority of affected states.

Thank you.