30 November 2018.
Thank you, Madam President,
Norway would like to start by expressing our gratitude to the current Presidency for your work to universalise the Mine Ban Convention since the last Meeting of States Parties, as outlined in the report you have submitted. Rest assured that Norway will continue to do its best to promote the Convention and adherence to its norms in the year to come.
We would also like to acknowledge and appreciate the continuous efforts by the Special Envoy of the Convention, His Royal Highness Prince Mired of Jordan, a long-standing friend and partner of Norway.
Norway urges all States that have not yet joined the Convention to do so at the earliest opportunity and warmly welcomes all new States Parties.
While accession is the ultimate aim of our universalisation efforts, there are a number of intermediate steps that states not yet party can take to facilitate their future accession, and to prevent further harm from anti-personnel mines.
As you have yourself mentioned in your report, one of these steps could be to develop formalised commitments to adhere to at least some of the Convention’s obligations. This could be particularly important for states that stockpile anti-personnel mines, and for states that retain a production capacity. Moratoriums on use, on production and on transfers would also bring us closer to our ultimate objectives. Any stockpiled mine destroyed is a potential life spared.
We should make full use of the Convention’s obligations on cooperation and assistance. This is particularly important in our dialogue with affected states not yet party. Upon accession, these states might require support to fulfil the Convention’s mine clearance, stockpile destruction and victim assistance obligations. We can lower the accession threshold by demonstrating how we as a community work together across regions to assist those in need. In this regard, it is worth mentioning again that according to the Landmine Monitor, the available resources for mine action have never been higher than last year.
In addition, we should not underestimate the value of continuous dialogue with states not party in order to promote the norms against use contained in the Mine Ban Convention, even if these states do not choose to accede. Strengthening the norm by highlighting the indiscriminate and inhumane nature of anti-personnel mines will further stigmatise use, and prevent the loss of lives and limbs.
In some of the most difficult conflicts of today, anti-personnel mines are used by non-state armed groups, often in the form of improvised mines. We therefore need to intensify our efforts to convey also to these groups the inherent indiscriminate and inhumane nature of these weapons.
Having the Convention’s core humanitarian objective at heart, ending the use of anti-personnel mines by non-state armed groups has the same essential effect of saving lives and limbs of civilians, of children, of people who just want to live their lives in peace.
In our upcoming presidency, Norway will give priority to promoting adherence to the Mine Ban Convention and its norms, both through our own activities and in partnership with other states parties as well as organisations.