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Statement 26.02

Statement by H.E. Audun Halvorsen, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, to the pledging Conference of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. February 26, 2019, Geneva

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Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention is one of the most successful multilateral disarmament treaties of recent times. We are 164 States Parties and a thriving network of international organizations and civil society actors who work towards the shared goal of a mine free world. In addition to being the first convention to recognize the rights of victims, the Convention has established a strong norm against any use of landmines.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention. We are honored that the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention will return to Oslo - where its text was adopted 22 years ago - for the fourth Review Conference in November this year.

Norway has been a strong supporter of the Mine Action since even before the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention was adopted in Oslo in 1997. We have consistently been among the top five donors to global mine action for more than twenty years. Today, we support mine action in 19 countries around the world. In 2018, our support for mine action was around 38 million US dollars. We intend to continue our support for survey, clearance, mine risk education and victim assistance, because as we all know, the job is not done yet.

Over the past two decades, the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention has been a formidable tool to protect men, women, girls and boys. Many lives around the world has been saved due to the implementation of the Convention. More than 51 million stockpiled landmines have been destroyed. So each landmine destroyed represents a potential life or limb saved. Vast areas of land have been successfully cleared, and more land is freed from mines every day around the world.

Mine Action is not only about clearing areas from the danger of landmines. It is about giving a child the chance to walk to school without the fear of losing its life. It is about giving a farmer the chance to farm his or her land to provide for their family, without the risk of losing a limb. It is about allowing communities to benefit from development.

There is little doubt that our joint efforts over the past 20 years has had great effects. I know the countries represented in this room are staunch supporters of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and that many of you contribute to global mine action either through financial support or technical capacity building. We value all contributions to mine action, because we still have much work to do. As long as landmines are in the ground, they will continue to kill and maim. Landmine survivors will be still have to live with the legacy of landmines for the rest of their lives, even when we have succeeded in clearing all mines and destroying all stockpiles. In other words: we must redouble our efforts and speed-up the pace of survey and clearance worldwide to be able to reach our goal of a mine-free world by 2025.

Challenges still remain. In 2017, landmines and explosive remnants of war caused more than 7000 registered deaths and injuries. Each victim is one too many. These stark numbers remind us that landmines are sadly not a problem of the past. Over the past few years, improvised landmines have again been used as tools of war, mostly by armed non-state actors. While improvised landmines themselves are not a new concept, the scale of the problem is. We must jointly address this challenge so that we can effectively protect civilians from the threat of landmines.

New use of landmines and rising numbers of casualties clearly show that we need renewed political attention and support to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and to mine action. The objectives of the Convention - to save lives, protect civilians, assist victims and to enable sustainable development in affected areas - are as relevant as ever.

The Maputo goal of a mine free world by 2025 remains our objective and rallying cry. Norway wishes to use our presidency to refocus our efforts to achieve this goal to the greatest extent possible. An important priority for us it to bring protection back to the center of our work. At the end of the day, mine action is essentially about protecting civilians.

I would like to thank you all for your commitment to the Convention, and I look forward to welcoming you in Oslo in November.

Thank you.