Summary: 14 October 2010, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union by Roland Tricot, First Counsellor for Legal and Disarmament Affairs, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, on "Mine Action: evolution and trends of the EU cooperation and international assistance" at the meeting of the Mine Action Support Group - MASG, United States Mission
The EU Delegation wants to thank the US Mission for organizing and chairing this important meeting.
The EU is committed to the goal of a total ban and elimination of anti-personnel landmines worldwide. As one of the world's leading donors for the clearance and destruction of landmines, as well as victim assistance, the EU is a major contributor to the humanitarian needs and actively seeks to mitigate the social and economic problems caused by these inhumane weapons.
The EU cooperation and assistance has expanded over the years.
At the beginning of the 1990s, we concentrated on humanitarian relief. Starting in 1995, the EU adopted a more comprehensive approach towards mine action.
In May 1995, the EU launched its very first Joint Action, with the goal to fight indiscriminate use and proliferation of anti-personnel landmines around the world.
Following the signature of the Ottawa Convention in 1997, the EU adopted a new Joint Action in order to reinforce the extensive political actions already undertaken. Practically, the EU agreed on a common moratorium on transfers and production of anti-personnel landmines, and proposed a multi-faceted contribution by the Union to mine-clearance and related activities.
In 2001, a dedicated thematic budget line was created to support countries to comply with their obligations. More than 90 millions Euros were committed. This budget line was repealed in 2007. Instead, we now seek to mainstream mine action into all our major external assistance instruments, thus making it an integral part of our overall humanitarian and development policies.
Our action takes place today in the context of the European Security Strategy adopted by EU Heads of States and Governments in 2003. Through its comprehensive approach to the security-development nexus, mixing different instruments and policies, the EU offers a unique added-value.
In June 2008, the EU adopted a new Joint Action in support of the universalisation of the Ottawa Convention and the preparation of the Second Review Conference of the Ottawa Convention, held last year in Cartagena. It offered a specific assistance to states parties in the implementation of the provisions of the Convention, in particular regarding demining, victim assistance and stocks destruction.
In addition, in crisis situations the EU will continue to provide assistance through crisis response instruments, such as the Humanitarian Aid Instrument and the Instrument for Stability. These instruments can be swiftly deployed during and after a conflict to carry out clearance operations or provide immediate assistance to victims.
To ensure integration of mine action in our bilateral cooperation, it is also necessary that recipient countries prioritise mine action in their requests for general assistance. This is a means to encourage direct ownership of programmes and to ensure a long-term impact of targeted projects.
EU support is mainly carried out on a bilateral basis. However, multilateral support through international trust funds can be decided on case-by-case basis.
On the matter of EU Funding, in 2009, the contribution from the EU budget to mine action exceeded 31 million Euros in support of the following countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Georgia, Nepal, Occupied Palestinian Territories/Gaza, Pakistan and Ukraine.
In addition, in 2010 to-date the EU has committed 40 million Euros to a number of projects.
The EU supports the re-establishment of minimum living conditions in Angola, and improves access to areas affected by mine and other unexploded devices. We undertook the reduction of mine-related risks and we are reinforcing the institutional capacity of the National Demining Institute (CNIDAH) at national and provincial levels.
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the EU is actively involved in Mine Clearance and Technical Survey. With a view to ensuring Capacity building for the National Mine Action Centre the EU also provides for equipment and training.
In Colombia, the EU supports the institutional strengthening of the Presidential Programme for Mine Action on information management and territorial affairs and on humanitarian demining, mine risk education, and victim assistance.
In Ethiopia, the objective of the project is to improve safety in land-mine affected areas and contribute to the improvement of food security and socio-economic development.
The overall project in Lebanon aims at increasing the possibility of land use and supporting mine-victims. The EU updated the landmine surveys. We also support operational demining teams and provide for mine risk education and awareness.
In Sri Lanka, the EU contributed to integrated humanitarian demining in support of the resettlement of internally displaced communities.
In Pakistan, the EU developed Mine Awareness initiatives for at risk conflict -affected population in the North Western areas.
In total, the EU contribution together with the contribution of EU Member States for the period 2002-2009 amounts to €1.8 billion; as part of this effort, more than €300 millions have been provided through the budget of the EU alone for cooperation and external assistance in more than 50 countries.
A new Council Decision is under preparation in support of the Cartagena Action Plan 2010-2014. It is expected to be adopted within the next months.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.