Security Council Briefing: Mine Action

Statement by H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York

New York, 29 June 2018

Thank you very much, Mr. President,

Let me begin by thanking ASG Zouev for his excellent briefing and his leadership on the issue at hand. Let me also thank Ambassador Llorenty of Bolivia for requesting this meeting.

Today I will address three points:

  1. The threat of landmines.
  2. The UN and mine action
  3. The role of the Security Council

The threat of landmines

Landmines, explosive remnants of war, and improvised explosive devices, pose a significant threat.  They threaten the safety of civilians, parents and children alike. A threat to the safety of peacekeepers  and humanitarian aid workers and a threat during and long thereafter.

As the Secretary General’s report highlights, this is a truly global concern with Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen among the most affected countries. It shows the relevance of mine action for this Council’s agenda.

In places like Mosul, Iraq, urgent humanitarian action is hindered and civilians cannot return to their homes. Indeed, their increased use in urban and residential areas is alarming.

And let us not forget that children are the main victims of explosive remnants of war. That gives as an huge responsibility.

The UN and Mine Action

We comment the role of UNMAS under the able leadership of Agnes Marcaillou. We see a clear connection between mine action and peacekeeping. We actively support the UN in modernizing peace operations through the SG’s Action for Peacekeeping process. We all know that the SG launched that initiative here in the Council in March.

To that context, we highly favor the further integration of mine action in UN peacekeeping. We look forward to working closely with Cote d’ivoire in the coming months in that process.  

At the same time humanitarian space must be protected and my country tries to help. We are number six in the list of donors worldwide in humanitarian mine action.  

We contribute 3 million euros of unearmarked funding to the United Nations’ voluntary trust fund and a further 45 million euros to humanitarian demining projects during the 2016-2020 period. We especially cooperate with NGO’s. We comment them for their work in sometimes dangerous circumstances. Let me mention them: the Mines Advisory Group, the HALO Trust, and Danish Church Aid.  

This is part of our multi-annual funding and multi-stakeholder collaboration approach and we hope other countries will approach mine action in a similar way.    

We welcome recent accessions to relevant instruments such as the Ottawa convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions but frankly we still have a long way to go before all instruments are universal. We hope to see more accessions in all relevant instruments by this time next year.

The role of the Security Council

We believe it is important that the Security Council continues to consider mine action. This can be done both in country specific debates as well as through mainstreaming mine action in Peacekeeping mandates.

Therefore we support the Secretary General’s recommendations contained in this report. This includes urging Troop Contributing Countries to better prepare peacekeepers for the threats they will face and including mine action in peace agreements and cease-fires.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands also favors an annual debate on this subject. One year after the adoption of resolution 2365 the Council cannot become complacent.

Conclusion

Mr. President,

To conclude, mine action really is at the nexus of security, conflict resolution and development.

Its ripple effects can reach far if we go about it the right way. There is a clear humanitarian imperative. Mine action allows farmers to grow crops, it means that parents can buy food for their children, it means that their children can go to school.

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