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Security Council – Briefing on Maintenance of International Peace and Security

Statement delivered by Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Vincenzo Amendola, at the Security Council briefing on Maintenance of International Peace and Security – Comprehensive approach to mine action and explosive hazard threat mitigation —

Mr. President,

We look forward to the discussion on the resolution that will give a possible outcome to this debate.

At the outset, let me thank Bolivia for bringing this important topic to the attention of this Council. The indiscriminate harm to civilians, as well as to peace and security, posed by anti-personal mines and explosive remnants of war remains a matter of great concern.

While “mine action” has been crucial in helping communities recover from conflicts or receive humanitarian assistance during conflicts, ongoing events are generating new contaminations which may deny civilians the access to basic needs. In this respect, let me recall that countries affected by mines are mostly middle and low income and most of the victims are the innocents and the children.

We are concerned by the expanding range of the threat for civilian populations. I am referring, for instance, to the increasing use of new devices – such as victim activated improvised explosive devices – particularly by non-state armed groups, as well as to the risk posed by unsecured weapons and ammunition stockpiles located in populated areas. Similarly, we are seriously concerned about indications that people killed and injured by mines and other explosive remnants of war have been recently on the rise. This trend, unfortunately, has been accompanied by signals of decreasing funding devoted to mine action. Against this background, we shall remain vigilant, even within and through this Council.

We commend UNMAS and the other UN entities involved in mine action for their remarkable and professional work in a more and more complex environment. We value the coordinating efforts deployed by UNMAS and the progress made in the UN Mine Action 2013-2018 Strategy who were open to civil society involvement. Italy will continue to support all these efforts, also through our current presidency of the Mine Action Support Group.

Mr. President,

Italy will maintain its commitment to mine action, with regard to all its five pillars: demining and clearance; risk education; victim assistance; stockpile destruction; advocacy, inter alia against the use of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions.

As party to all the legally binding instruments relevant to mine action, including Oslo and Ottawa Conventions, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Italy strongly encourages all States to join them. These instruments set high standards for mine action and its universality would mark tangible progress for all.

To conclude, I would like to add my voice in acknowledging that mine action is an essential enabler for an effective humanitarian response, a precondition for a safe return of internally displaced persons and refugee to their homes, and a prerequisite for the reconstruction and developments, including for the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. In favor of all these purposes, Italy remains ready to do its part.

I thank you, Pr. President.