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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Riunione in formato Arria su “Explosive Ordnance Threat Mitigation: for the Implementation of a Coherent and Comprehensive Response”

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Stefano Stefanile, Vice Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Meeting in formula Arria del Consiglio di Sicurezza su “Explosive Ordnance Threat Mitigation: for the Implementation of a Coherent and Comprehensive Response” —

Thank you Mr. Chair,

Italy is ready to engage in more effective and integrated action to mitigate the threat and build new partnerships with all stakeholders involved in mine action.

We support a broader humanitarian approach to mine action, focusing on clearance, mine risk education and assistance to survivors. Based on this approach, we set up a dedicated financial facility – the “Italian Humanitarian Mine Action Fund” – which each year allocates approximately 3.5 million euros in support of Mine Action programs in a number of conflict and post-conflict areas.

One of our privileged partners is UNMAS, with which we have launched jointly six initiatives in 2018 worth a total of about 2.3 million euros.

In our approach to mine action, we also attach particular importance to cultural heritage sites. In Mosul, during our mine clearance activities, we paid special attention to the old city and to sites of historical and cultural relevance identified as landmarks in coordination with UNESCO, including the great mosque of Al Nuri.

International cooperation and assistance cannot only mean financial support, but must be translated also into sharing expertise and technical know-how. And this was what was done, as an example, by the Italian Armed Forces operating in Afghanistan and Lebanon, which conducted an extensive clearance of explosive remnants of war in close coordination with local stakeholders.

For training and expertise, our Armed Forces rely on the work of a dedicated national Centre of Excellence to counter IEDs and all types of explosive devices. The Centre applies the most advanced standards in terms of safety and security in demining operations, and enjoys well-established cooperation with corresponding facilities of partner countries and with UNMAS.

Its demining courses are also part of Italy’s 2019 pledges to the UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness system. Training is indeed essential to preparing troops on the ground to prevent and respond to IED attacks and to enhance the security of our peacekeepers and the communities they are mandated to protect.

As clearly stated in the 2017 Santos Cruz Report, technology for situational awareness and adequate equipment are also crucial. Personnel like TCCs and PCCs deployed in missions with IED risk should be fully equipped with appropriate mine-protected vehicles (MPV). Missions should also acquire adequate technical means (e.g. UAVs) to gather information ahead of convoys where appropriate, and for route surveillance.

Lastly, let me reiterate our firm belief that mine action should not only be seen as a form of intervention to protect individuals and communities but also as an essential step towards sustainable development, as highlighted by the Secretary-General in his Agenda for Disarmament.

Thank you.