Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War
Fifth Conference of High Contracting Parties

Statement by Mr Philip Kimpton
First Secretary, Australian Permanent Mission

9 November 2011

Thank you Mr Coordinator

We appreciate your hard work this year on the issue of international cooperation and assistance.

International cooperation and assistance is central to the fulfilment of Protocol V’s objectives. The assistance Australia has provided to affected States is set out in our national report under Protocol V and was mentioned briefly by my Ambassador this morning.

Needless to say, we are committed to working with partners in States affected by ERW to clear land, assist survivors as well as build national capacities.

Mr Coordinator

Our experience through these activities has shown that certain approaches to mine action delivery make a difference in maximising the impact of our assistance.

First, taking a long-term, integrated and comprehensive approach to mine action, risk education and victim assistance removes impediments to development that ERW inflict on communities.

Second, supporting countries to develop their own well coordinated and managed national mine action program improves the effectiveness and sustainability of the assistance. Likewise, supporting mine action initiatives within national development programs helps to broaden the developmental impact of mine action and is an indicator to the international community of the relative priority accorded to mine action by the affected State.

Third, from a donor’s perspective, we encourage affected States to utilise all available methods for clearance of ERW in order to improve efficiency. There is a range of practical methods that can be employed to release areas suspected of containing ERW more rapidly and with a high level of confidence. This includes using all sources of evidence regarding contamination, undertaking evidence-based clearance, using appropriate clearance technology and involving the local community in decisions on land release.

Fourth, through providing multi-year funding to partners, Australia has been able to enhance the predictability and flexibility of our support, and reduce administrative burdens and costs. We urge all donors to consider providing multi-year and flexible financing to mine action.

Finally, we have also learnt that taking a ‘development for all’ approach, which is inclusive of age and gender considerations as well as all victims and people with a disability, improves outcomes for all affected community members.

Mr Coordinator

The effective mobilisation and coordination of international assistance is an ongoing challenge for the mine action community. Many benefits flow from more coordinated activities, including more effective:

  • matching and channelling of resources;

  • on the ground cooperation between stakeholders;

  • analysis, learning and development of innovative approaches to mine action.

We have found that coordination efforts are most effective at the country level, and to this end Australia will continue to support nationally owned and coordinated mine action programmes. At the global level, we consider there is an opportunity for more strategic partnerships amongst the donor community which would better assist States to achieve or advance their mine action priorities including clearance.

We welcome your recommendations, Mr Coordinator, and especially recommendation (b). It highlights the importance of cooperation amongst providers of assistance which can be explored in greater depth at the Meeting of Experts in 2012. As the incoming Chair of the Mine Action Support Group, Australia will encourage cooperation and coordination amongst donors at the international level and close cooperation with affected States.

We are also encouraged by your report that there is lots of activity on cooperation and assistance within the framework of Protocol V and on ERW contamination more generally.

Mr Coordinator

Australia would also like to highlight that cooperation and assistance plays a key role on universalisation. In the course of Australia’s presidency of Protocol V we encouraged a number of CCW High Contracting Parties in the Asia-Pacific region to join the Protocol. Some States raised with us the burdensome costs of clearing their territory of ERW. We pointed to Article 7 on existing ERW and Article 8 on cooperation and assistance. By joining the Protocol those States would open an avenue to seeking cooperation and assistance from the Protocol’s High Contracting Parties. We encourage all High Contracting Parties to provide cooperation and assistance as requested. It will demonstrate the effectiveness of the Protocol and promote universality.

Thank you.