Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons
Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War

Cooperation and Assistance

Statement by Australia

12 November 2012

Australia would like to thank the Coordinator for their work on cooperation and assistance under Protocol V.

Australia remains committed to implementing our obligations enshrined in Articles 7 and 8 of Protocol V, by assisting States affected by explosive remnants of war.

We recognise that effective assistance relies on good cooperation between States and their assistance partners.

At the heart of Australia’s mine action is a network of partnerships that includes affected states, international mine action groups, aid donors, UN bodies, civil society and victims and people with disability.

We continue to work with our partners to deepen and strengthen their commitment to coordination, cooperation and assistance.

This coordination and cooperation is integral to our bilateral mine action assistance, where Australia works with national and international agencies that are engaged in-country.

We seek to ensure that our contribution is complementary to the national mine action program and the assistance delivered by other international assistance partners.

We are mindful that national ownership and leadership by affected states is crucial to the effective coordination of cooperation and assistance.

Australia is increasingly targeting its bilateral mine action assistance through nationally coordinated mechanisms and programs and focusing on building their capacity.

Our long-standing assistance to Afghanistan, Cambodia and Laos is now coordinated through nationally planned and implemented programs.

At the global level, coordination of mine action assistance presents many challenges given the number of countries requiring assistance and the range of parties that are potentially able to assist.

Therefore, we must continue to discuss and pursue opportunities to improve upon our cooperation and assistance.

In particular, we welcome dialogue on how we can best strengthen cooperation and align assistance to countries to meet their obligations to eradicate ERW; including in completing clearance of ERW and building capacity in States facing long-term clearance problems.

We note that there are now many opportunities to pursue such dialogue both within and outside of the Convention architecture.

Australia is focussing its term as Chair of the Mine Action Support Group (MASG) on how the MASG can improve coordination and partnerships in mine action and assist countries to complete their clearance challenges.

We are currently overseeing studies on these two topics and will report to the Convention on their outcomes at the next CCW meeting.

We are also aiming to improve communication between members and other partners and to this end have set up a dedicated website to support the work of the MASG Group.

The MASG website is hosted by the e-mine website and we thank the United Nations for its work in supporting this initiative as well as the United Kingdom for funding the MASG Secretariat.

Australia will also deliver a separate statement on behalf of the MASG. We welcome interest in the MASG from potential new donors.
Mr President

Australia is progressing well against its $100 million Mine Action Strategy and is certain to exceed its commitment over the five year period from 2010 to 2014.

Since we last met, Australia has undertaken a Mid-Term Review of our Mine Action Strategy which concluded that the Strategy is being successfully implemented and making good progress against all four of its outcomes including:
• Improving the quality of life for victims of explosive remnants of war
• Reducing the number of deaths and injuries from explosive remnants of war
• Enhancing the capacity of countries to manage their mine action programs

We are implementing Review recommendations on how to make our Strategy more effective whilst a number of other recommendations will be used to inform our future engagement in mine action.

Finally Mr President

We have highlighted elsewhere in this meeting, Australia’s support for development of the Pacific Regional Unexploded Ordnance Strategy and the recent regional meeting on this issue. As a major donor in the region, we will continue to follow and encourage the Pacific to advance its work on explosive remnants of war and engage with key partners that are in a position to assist.

Thank you.