Statement by the Mine Action Support Group (MASG)
on cooperation and assistance to the
Sixth Conference of Protocol V (Explosive Remnants Of War) of the CCW
12 November 2012, Geneva
Delivered by the Australia, Chair of the MASG
Australia would like to take the floor now as the Chair of the Mine Action Support Group. The Mine Action Support Group is an informal grouping of around 30 mine action donors which endeavors to coordinate the humanitarian mine action programs of the world's major donor states, harmonize the prioritization of their respective mine action programs, and increase donor support for mine action where it is most needed.
The annual meeting of the MASG for 2012 was held in New York on 5 September, which considered the letter from the Ukrainian Coordinator on Cooperation and Assistance to Protocol V of the CCW, updating the MASG on the work of CCW Protocol V and requesting the support of the MASG.
In his letter, the Coordinator advised that he had met with a number of ERW affected states in April 2012. Through a mechanism agreed by CCW States Parties and consistent with Articles 7 and 8 of Protocol V, several ERW-affected States Parties and Observers had submitted requests for assistance.
The MASG acknowledged and welcomed this information. Whilst the MASG cannot make resourcing decisions for its members, all MASG members were encouraged to consider these requests through the normal decision making processes. ERW affected states are also encouraged to follow up funding possibilities directly with MASG members.
The Coordinator also noted interest in future work of MASG members on further improving donor coordination and cooperation. I am pleased to advise that in March 2012 the MASG commissioned a study titled “Mine Action Coordination and Partnerships”. The aim of the study is to map donor interests and support to mine action, and consider ways that the MASG may be able to improve coordination and partnerships in the mine action sector. A draft of the study report identified numerous ways that the MASG could be more pro-active in its work, including through initiatives like joint assessments, better information exchange, joint monitoring and evaluation missions. The draft study has now gone to MASG members for their detailed comments. It will be revised and then reviewed at the next MASG meeting in April 2013, where follow-on activities should be agreed.
I am also pleased to advise that the MASG has taken steps to improve information exchange between its members and the broader mine action sector. These include the establishment of a part-time Secretariat for the MASG and the setting up of a website at www.mineactionsupportgroup.org. Minutes of MASG meetings, study reports and other information of relevance are now regularly posted on the website and we encourage all interested parties to review the website. Once finalized, the MASG study on Mine Action Coordination and Partnerships will also be available on the website.
Finally Mr Chair, I would like to mention an issue that has started to receive more attention, and that is the problem of explosive remnants of war left over from World War II in many Pacific Island countries. At the MASG meeting in New York a briefing was given by the Ambassador of Palau about the large scale presence of unexploded and abandoned munitions in that country.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Coordinator on Cooperation and Assistance once again for his interest in the MASG and associated correspondence and, in return, to assure the meeting of the MASG interest and support to CCW Protocol V.