FIRST REVIEW CONFERENCE OF THE CONVENTION ON CLUSTER MUNITIONS
CLEARANCE AND RISK REDUCTION
STATEMENT OF AUSTRALIA
Clearance of cluster munition remnants will be challenging for many States, particularly due to the danger, cost and technical expertise required to survey, detect, clear and destroy cluster munition remnants, as we have heard today.
Australia encourages States to share the challenges and experiences they have had in clearing cluster munition remnants.
Since 2010, Australia has committed $87 million to risk education activities and clearance of explosive remnants of war including cluster munitions.
Our funding has helped to clear landmines and other explosive remnants of war from priority areas in over twenty countries, including many here today, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Palau and Sri Lanka.
Australia’s support through the aid program is complemented by clearance work undertaken by the Australian Defence Force through OPERATION RENDER SAFE, involving clearance operations in the South West Pacific.
The last iteration of OPERATION RENDER SAFE was held in Bougainville (Torokina), Papua New Guinea in October/November 2014.
The ADF-led mission included Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada and Solomon Islands. It involved approximately 500 personnel, who disposed of 6 tonnes of ordnance, which involved the clearing of 109 sites of 2293 ammunition items.
The dates and location of the next iteration is yet to be determined, but will likely occur in 2016.
Our support reflects our integrated and comprehensive approach to mine action, which to the extent possible includes clearance, risk education and facilitating the return of contaminated land to productive use.
In order to direct mine action assistance most effectively, we also urge affected non-States Parties to commit to addressing the problem by ratifying the Convention and identifying and prioritising mine action within their national development plans and national budgets.
Thank you Madam President.