ANTI-PERSONNEL MINE BAN CONVENTION
INTERSESSIONAL MEETINGS, 7-8 JUNE
STATEMENT OF AUSTRALIA
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND ASSISTANCE
Australia thanks the Committee for International Cooperation and Assistance for its report and its ongoing efforts in support of the establishment of partnerships to enhance implementation of the Convention. We congratulate the Committee on the success of the Individualised Approach, the evidence of which we can see in the side-events during these Intersessional Meetings.
Australia is committed to supporting the implementation of this Convention and other international action towards a world free of landmines and other explosive remnants of war.
We continue to provide cooperation and assistance in support of global mine action consistent with this Convention in a range of different ways.
Last year Australia’s total expenditure on mine action was approximately AUD 5 million (CHF 3.7 million).
Australia funds international agencies working globally across all areas of mine action including in mine clearance, risk education and victim assistance including the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Humanity and Inclusion (formerly Handicap International).
We also support specific bilateral programmes supporting clearance work and other aspects of mine action in affected countries.
In June 2016 we contributed AUD 5 million (CHF 3.7 million) to UNMAS’s activities in Iraq. We will provide a further AUD 11 million (CHF 8 million) to UNMAS’s Iraq project over the next three years as part of our AUD 100 million (CHF 73.5 million) commitment to humanitarian relief and stabilisation of Iraq.
In addition to our contributions to UNMAS’s mine action work in Iraq, we will provide AUD 8 million (CHF 6 million) over two years, starting in 2018, in support of UNMAS’s mine action programs in Syria.
Furthermore, we are pleased to announce that Australia will provide renewed support to demining efforts in Sri Lanka. We have recently entered a new partnership which will provide AUD700,000 (CHF 525,000) in assistance over the next two years to the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and local NGO Devlon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH).
These new bilateral programs are in addition to our existing five-year, AUD 9 million (CHF 6.6 million) project in Cambodia, which builds on a long partnership with that country’s peak body for monitoring and coordinating mine action activities, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victims Assistance Authority (CMAA).
IN 2017, we also provided AUD 500,000 (CHF 375,000) to mine action programs in Colombia, including $400,000 (CHF 300,000) to UNMAS, $50,000 (CHF 37,000) to the ICRC and $50,000 (CHF 37,500) to the Gender and Mine Action Program (GMAP).
Finally, we have made a range of contributions in recent years to victim assistance efforts, including providing AUD 1.9 million (CHF 1.4 million) to ICRC MoveAbility for 2015-2018, AUD 600,000 (CHF 441,000) to Humanity & Inclusion for 2016-2018, supporting the Disability Rights Initiative Cambodia and producing cross-conventional Guidance on an Integrated Approach to Victim Assistance.
In addition to the international cooperation and assistance we provide through these channels, we are continuing our long-standing direct support to the effective operation of this Convention.
We make an annual voluntary contribution of AUD 140,000 (CHF 103,000) to the Mine Ban Convention Implementation Support Unit under our current 2016-2019 funding arrangement.
We serve as Sponsorship Coordinator for this Convention and we make an annual contribution of AUD 35,000 (CHF 26,000) to the Sponsorship Programme.
We strongly encourage all States Parties to contribute, as they are able, to the critical work of the Implementation Support Unit (ISU), the Sponsorship Programme, and direct mine action through national, bilateral and global programs.
Thank you Chair.