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General Assembly calls for greater efforts to remove threat of landmines, munitions

Photo: UNDP/Arne Hodalic
UNDP/Arne Hodalic
Photo: UNDP/Arne Hodalic

General Assembly calls for greater efforts to remove threat of landmines, munitions

The General Assembly today called on countries, institutions and United Nations agencies to step up their collective efforts to eliminate the threat posed by landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) as the number of deaths and injuries worldwide from such hazards continues to fall.

In a resolution, UN Member States stressed the importance of countries drawing up national mine action plans and ensuring they have the necessary funding and technical expertise to carry out the work of removing and disabling mines and munitions and educating the public about the threats posed by them.

The resolution also specifies the need to ensure victim assistance programmes are incorporated into national development plans and to make sure that mine action activities take account of the different needs of various segments of the population, including children.

In his most recent report on UN assistance in mine action, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says mine action plays a critical role in five major areas connected to the broader work of the UN – peace and security, humanitarian affairs, economic development, human rights and international law.

Presenting the report to the Assembly’s fourth committee today, Dmitry Titov, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions, noted that the number of deaths and injuries from mines, munitions and ERW was falling overall thanks to the efforts of national authorities and UN agencies.

Mine clearance and mine education to affected communities had helped bring about the global drop, he said.

But Mr. Titov also said casualties are still rising in some countries, with the number increasing in Sudan by 35 per cent last year. In other countries, such as Libya and Côte d’Ivoire, recent conflicts have led to the placement of fresh mines, munitions or ERW.

The Assistant Secretary-General also emphasized the importance of mine action components in relevant peacekeeping missions and the need to have robust ammunition management programmes in place in affected countries.