The UAE commends Viet Nam for convening such an important meeting.
We would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to those who have been killed or injured by landmines, unexploded ordinance, or improvised explosive devices. Over the past decade, there have been more than 150,000 casualties from improvised explosive devices globally. Some 80% of the victims of these devices are civilians.
The explosive remnants of war are an issue that is often overlooked. The threat persists long after conflicts have ended. It affects civilians, impedes the work of peacekeepers, and hinders humanitarian aid. This creates additional knock-on effects, including damage to infrastructure, population displacement, and loss of livelihoods. We reiterate the call in resolution 2365 for member states to mitigate this danger.
We would like to propose the following concrete measures to address the long-lasting threat these devices pose:
First, partnership and cooperation are central to the success of mine action. This includes sharing information, technical expertise, and financial and material assistance. The UAE has prioritized mine action in places such as Yemen, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Kosovo. We work in close cooperation with international partners, the host state, and local communities. To that end, the UAE has contributed $50 million towards Mine Action in Southern Lebanon, and $27.8 million in Afghanistan. Additionally, The UAE has partnered with UNMAS in administering the Emirates Mine Clearance Project in Afghanistan.
Second, innovative technologies should be used to safely and efficiently deal with the threat of mines. For example, where peacekeepers are deployed, we can harness technology to enhance their force protection capabilities by improving mobility, situational awareness, and reaction time.
Third, we must also ensure that both peacekeepers and the civilian population are adequately trained, informed, and equipped to reduce the threat posed by these explosives. In Yemen, for example, a field engineering team from the UAE Armed Forces conducted awareness campaigns for the residents of Yemen’s liberated areas about the dangers of mines and improvised explosive devices.
In conclusion, and in line with the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, commemorated on 4 April, the UAE would like to express our sincere appreciation to all those who have contributed to de-mining. In what are often volatile and high-risk environments, they work to ensure the protection of the civilian population. The international community must work to continue mine action and address this critical challenge to sustaining peace and rebuilding war-torn communities.