03 June 2009

Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, 29 May 2009

Thank you for the opportunity to speak here on the issue of linking mine action development. The ICBL believes that linkages between mine action and development that truly expand, accelerate or otherwise improve funding and other assistance to mine action programming can greatly enhance treaty implementation. At the same time, we have three main concerns about implementation of the concept that might run counter to the goals of the treaty.

First, we would like to address the rationale for linking mine action and development. Among the original reasons put forward by States Parties promoting this linkage was the critical argument that it would secure funding for mine action in the long term, by placing mine action within a greater budget from which funds could be obtained on a stable and ongoing basis. This assurance was made in light of the concern, expressed by the ICBL and others, that mine action funds might be compromised by a shift away from dedicated budgets. We are concerned that the focus of the discussions has shifted from guaranteeing secure and stable funds to one of merely ensuring complementarity between mine action and development programs in their implementation on the ground. While this is an important consideration, it must not obscure the crucial issue of making stable multiyear funding available to mine action programs that will be jeopardized without it.

Second, we urge States Parties to maintain specific multiyear mine action budgets within their overall assistance budgets. In cases where special mine action budgets do not exist, or where they have been discontinued, we urge States Parties to establish them. Not all areas of treaty implementation are linked to development, and not all mine action programming can be addressed through generalized development budgets. Special mine action earmarks are essential to ensure that those areas of treaty compliance not closely related to development are not left unaccounted for.

Third, we would like to urge States Parties to work with all development actors to ensure that, where necessary, mine action is among their core priorities, and to ensure that mine action takes a central place in development program objectives and funding requests.

Thank you.