Statement by Mr. Koji Mizumoto, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, on the Agenda Item 50 (Assistance in Mine Action) of the Fourth Committee of the 72nd General Assembly


Mr. Chair,
 
          At the outset, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to all the innocent civilians who have been killed or maimed by explosive hazards. I would also like to commend all those working for demining for their courage and professionalism.
 
          To begin, Japan, as one of the co-sponsors, strongly supports the draft resolution on assistance in mine action, and I hope that it will be adopted later today by consensus. We thank the Delegation of Poland for its dedicated efforts, and commend the facilitator for his passion, patience and leadership in finalizing this important resolution.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
          Twenty years ago, in 1997, the momentous Ottawa Treaty was opened for signature. This treaty was, indeed, a historical step forward in the fight against suffering and victims caused by landmines.
          Since then, we have seen significant advancement. 162 countries have joined the Treaty and the universalization of the “Ottawa spirit” has steadily progressed. A total 159 of the 162 states parties do not stockpile anti-personnel mines and together the states parties have destroyed over 51 million mines. Over this time, 30 states parties have been declared free from landmines.
 
          However, since we face global crises such as expanded violent extremism and terrorism, the threat of explosive hazards is far from declining. According to Landmine Monitor, the number of landmine victims jumped from 3,700 in 2014 to 6,500 in 2015. Diversification of explosive devices compels us to change our approach. Urgent measures are needed, in particular, to tackle improvised explosive devices, which are the main cause of the increase of landmine victims in conflict and post-conflict contexts.
 
          This 20th anniversary should therefore be an opportunity for us to renew our commitment and review our policies to cope with these new challenges. This resolution can give momentum to our collective efforts, together with Security Council Resolution 2365, adopted last June.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
          Humanitarian actions cannot be undertaken without mine action. Nor can displaced people return home, or civilians live in safety and escape poverty. Mine action is, therefore, a prerequisite for peace, security and sustainable development.
 
          Based on this idea, Japan has been placing assistance to mine action as one of its diplomatic priorities, and we are proud to be the second largest contributing country, with total cumulative contributions from 2011 to 2015 amounting to 263 million USD. Japan has been contributing to a wide range of areas in mine action including survey, clearance, victim assistance, risk education while giving due consideration to the differing needs and conditions of each affected country and the total amount since 1998 has reached 720 million USD in 51countries and areas.
 The Voluntary Trust Fund of UNMAS has been a major partner of our efforts in the Middle East and African region.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
          Taking advantage of this opportunity, I would like to share several lessons learned from our own experiences, which are also in line with our basic approaches of mine action.
 
          First, we recognize that triangular cooperation, including South-South cooperation, should be promoted to foster the establishment and development of national capacities in affected countries.  
          Second, Japan highlights the importance of providing comprehensive support to victim of mines and explosive remnants of war.
          Third, Risk education is critical in preventing civilians from victimization and making peace sustainable on the ground.
          Fourth, a wide range of partnerships is of great importance. Especially, involving civil society organizations is key to promote transformative change of our collective efforts.
          Lastly, gender mainstreaming should be highlighted. There is no doubt that women’s participation enhances the quality of these activities.
 
          We are satisfied that these all elements are well acknowledged in the draft resolution.
 
Mr. Chair,
 
          In 2014, States Parties to the Convention and its stake holders set a political goal to realize a “mine free world by 2025” under the framework of the Ottawa Treaty.
 
          To achieve this goal, the international community still has a lot to do. Japan will continue to play an active role in mine action in collaboration with the United Nations, the Member States, and civil society organizations.
  
Thank you, Mr. Chair.