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Nordic Statement Arria "Protecting the Peacekeeper: Suppressing the Deployment of Improvised Explosive Devices against Peace Operations"

31.03.2021  21:46

Statement by Martin Bille Hermann, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Denmark

New York, March 26th 2021

Chair, Dr. Kimani,

On behalf of the Nordic countries – Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark – I want to thank Under-Secretary-General Lacroix, Lieutenant-General Gyllensporre, Brigadier Mwazighe and Deputy Director Cohn for their insightful briefings this afternoon

New actors and new conflict dynamics have emerged and the use of improvised explosive devices, IEDs, has increased. The threat from IEDs is present in many conflict zones whether in the shape of a homemade landmine, a boobytrap inside a building, or a suicide bomber.

The Nordic countries believes in the necessity of practicing multilateralism through contributions to UN peace operations and supports reform efforts to improve this crucial part of our common toolbox.

We support improving the safety and security of peacekeepers as one of the Action for Peacekeeping’s central priorities, and we commend Lieutenant-General Gyllensporre’s implementation of this in MINUSMA. We are following up on this commitment in the field: One example is Norway’s contribution to the strengthening of MINUSMAs capacity to investigate IED incidents through its specialized police team.

The challenges stemming from IEDs are complex and multifaceted. Mitigating this threat requires a broad spectrum of integrated efforts.

From adequate pre-deployment and in-mission training of peacekeepers, survey and clearance operations, stockpile management, to development of standards and guidance on risk assessment and threat mitigation, to victim assistance and the prevention of violent extremism.

Getting rid of this complex challenge will require a long-term commitment from donors and affected countries. The Nordic countries have a long tradition for contributing to such efforts.

The Nordic countries support the efforts of UNMAS to protect UN peacekeepers from explosive threats and direct attacks, and Nordic humanitarian NGOs are at the forefront of global mine action, both through the survey and clearance of explosives from the ground, and by setting standards for the entire sector.

IEDs form a long-lasting and severe humanitarian threat even after the actual hostilities have ended. They are difficult and slow to clear even for the most experienced demining actors. Several Nordic countries thus pay special attention to mitigating this threat through their donor funding.

Persistent and predictable donor commitments are essential. There will be no “finishing the job” without “financing the effort”.

The Nordic countries contribute financially to system-wide UN mine action in many countries.

In Somalia, Finland directs part of their funding to safe and secure stockpile management in order to prevent the proliferation of materiel to terrorists and armed groups, and Sweden supports UNMAS’ work on IEDs through the UNSOS Trust Fund. And, I am proud to mention that for more than a decade, Denmark has hosted an annual international explosive ordnance disposal course, conducted in cooperation between a civil society organisations and the military.

In Kenya, Denmark and Sweden have for years partnered with Brigadier Mwazighe’s International Peace Support Training Centre to bolster the Centre’s efforts.

Curbing the deadly impact of IEDs on UN peace operations will require determination, innovation and unified efforts. Let me assure you that this will continue to be a Nordic priority.

Thank you.