Completion ceremony of Jordan’s obligation under the anti-personnel mine ban convention ‘to clear all known minefields on its territory’
Statement by Ms. Amat Alsoswa UNDP, Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for the Arab States on the occasion of the Completion Ceremony of Jordan’s obligation under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention ‘To clear all known minefields on its territory’ - Dead Sea
Your Royal Highness Prince Al-Hussein bin Abdullah II, Crown Prince deputizing for His Majesty
Your Royal Highness Haakon Crown Prince of Norway
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with heartfelt enthusiasm I join this historic event that Jordan is witnessing today. Jordan is writing history and our gathering here at the Dead Sea illustrates Jordan’s leadership and the Government’s commitment to finding a lasting and comprehensive solution to the human and socio-economic problems caused by landmines. Jordan today is the first country in the Middle East to declare itself free of mines in 2012 as per the deadline set by the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty.
Landmines kill one person every 20 minutes. We are all here because we share a common purpose: to rid the world of these weapons of indiscriminate destruction. The consequences of landmines inflict a deep personal and social cost on victims and their families. They have national consequences in terms of trauma, and loss and maiming of human life; they deny freedom of movement, access to basic services and hinder development and recovery. They have regional consequences as they cause and exacerbate refugee flows.
Allow me to take this opportunity to commend the courageous and sincere efforts of the Jordanian deminers, who risked their lives for a noble cause. Let me here quote the United Nations Secretary General, “I salute the mine action workers who brave dangerous conditions and risk their lives in this pursuit. Let us all rededicate ourselves to this life-saving cause so that our children can live on a planet free from the threats caused by landmines and explosive remnants of war”.
Jordan should be very proud of its human capacity and expertise in this field, particularly the skills, perseverance, and courage of women deminers.
Your Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This event is an excellent example of the donor community, UN and national partners coming and working together to combat the destructive consequences of wars towards cherishing human life and paving way for human development. The United Nations Development Programme is pleased to have succeeded in bringing donors together with NCDR and other Jordanian national institutions to witness this commendable result.
In December 2005, the General Assembly declared that 4 April of each year will be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. This Year the UN secretary general sent a clear message: “Landmines and explosive remnants of war hamper development and endanger lives. Let’s eliminate them together for a safe sustainable world.”
Disasters and violent conflicts are the two greatest threats to progress in human development in the 21st century. This is why crisis prevention and recovery are cornerstones of the work of UNDP. UNDP provides risk reduction, prevention and recovery support to 86 countries. Our mine action work also involves promoting universal adherence to all relevant legal instruments, including among other the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention, Protocol V on explosive remnants of war, the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Mine action as a practice area is now internationally recognized as being a highly multidisciplinary sector which includes activities in five areas, namely: i) mine clearance ii) mine risk education iii) survivor and victim assistance iv) stockpile destruction, and v) advocacy for a world free of the threat of landmines. Not only do the different sectors demand different skill sets and capacities, they also involve markedly different stakeholders. Such actions make an invaluable contribution to the United Nations efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Your Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen,
UNDP’s involvement dates back to July 2003 when the government of Jordan requested UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) for assistance in strengthening the capacity of the National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation to manage the ‘demining process’ in Jordan. However, demining is only one of the pillars of a more comprehensive suite of activities known as ‘mine action’ and therefore the outputs and outcomes far exceed the original intention of the intervention.
UNDP provided a full time Chief Technical Adviser, for a four year period, to the National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation (NCDR) under the leadership of HRH Prince Mired. The technical advice provided resulted in developing a joint donor programme of action for demining and also included extensive technical training to all the 70 staff to strengthen their capacities to assure quality and monitor the demining programme.
Throughout the years UNDP support aimed at more than the act of mine clearance. Capacity building, knowledge sharing, and South -South cooperation were also priority areas in which UNDP, with other well recognised organisations and centres of excellence, supported the National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation.
The National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation ran successfully for three consecutive years, since 2009 the training programme for Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) International Senior Managers offering high quality training in all areas of mine action operations and management to people from ERW affected countries from all around the globe. They also discussed humanitarian principles, and victims assistance, together with land release and coordination issues. All the participants shared their particular experience from their countries. The training course is renowned internationally for its quality, it benefits ERW affected country mine action professionals and managers and is an indication of Jordan excellence in mine action.
The mine clearance programme removed hundreds of thousands of mines from a vast area that contained both anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines. It resulted in not only removing the physical risk for the population but also released precious land that is now available for development.
I would like to conclude by thanking our Jordanian partners and donors for their support and dedication to enable Jordan to reach this remarkable result, and to acknowledge the sound and well recognized capacities of the NCDR, as a model in the Middle East.