Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
Address: Chemin des Fins 2, Case Postale 102, 1211 Geneva 19 - Telephone: 022 799 9100 - Fax: 022 799 9178

Mine Ban Convention
First Preparatory Meeting for Maputo Review Conference
Elements of a Plan of Action
Statement of Australia

6 December 2013

Statement delivered by Ms Namdi Payne

Mr President-designate

Australia adds our voice of sincere condolences to the people of South Africa on this sad day of their loss. President Mandela was a hero to us all and his memory inspires us to greater nobility and humility in all of our work.

Australia looks forward to the Third Review Conference in Maputo next year. We welcome Mozambique’s leadership in helping prepare States parties to work towards achieving successful outcomes from the Review Conference.

We thank Mozambique for the working papers which are useful to our preparatory discussions. It is important that the Review Conference sets out a clear path for the future implementation of the Convention.

We agree with other delegations that the Review Conference will need to be ambitious in order to re-focus the political will of States Parties towards fulfilling their obligations under this Convention. Mozambique is indeed a fine example to those States parties with obligations still to meet, of how such ambition can be realised. At the same time, such ambition should remain grounded in what can be achieved realistically in the five year period following the Review Conference.

The Plan of Action will be the key guide to our way forward. We welcome your approach to refresh the structure of the Plan of Action so that it is shorter than previous versions. We agree there is merit in focussing on key actions that are measureable and are able to be translated into real progress on the ground.

Identifying commitments for States parties to “complete” is a helpful concept which could enable us to focus our efforts and prioritise our resources. However, we need to carefully consider what this would mean in practice. We have already seen good progress towards completion of clearance and stockpile destruction within this Convention. However, one specific time-bound deadline for all States parties collectively to “complete” such obligations may not prove practical.

Moreover, the concept of “completion” of victim assistance is complex. As Australian-funded research presented this week shows, a transitional path for long-term assistance to victims and survivors, from mine action programmes to other state agencies, will be required. The best way of doing this will vary in accordance with each state’s particular circumstances. We look forward to further discussions to develop precise actions that address these complex challenges.

We also need to keep in mind the message that the Plan of Action will send to non-States parties. The work of universalisation is not yet done. As we all know, there are still a number of heavily affected states, as well as producers and users of landmines, that have yet to join the Convention. We support His Royal Highness Prince Mired of Jordan’s suggestion to include more specific and meaningful actions on universalisation in the Plan of Action.

We note the Ambassador of Canada also suggested a creative idea to consider establishing an analysing group to address issues of non-compliance. We also note Belgium suggested ways to better frame our future efforts on universalisation and reporting. We thank Belgium for their continued efforts as Coordinator on universalisation as well as reporting.

We see merit in exploring all of these ideas further and which will helpfully shape the Maputo Plan of Action and our working programme going forward.

Therefore, Australia remains open-minded on how to strike the right balance for the Maputo Plan of Action. The review document on the operation and status of the Convention in 2010-14 will be useful input as we go forward in these preparations.

We look forward to continuing discussions on these issues. We offer you our full support in on-going work to further elaborate on the elements of the Plan of Action.

I thank you, Mr President-designate