ECOSOC initiatives aligned with UN SDGs: Munir Akram
Pakistan calls for expanding int’l cooperation to offset landmines’ multiple threats
UNITED NATIONS, Pakistan has called for strengthening international cooperation in mine action to counter the threat posed by landmines and other explosives to civilians and infrastructure as well as to safeguard UN peace-keeping missions and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In a statement submitted to the UN Security Council, Ambassador Munir Akram voiced concern over the high number of civilian casualties caused by landmines, explosive war remnants (ERW) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and said as one of the largest troop-contributing countries to peace-keeping operations, Pakistan attaches immense importance to addressing the challenges posed by land mines.
In a ministerial level debate on mine action, the Pakistani envoy told the 15-member Council that IEDs restrict the mobility of UN peacekeepers, spread fear across communities and undermine peacekeeping mandates.
“Apart from death and injury, mines also undermine the ability of the humanitarian workers to carry out their critical tasks,” he said.
“Our peacekeepers continue to operate in many conflict zones where mines pose a grave threat to their safety and security, and seriously undermine their ability to fulfill the Mission’s mandates,” Ambassador Akram said, pointing out that a number of Pakistani peacekeepers have been killed or injured due to mines and similar explosive devices.
He said international assistance and cooperation in mine action should take into account national conditions and needs of landmine-affected countries; differences among states with regard to their security environments and military strengths; and must strike a balance between humanitarian concerns and legitimate national military and security needs.
“At the same time,” he added, “the international efforts should aim towards enhancing the practical results of de-mining assistance and cooperation and ensure provision of new technologies to affected countries in detecting and mitigating the threats posed by landmines.
In addition, the Pakistani envoy said the recent surge in attacks and fatalities of peacekeepers necessitate making a more ‘strategic assessment’ of the threat posed by IED’s; increasing the level of preparedness against the changing nature of the threat; enhancing the capabilities of peacekeepers; use of new technologies in the peacekeeping missions to avert this threat; and allocating adequate resources for the safety and security of peacekeepers.
“The development of strategies to mitigate this threat must involve close coordination, cooperation and involvement of the Troop and Police Contributing Countries who can bring an invaluable perspective about threat dynamics and challenges on the ground based on operational experience,” he said, emphasizing that the UN peacekeepers must be constantly updated regarding the IED threats.
Enhancing consultations with host countries and respecting their ownership should also be part of a comprehensive approach to counter the IED threat, Ambassador Akram said.
Pakistan has rich experience in the development and implementation of a national counter IED strategy, he said, offering training for Troop and Police Contributing Countries at its Peacekeeping enters.