02 July 2010

Intersessional Standing Committee Meetings, 25 June 2010. Thank you Madame President. We would like to use this last session to reflect a bit more broadly on international cooperation, and also to make a link with its role in universalizing the Mine Ban Treaty. Lessons learned from the last eleven years on international cooperation and assistance were very well reflected in the Cartagena Action Plan (CAP), with almost one third of the CAP dealing with international cooperation and assistance.

We need more opportunities for creative, frank, and concrete discussions to ensure that these points, and international assistance more generally, are implemented in the most efficient way possible.We think that it would be useful to continue discussions like today's - and a new Standing Committee could be the best way to structure such discussions. This topic could be an appropriate one to consider at joint meetings with the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Discussions on international cooperation and assistance should not be limited to just asking for money, or looking at how and where to find money, but should be open to the many other forms of cooperation and assistance that differ from country to country. Our approach should be creative yet simple, taking into account the national and international environments.

Possible ideas include involving regional development banks, national sports and cultural fundraising initiatives, and partnerships with national private banks and financial institutions. Donor states should prioritize humanitarian considerations, not political ones, and should avoid diversion of money to bureaucracies and unnecessary fees that adversely affect the timing and impact of assistance to affected countries.Affected countries should not expect that making a request by itself is a guarantee to receive assistance.

They must demonstrate their qualifications, for example through realistic planning, SMART objectives, transparency, accountability and adoption of national laws that facilitate assistance.At the same time, we need to recognize that some deserving states with less political visibility receive less funding, even if they have made their needs clearly known. Is there a way to ensure that no states in need slip through the cracks of Article 6? Despite all the successes of the Mine Ban Treaty, the fact remains that many states are not able to implement some of their obligations due to a lack of resources or due to an inability to use existing resources in an efficient way.

We are concerned about the message this might send to states not yet party to the treaty. For example, as discussed Monday, two states in non-compliance with their stockpile destruction obligation had made their needs for international assistance known before joining the treaty, and indeed were not willing to join until they had been promised funding for stockpile destruction. What message does it send when several years after joining - indeed after both of their deadlines have passed - they still don't have the support they need?

Finally, a word on transparency. We would like to encourage State Parties to report on international assistance in their Article 7 reports, not only the amount of money donated or received by the State Party but also on what types of financial and technical assistance may be available in the future.

Thank you Madame President.