As delivered by Head of Delegation, Joshua Dorosin,
Deputy Legal Adviser
Geneva, November 20, 2017
As this is our first time taking the floor let me begin by congratulating you Mr. Preisdent on your election to lead our work on Protocol V. Let me assure you of our delegation’s full support for your work and for the work of the parties to Protocol V.
I also want to add my voice to those that have congratulated Afghanistan, and welcomed them as the latest state to become a party to Protocol V, and to reaffirm our commitment to support the work of this body in promoting universalization.
Mr. President, the United States has been a strong and steadfast supporter of international efforts to eradicate explosive remnants of war.
We were strong supporters of the work that brought us Protocol V, playing an active role in the negotiations that led to this protocol in 2002 and 2003.
Both before and since those successful efforts, the United States has been a leader in pursuing the eradication of explosive remnants around the world.
Since 1993, the United States has invested more than 2.9 billion dollars in more than 100 countries around the world in support of this critical humanitarian imperative, including through programs in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Lao, Vietnam, Lebanon, Angola and Bosnia to name just a few.
Mr. President, we welcome your work on, and proposals related to, national reporting under Protocol V.
With respect to Article 4, we wanted to thank you and the participants in both of today’s panels for their informative presentations and offer a comment. The United States is fully committed to implementing the requirements under Article 4 related to the recording, retaining and transmission of information in order to promote and ensure the eradication of ERW.
To the maximum extent possible, the U.S. military tracks and records every use of explosive ordnance by the U.S. military. Reports are maintained by the relevant commands.
The United States has procedures for unexploded ordnance (UXO) operations that are common to all branches of the U.S. military (i.e, U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Marine Corps).
The timely provision of information related to likely locations of explosive remnants of war can significantly reduce incidental harm to civilian populations by facilitating identifying, marking, and clearing areas that contain explosive remnants of war.
As far as practicable and subject to legitimate security interests, the United States has made information available about its use of explosive ordnance to other States or the United Nations (UN), which have undertaken risk education or engaged in clearance, removal, or destruction of ERW, potentially resulting from that use.
Our experience has shown us that cooperation between U.S. representatives and clearance coordinators on ground is an extremely effective method to pass relevant information and to facilitate efforts toward identifying, marking, and clearing areas that contain explosive remnants of war, and we have been prepared to pursue such cooperation even before the cessation of hostilities in order to address this critical humanitarian objective.
Again, Mr. President, we thank you for your important work and stand ready to support you in these efforts.