Discussion on IEDs at the Meeting of the Parties of Amended Protocol II (CCW)

U.S. Statement as delivered by Katherine Baker

Amended Protocol II
Discussion of improvised explosives devices (IEDs)

Meeting of the Parties of Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

Geneva, November 21, 2017

The United States would first like to thank the panelists for their informative presentations and contributions to our collective work and the coordinator for his work on this issue.

The U.S. recognizes the serious threat that improvised explosives devices (IEDs) present around the world and the need for coordinated action to combat that threat.  In this regard, we were a co-sponsor of the resolution on improvised explosive devices at the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in 2017.

Activities within the scope of CCW APII are a small part of U.S. efforts to counter the threat from IEDs.  U.S. counter-IED and humanitarian IED disposal policies promote robust cooperation of U.S. Federal departments and agencies with State, local, tribal, and territorial governments, along with our allies and partner nations, and with private sector and non-governmental partners, to advance awareness of IED threats and to enhance our collective counter-IED and humanitarian IED disposal capabilities.  Alongside our allies and other members of the international community, the United States will continue to develop strategies to address the IED threat and to strengthen international peace and security.

Counter-IED activities differ from humanitarian demining in that counter-IED activities focus on deterring, detecting, and preventing IED employment before threats become imminent.  In the humanitarian demining context, clearance activities focus on IEDs that directly threaten civilians after the devices are left behind by belligerents.  The improvised nature of these devices can make their disposal more complex than traditional demining, and humanitarian deminers may require additional training and equipment.

We believe continuing this exchange of experience will help States determine the best practices for undertaking IED disposal in a humanitarian context that will assist the community in developing appropriate standards for such operations.

CCW APII High Contracting Parties can support this work by continuing to promote the exchange of information on clearing IEDs in affected countries.  Colombia’s presentation at the informal session on August 31, 2017, provided an example of how States can develop a national response and how international agreements can influence this response.

The United States is participating in the United Nations (UN) working group to develop UN standards for the disposal of IEDs.  As has been made clear by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), these standards are for UN use, to provide technical guidance in multiple settings.  These standards can make a valuable contribution to our discussion.

The development of multipurpose UN IED Disposal Standards does not preclude the need for humanitarian context specific international standards.  As a member of the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) review board, we look forward increased efforts to incorporate more guidance on disposing of IEDs in a humanitarian context into these International Standards.

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