As delivered by Josh Dorosin
Thank you Madame President, we appreciate your willingness to take up your new responsibilities and our delegation is ready to support you and your team in facilitating an informative exchange among states regarding implementation of Protocol V. We also join others to welcome Benin as a High Contracting Party.
The United States greatly values Protocol V as an instrument that brings together States with the common goal of minimizing the risk and effects of Explosive Remnants of War. Full implementation of Protocol V assists in our collective efforts to reduce the post-conflict humanitarian problems caused by ERW.
Our substantive discussions at the expert level this year has assisted states in updating their implementation practices. This year’s discussion of clearance of ERW in urban areas was particularly relevant to several current situations.
These operations play a critical role removing ERW and IEDs from critical infrastructure, homes, and public spaces in urban areas so that local communities can return to their homes and rebuild their lives safe from the threat of explosive hazards.
Lasting peace and stability cannot be achieved if civilians are not protected from ERW. As long as the dangers from ERW persist, it is difficult for communities to recover from conflict, which makes them susceptible to instability. This is why the United States works with countries around the world that need to clear ERW in order to ensure the safety of their civilian population.
U.S. assistance to reduce the threat posed by explosive hazards is part of the broader U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program, which is meant to enhance civilian security. Not only does it encompass humanitarian demining and clearance of ERW, but it also works to reduce the threats associated with stockpiles of at-risk small arms, light weapons, and conventional ammunition. In 2019, the U.S. Government has programs in more than 50 countries and, since 1993, has provided more than $3.6 billion dollars in assistance to more than 100 countries. For more information on this assistance, I refer you to our annual publication titled “To Walk the Earth in Safety,” which is available outside the room and on the State Department’s website.