UNDER THE MINE BAN TREATY AND THE CONVENTION ON CLUSTER MUNITIONS
Handicap International, September 2011
Intersessional Standing Committee (ISC) meetings on Resources, Cooperation and Assistance under the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) on June 24 2011, Geneva
ISC meetings on International Cooperation and Assistance under the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), on June 29 2011, Geneva
On June 24 2011, the chair of the session on Resources, Cooperation and Assistance under the MBT noted that he sought to follow up on the recognition made last year, and more recently at the Tirana Symposium from May 30 to June 1 2011, that coordination of assistance and cooperation is a central aspect of national ownership. As such, the emphasis should be on partner responsibilities rather than donor priorities. Joint presentations were made by Cambodia and the UNDP, by Mozambique and Norway, and by Spain and Ecuador to illustrate innovative partnership forms.
UNMAS stated on June 24 2011 that the UN believes that mine action is “a cross-cutting activity that continues to directly advance the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals” and it “will be approaching affected states and donors to strongly encourage (…) the integration of mine action as part of the overall development agenda.” UNMAS encouraged “multi-year funding to facilitate long-term planning of mine action programs.” The UN said that they support “initiatives that (…) reinforce partnerships.” For instance, “South-South cooperation and the sharing of experiences and knowledge between affected states.” UNMAS added that States Parties interested in South-South cooperation in mine action could liaise with UNDP and contribute to the Mine Action Exchange (MAX) program and said that UNDP, UNICEF, and UNMAS aim “to regularly communicate the concerns and needs of Government- and inter-agency partners to the donor community through the Mine Action Support Group (MASG).” In this regard, the UN welcomes “recent restructuring ideas with a view to transforming the MASG from a mainly information-sharing forum to a decision-making body.” UNMAS encouraged all States Parties “to promote technical cooperation (including South-South cooperation), in-kind contributions, and other modalities including information exchange on good practices and lessons learnt.”
Australiastated on June 29, “Our individual efforts will be more effective if we work in a strong and closely coordinated partnership with affected states, other donors, and implementing agencies.”
Mexico, who chaired the meeting of Latin American countries and CMC dedicated to South-South cooperation, insisted on South-South cooperation during intersessional meetings at both conventions. On June 29, Mexico stated, “The needs of affected countries aren’t just financial, but also include the need for capacity building, education, and technical cooperation. In this regard, all parties are potentially able to contribute to cooperation activities, including States Parties and thoseactors whoare notdonorsor affected.” Mexico stated they can “exchangeinformation, technicalcooperation, good practices, and experiences in areas relevant and related to the implementation of the Convention, most notably, regarding the victims.”
On June 29, ICBL-CMC stated that all States Parties are “in a position” to provide assistance. “Financial assistance for specific activities like clearance, victim assistance, and destruction of stockpiles is a key component of Article 6, and this will likely come from nations that have the greatest financial resources. However, cooperation and assistance can also take many other forms, including providing technical assistance and sharing expertise, which a broad group of states can offer. South-South or South-North cooperation needs to be encouraged and recognized as a valuable and essential aspect of this work so that the good practices, skills, expertise, and experience of affected states can be promoted and shared.” The planned Working Group on International Cooperation and Assistance should, according to ICBL-CMC, become a forum for real discussions on cooperation and assistance, in all such forms and shapes.
ICRCnoted on June 29 that assistance and cooperation can come in many different forms, “These include activities that are of a technical, material, and financial nature” and “is not necessarily limited to funding but can also involve the exchange of equipment, technology, skills, expertise, and experience.”
On the subject of ensuring a high level of efficiency in mine action funding, UNMAS and ICBL gave presentations followed by the ICRC, Australia, Chad, the GICHD, and Sudan.
On June 24 2011, ICBL said, noting that it is a donor’s prerogative to decide where and how (…) funds should be spent, either bilaterally, or through different multilateral channels, “When using multilateral channels, we therefore encourage donors to ensure that: 1. Funding is administered and transferred to implementing partners in a timely manner; 2. They set a maximum percentage that can be used for administration, thus ensuring that the maximum amount of funds possible is spent for actual implementation; 3. Transparent reporting on how funds are allocated and spent is provided by multilateral mechanisms; and 4. Regular external evaluations of the mechanisms are conducted and published.”
ICBL added that “using multilateral channels is more efficient without earmarking of funds, so that the fund can allocate resources based on affected states’ needs and priorities”, but that “Donors need to insist (…) that there are transparent procedures in place on how allocation of funds to different mine affected countries takes place. When donors want to allocate the funds for a specific country and/or operator, bilateral channels are usually a better and a more efficient option.”
ICBL recommended that “when funds are given bilaterally, that donors: 1. Ensure, before giving funds to an implementing partner, that a specific project is also a national priority; 2. Discuss the performance of supported implementing partners annually with national authorities and ensure that they are satisfied with implementing partners as well; 3. Ensure that there is evaluation of implementing partners regularly and that inefficient partners are held accountable.”
In terms of funding mechanisms, ICBL suggested “to return to the question of mainstreaming mine action into development budgets” “at a future meeting of this Standing Committee” and thought “it would be useful to hear about the experiences of both donors and affected states, including any lessons learned.”
CMC said on June 29 that “new funding needs to be set aside for stockpile destruction, clearance, and victim assistance under the CCM framework and added that States Parties should keep a strong focus on measuring implementation results, through the establishment of baseline values, indicators, targets, and milestones for efficiency, effectiveness, and impact. They should also monitor and regularly evaluate how the assistance is being used in terms of meeting such goals.”
ICRC said, “It is clear that achieving the objectives of the Convention will require increased capacity and resources in the areas of clearance, victim assistance, and stockpile destruction.” Affected states, donor states, regional funding organizations, and agencies in a position to do so “should pursue specific commitments to fund existing and expanded programs and examine their future funding levels for implementation of the Convention.” In the view of ICRC “it would also be useful to consider establishing dedicated funding sources for implementation, as was done by a number of States and organizations upon entry into force of the Mine Ban Convention.”
Concerning victim assistance, UNMAS stated on June 24 that it “started a review of the role and tasks of UN mine action, including headquarters and the field, within the overall role of the UN system in support of persons with disabilities. As part of this process, the UN aims to “further to develop appropriate guidance to the UN in the field.” UNMAS said to expect that the World report on disability “will provide us with a tool to facilitate the integration of victim assistance into broader disability frameworks.” “The recent publication by the Implementation Support Unit (ISU): Assisting Landmine and other ERW Survivors in the Context of Disarmament, Disability and Development,” would also be “of great help” to the review.
On June 29,CMChighlighted the fact that cluster munitions-affected States Parties seeking international assistance should assert national ownership by clearly demonstrating their needs, “(…) Clearance, victim assistance, and other activities should also be indicated as priorities in national development plans or poverty reduction strategies in order for states to qualify for certain types of assistance. In addition, affected states should show their commitment to implementation of the convention through the dedication of national resources, as well as a commitment to be full partners in the efficient use of external resources.”
In the same session, Australiaprovided information and figures on assistance, encouraged affected states to continue their efforts to confirm the extent of their cluster munitions contamination, and “clearly identify their assistance needs” (…). As a donor, Australia emphasized that it looked to see that affected state partners “demonstrate ownership and the national priority accorded to cluster munitions action including through ratifying the convention and providing national contributions, and, to provide effective national leadership and coordination of cluster munitions action.”
Lao PDRsaid on June 29 that it “worked closely with the civil society groups and international organizations (…) to carry out resource mobilization efforts” and “strived to maintain the exchange of information and consultation among all UXO stakeholders”. It provided information about international contributions.
On June 23 2011, during the session on victim assistance (MBT), ICBL stated, “Action 34 of the CAP obliged affected States Parties, by the end of 2010, to develop or update national plans and indicate national resources available, while also demonstrating needs for international cooperation and assistance. At the 10th Meeting of States Parties, just three countries (El Salvador, Tajikistan, and Jordan) fulfilled Action 34 on time. (…) Burundi and Senegal have also shared this information.” ICBL called on remaining states parties “to share plans and budgets as soon as possible and no later than the 11MSP.”
At the International Cooperation and Assistance under the CCM, Norway drew the attention of the delegates to the fact that stockpile destruction, clearance, and victim assistance represent very different challenges “that are quite difficult to discuss together in a meaningful manner apart from on a very general level.” Norway explained that, “Both clearance and stockpile destruction are essentially finite tasks with clear endpoints and with timelines that with a few significant exceptions do not stretch longer than a decade, and for many states much less. (…) Victim assistance constitutes an altogether quite different challenge and the timelines are the full lifespan of those affected.”
Norwayrecommended that steps should be taken “to ensure that our discussions on international cooperation and assistance reflect these realities, and that we start with that in Beirut this September.”
Statements on the Intersessional Standing Committee meetings
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