SECRETARY-GENERAL, IN MESSAGE TO MINE-BAN CONVENTION PARTIES, EVOKES "ENORMOUS" CHALLENGES STILL AHEAD
NEW YORK, 18 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the message from Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the Third Meeting of the States Parties to the Mine-Ban Convention. The message was delivered in Managua on the Secretary-General’s behalf today by Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala:
I am pleased to convey my greetings to all the participants at this meeting of the States Parties to the Mine-Ban Convention. Let me thank the Government of Nicaragua, a country and people that know at first hand the ravages of conflict and the challenges of post-conflict restoration, for hosting this important event.
As you meet in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy that occurred in the United States a week ago today, this gathering takes on even greater significance. Never has there been a greater need for the world to show unity and purpose against the forces of violence and destruction.
The United Nations is proud to be a partner in this effort to keep drawing the world’s attention to the threat of anti-personnel landmines – this insidious remnant of war which continues to cause suffering long after the actual battle has ceased. The Mine-Ban Convention is making a difference in the lives of people around the world, as the international community has made significant progress towards creating an environment free from the threat of landmines. One hundred and twenty States have now ratified the Convention, or are in the process of doing so. I call upon those that have not yet joined the treaty to do so as soon as possible. There has been a dramatic decline in the production, transfer, stockpiling and use of landmines. More mines have been cleared, more victims assisted, more stockpiles destroyed, and more effective technologies for mine action have been developed. More men, women and especially children have been made aware of dangerous landmine zones.
There are still enormous challenges ahead – from more effective coordination and mobilization of resources at the international level, to building better capacity for mine action programmes at the national and local levels. In response to those challenges, the United Nations is developing a five-year mine action strategy identifying goals to be achieved, including an international instrument addressing unexploded ordnances, which were not originally a part of the Convention.
In our partnership to eradicate landmines from the face of the earth, the United Nations will continue to play its part to the full. I wish you a most productive meeting.
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