Thank you Chair,
As this is the first time my delegation is taking the floor, please allow me to thank you and Ireland for the dedicated work and invested efforts in bringing this process where it is today and NPA extends our gratitude and congratulations.
It is a fact which we have also heard underlined today that the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is the leading cause of harm to civilians in armed conflicts. The Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA)Political Declaration process has succeeded in establishing the norm that the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in urban and populated settings causes grave direct and reverberating harm to civilian population and as such cannot be tolerated and has to be addressed. Civilians must be protected at all times, by all actors under all circumstances.
As an international disarmament and mine action operator, NPA has decades of experience responding to the needs caused by the immediate and long-term effects of explosive weapons, which prove time and again to be particularly devastating in urban and populated areas. Their harm is not only immediate and indiscriminate, but also lingers long after a conflict is over, protracting crisis, imposing great risk to civilian lives and livelihoods, hindering humanitarian access, return of displaced populations, reconstruction and development efforts for decades after their intended use has expired. It also deepens already existing social disadvantages, thus further marginalizing and harming certain groups of civilians for years to come.
We welcome the wide statements of support of the Political Declaration text expressed here today by many states and hope this indicates strong commitment further down the line when it comes to the signing and implementation stages. For the full success and to reinforce the norm laid out by this process, we must demonstrate concerted efforts and urge states to not only sign but also fully implement the provisions laid out in the EWIPA Political Declaration text and as soon as possible. It is only by turning the words we commit to into concrete measures and actions that we will achieve true protection of civilians. Framework laid out in the Political Declaration should soon translate into corresponding national strategies, standards and good practices, to ensure harm to civilians in conflict is minimized.
We hope states continue to recognize the imperative need for this Declaration in present times, which are bringing increasingly urban conflicts where it is nearly impossible to ensure no civilian harm. The density and pure nature of populated areas implies there could be little to nothing done to ensure precision and limit unintended harm, thus making the risk of use of explosive weapons with wide area effects to civilian lives and wellbeing far from mitigatable in populated area conflicts. NPA also wishes to align ourselves with the statement made by INEW of which we are a member. Thank you.