I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at the Sixth Conference for Protocol V of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
The harm to people and development caused by explosive remnants of war long after a conflict has ended remains significant and widespread. This ambitious Protocol will thus be judged by its ability to catalyze action by States to prevent and remedy suffering.
I welcome the work this year to address the challenges of affected States in accessing assistance, and the focus on coordinating clearance operations, sharing best practices on the safe storage of ammunition and assessing the progress made by the High Contracting Parties towards fulfilling their obligations.
Recording and transferring information on the use and abandonment of explosive ordnance are critical. Educating people on risks and providing relevant information to civilian populations in contaminated areas are also essential for reducing casualties.
The High Contracting Parties must never lose sight of their obligation to assist those affected by explosive remnants of war. I commend your Plan of Action on Victim Assistance. In advancing this important area of work, I urge the High Contracting Parties to cooperate closely and take on board the lessons learnt from other victim assistance forums in addressing the needs of survivors within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I also urge you to expand the Plan of Action to cover the other Conventional Weapons Convention protocols, in particular Amended Protocol II.
Protocol V requires stronger efforts on universalization and full and effective implementation. I call on all States, as well as international and non-governmental organizations, to support these goals. The United Nations fully supports your efforts to diminish the burden of conflict on civilians. I wish you every success in your deliberations.