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21ST INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF NATIONAL MINE ACTION PROGRAMME DIRECTORS AND UNITED NATIONS ADVISERS

Director of Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action Mr. Gazanfar Ahmadov and Operations Officer Mr. Tural Mammadzada have participated at the 21st International Meeting of National Mine Action Programme Directors and United Nations Advisers (NDM-UN) that took place from 13 to 16 February 2018 at the Palais des Nations at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva

        

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) as the organizer of this annual event has drafted an agenda that best fitted to the theme of this year. As a major platform for bringing together both the National Mine Action Authorities, Donor States, UN Organizations, Monitoring and Implementation Support units for the implementation of Ottawa Treaty obligations as well as the International Commercial and Non Governmental Organizations specialized in Mine Action sector, this years gathering stressed on the concept of Integrating Mine Action into broader Development context in affected states as well as its subsequent contribution to the achieving of Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 that are globally accepted by United Nations.

        

Being an effective sector for “Advancing protection, peace and development” in war affected states, states with active military ammunition storages the Humanitarian Mine Action has become an integral part of overall development process. Various presentations by mine affected states illustrating the path towards achieving their national strategic goals and the challenges through an effective advocacy and strong dedication demonstrated the significant evolution of the sector throughout the past two decades.

Stressing on the importance of political will and state ownership, Azerbaijan was given a floor to present on its concept of Sustainable Mine Action for Sustainable Development. In his presentation Mr. Gazanfar Ahmadov, touched upon the very crucial decisions by the Azerbaijani Government that served as an entry point for integrating Mine Action into the overall Development Process in the country.

Various tasks by the Azerbaijan Government in support of agricultural, urban development, education system, and safe living conditions for people at risk as well as International projects under different Partnerships for national capacity development, implemented by ANAMA are significant examples of how Mine Action in Azerbaijan has become part of broader development context. In order to benefit from international best practices and to be able to share its key strategies for achieving a fully nationalized mine action program, ANAMA has always relied on the international best practices and lessons learned. Moreover, the importance of broadening  current partnerships and establishing new cooperation aimed at developing national capacities and regional cooperation Mine Action sector links to SDG 17  “revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”.

ANAMA is going to celebrate its’ 20th Anniversary in July 2018 this upcoming event might be followed by a one or two days round table meetings for discussing potential partnership opportunities.

A bit of neutral analyzes of the situation with the loyalty of some actors of different humanitarian movements that are very much interrelated.

The Humanitarian Mine Action is a very hard and painstaking set of activities aimed at reaching the Treaty Obligations in States signatories to the APMB Convention, and in states non-signatories but dedicated to eliminate the hazard of mines and ERW to its’ civil population. Being part of UN Humanitarian Agenda, the Humanitarian Mine Action is guided by International Principles. Nevertheless, despite the fact that we are all acting under the humanitarian umbrella of the United Nations, on certain occasions we turn to undermined the international legal obligations or neglect them, in some cases due to the lack of knowledge, but yet that doesn’t justify our ignorance. The particular example of such an ignorance of United Nations Resolutions, is the disrespect of The UK based Demining Company “HALO Trust” that conducted mine clearance operations in the territory of self-declared Nagorno Karabakh without official permission of the Republic of Azerbaijan or even reporting to it while it is considered as the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and is supported by UN Resolutions 822,853,874 and 884 as of 1993. When we come across with such negative side effects, we start to ask the question of are we respecting the conventions and resolutions that constitute bases for our work? If not, then are we transparent enough in our humanitarian intentions?

Azerbaijan has suffered and continues suffering from military confrontations. We have spent years to clear regions and territories and years to raise awareness among children to protect them and their lives as part of peace and stabilization process. If we are talking about sustainable peace then how to convince the innocent generation of vulnerable children and give them the feeling of safety and trust if one could throw an IED by a drone, or manually in a river that in a shape of a teddy bare that attracted a girl who was visiting her relatives in Tovuz region close to the  confrontation line? The fatal cause of such an inhuman trick that was designed for attracting a child as it was a toy that is meant for children discloses the real nature of us. What about an eighteen month old toddler Zahra Guliyeva and her mother who were killed by a mortar and grenade launcher on 4 July 2017?

Are we getting humanitarian by implementing humanitarian work? While the direct output of Mine Action is providing safe land for people with the support of donor funds, are we also getting the long term outcomes of building or encouraging humanity for longer peace and stability? Or is the humanity that we are claiming toof serving is just our professional requirement that we are fulfilling and we would just launch a Conventional Weapon namely an artillery shell with “White Phosphorus” content that was recorded and highlighted in the media in April 2016. Diplomatic Missions were briefed on situ and proved the fact of Armenians launching 122 mm Artillery shell P-4 in Tar tar region. Just like any other mine affected state, in Azerbaijan ANAMA has spent years of time and dozens efforts were put to clear the areas from explosive hazard.

By this messages Mr. Ahmadov concluded his Presentation and urged the International Mine Action Community to reinforce its dedication to the International Moral and Legal Obligations. ”

One million of internally displaced people have now grown up to almost two million that are still waiting for the Great return to their historical land which totals 13,6 K sq.km and we as Mine Action people know that the Extent of the ERW problem is not known although some NGOs claim to clear areas but would anyone certify an area that has been cleared under a non-recognized authority throughout a non-transparent processes. For us the hazard in currently occupied territories remain at its original level Estimated: 350-500 sq. kilometers mined, 50-100 thousand mines suspected and very High level of UXO contamination