Capacity building to encourage local ownership as part of international cooperation and assistance

Published: 30 November 2010

Statement by Prof. Shyqyri Subashi, President of the Albanian Red Cross, on behalf of the IFRC, at the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention, Tenth Meeting of the States Parties, in Geneva

Mr President,

On behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and as President of the Albanian Red Cross, I thank you for this opportunity to share the progress made by our member Societies, in this our first meeting since the Cartagena Summit.

Mr President, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

In November last year a “Movement Strategy on Landmines, Cluster Munitions and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW): Reducing the Effects of Weapons on Civilians” was adopted at the Council of Delegates of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This Strategy, consolidating the Movement’s efforts in implementing the relevant Conventions, has further enhanced cooperation within and beyond the Movement to address the humanitarian consequences of these weapons.

At national and community levels, the Red Cross and Red Crescent’s auxiliary role to the public authorities in the humanitarian field enables us to work with governments to reduce the harm caused by these weapons. In Colombia, for instance, the Colombian Red Cross works in coordination with the Presidential Program for Integral Action against Anti-personnel Landmines and is part of its Inter-sectoral Committee. An over-arching program to address weapons contamination has been established and is being run in 17 of the 32 states. This program has three components:

1. To promote national and international norms to address weapons contamination,
2. To advocate for the creation and adoption of policies and programs for the protection of and assistance to the victims, and
3. To raise awareness, including through education, to reduce risks.

Mr President,

In addition to cooperation with governments at national level, international cooperation is integral to our successful work on the ground. For example in Cambodia, the “Community Based Mine Action Program”, is a partnership between the Cambodian Red Cross, Australian Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross and ICRC. It started as an extension of the Australian Red Cross Landmine Survivors Assistance Program, and has been funded by the Australian Government and managed by Australian Red Cross since mid-2007. The program continues to strengthen the Cambodian Red Cross to improve the quality of life of Cambodian people with disabilities, including landmine and ERW survivors and their families, as well as strengthening communities by activities to encourage risk reduction and behavioural change among at-risk groups.

Last but not least, allow me to share the experience of my own national society which works in cooperation with the ICRC in this area.

Albanian Red Cross volunteers continue to collect data on mine and ERW incidents and act as the reporting network for the national mine action authorities, the Albanian Mine Action Executive (AMAE). In addition, this year, the Albanian Red Cross, through a national public information campaign aimed at changing behaviour and saving lives, have reached out to vulnerable groups in ten prefectures of the country. With the extended Red Cross network on the ground, not only have presentations been given in village’s centres, special presentations have been designed and provided to groups particularly vulnerable to ERWs, such as school children, wood cutters, shepherds, collectors of medicinal herbs and gardeners amongst others.

The Albanian Red Cross in this year alone produced 15’000 leaflets and has, so far, distributed 9’000 of them. 1’000 first aid kits with information on weapon contamination were produced and distributed in all branches of the Albanian Red Cross.

These three examples are indicative of our continued support, in line with Action #62 of the Cartagena Action Plan which calls on Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to continue supporting Governments in fulfilling their commitments through local actions.

Mr President,

In 2007 during the 30th International Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference, a considerable number of Governments and National Societies made pledges toward preserving human life and dignity through the faithful implementation of international humanitarian law. With the next international Conference coming up in one year’s time in November in Geneva, we see that reports of the progress-made in implementing these pledges are being made at country level by Governments and National Societies and we take this opportunity to express our appreciation.

In closing, in the context of Article 6 of the Convention, we call upon States to include cross-disciplinary capacity building to encourage local ownership as part of the International cooperation and assistance. Only with endogenous built capacity, can the humanitarian and development impact of landmines and other weapons be addressed effectively.

Thank you Mr President.