The 2nd High-Level Regional Meeting on ” Enhancing Regional Cooperation and Resource Mobilization in ASEAN in Mine/ERW Action”

10 Sep

Nanjing, China PRC:

On 7-9 September 2023, ARMAC in coordination with the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) of the People’s Republic of China (China PRC) co-hosted the 2nd High-Level Regional Dialogue under the theme, “Enhancing Regional Cooperation and Resource Mobilization capacity in Mine/ERW Action in ASEAN” in Nanjing city, China PRC. The dialogue was followed by a Technology and Equipment Exhibitions organized by Shanghai Emerging Science and Technology Institute.

The dialogue was made possible by the generous support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the People’s Republic of China. The meeting was attended by high-ranking members of the diplomatic community and representatives from the National Mine Action Authorities/centers of the affected-ASEAN Member States (AMS), representatives of ARMAC Steering Committee, representative from ASEAN Secretariat, UNDP, UNMAS, and Canada to learn/share the successes, challenges, best practices, national strategies in implementing mine action programmes, as well as to provide the opportunity for affected AMS and their respective counterparts to further enhance bilateral/multilateral cooperation for mobilizing resources.

The dialogue was presided over by Minister Counsellor/Charge d’affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Beijing, MR. IRWANSYAH MUKHLIS, on behalf of the Chair of 2023 ARMAC Steering Committee (ARMAC SC) and co-chaired by ARMAC Executive Director Mr. PRUM SUONPRASETH and Mr. MA SHENKUN, Deputy Director General of the Department of Arms Control of the MFA of China PRC.
In his welcoming remarks, Mr. MA SHENKUN underscored that China PRC has always listed ASEAN as a key target of demining assistance and cooperation, and has done its utmost to provide assistance within its capacity and supported the project “Enhancing ASEAN’s Regional Cooperation and Resource Allocation Capacity in Mine Clearance” to help implement the ASEAN Political and Security Community Blueprint 2025 with practical actions. He further added that China was committed to working with affected ASEAN countries to continue to build a peaceful homeland in accordance with the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two sides, promote the development of the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership, build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, and contribute to peace and development in the ASEAN region.
Addressing the dialogue, Mr. Prum Suonpraseth, Executive Director of ARMAC, started by extending his appreciation to the Government of the People’s Republic of China, for sponsoring this event, and for taking an ever-increasing interest ad active engagement in humanitarian mine action work and cooperation within the ASEAN region. ARMAC ED further stated that, “the dialogue demonstrates the commitment towards deepening China-ASEAN multilateral cooperations, demonstrating the strength of regional partnership and solidarity. The partnership between ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center with the Government of the People Republic of China a partnership of immense importance which is rooted in our common aspiration and shared value for the cause of Humanitarian Mine Action. The dialogue would serve as a key platform for ensuring progress, prosperity, sustainability of Humanitarian Mine Action in the ASEAN region and for advancement of partnership framework on cooperation and resource mobilization in affected AMS thru bilateral or multilateral mechanism with other governments of AMS, international and regional donors.” He further added that, “traditional financing has been a critical issue in our sector in the affected AMS. As such, using innovative financing or exploring non-traditional financing for the sector could provide an alternative solution to the financing gaps. And while technology and innovation continue to emerge and play important role in speeding up mine action work, initiatives on how to balance and align this advancement to other relevant aspects in the sector should also be visited, for example the need to balance and address environmental issues, aging workforce in the sector and how to expand our scope in formulating standard approaches to using technology between countries and within the region, in mitigating risks for destruction and detonation, and in advocating for adopting practices that are not only sustainable but are also mindful of available resources.
In his opening remarks, the Chair of ARMAC SC highlighted that, “Indonesia would like to see a resilient ASEAN and become a barometer for cooperation that would contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and world. With this spirit, Indonesia takes up a theme of “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”. Indonesia puts its priority deliverables under 3 pillars: (i) ASEAN matters, (ii) Epicentrum of Growth, and (iii) implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP). Under these 3 pillars, Indonesia is determined to make ASEAN important and relevant for the people of ASEAN and beyond, including to actively carry out peace and humanitarian diplomacy. Along with ASEAN Political-Security Blueprint 2025 and ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on the Establishment of an ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center, Indonesia sees the need to support ARMAC as a platform of regionalism and multilateralism. It has successfully carved out a niche for itself in the region and provided the foundation for cooperation in humanitarian mine action (HMA) in the region. ARMAC’s role today is perhaps more important than ever before given the geopolitical challenges and uncertainties that we are facing. In addition, Indonesia has a high commitment to demining in global level and has ratified the Ottawa Convention in 2006 and actively carried out demining process under UN peacekeeping operations in Lebanon and Democratic Republic of Congo”.
The Chair added that the dialogue served to enhance the cooperation by strengthening dialogue and practical cooperation in humanitarian assistance and maintaining regional peace, security and stability collectively and as a platform for affected AMS to propose new and innovative projects to a high-level international audience. Also, the event was timely and as funding to the HMA sector is facing challenges with competing priorities and arising conflicts in other parts of the world.
Mine action is always at the forefront of efforts to rebuild lives and communities in the affected AMS. Despites the conflicts have been over years ago, these remnants of war continue to cause casualties to innocent civilian and hinder socio-economic and infrastructure development. The impacts of conflict have not only left thousands of survivors but also family members of non-survivor or known as indirect victims in need of ongoing medical care, rehabilitation, psychosocial support and facilitation to overcome the countless barriers to accessing necessary services, as well as school, employment and community life.
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