Washington, DC - Today in Washington, the United States and Norway joined representatives of non-governmental organizations and the private sector to promote collaboration and innovation in combatting the serious humanitarian challenge of landmines and unexploded ordnance in post-conflict countries under the U.S.-Norwegian Demining Initiative.
Norwegian Ambassador Kare Aas hosted the event at his residence in conjunction with the visit of Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende to Washington. Ambassador Aas, Foreign Minister Brende, Deputy National Security Adviser Avril Haines, and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller addressed the guests at the event. They discussed that safely clearing landmines and unexploded ordnance, risk education and outreach to prevent injuries, and survivor assistance programs are all essential to helping countries rebuild. They emphasized that governments need the cooperation and participation of non-governmental organizations and the private sector in these areas as well.
The U.S.-Norwegian Demining Initiative, announced by Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Brende in Oslo on June 15, 2016, is the latest chapter in decades of our close partnership on humanitarian assistance. Built upon the success of the United States and Norway-led Global Demining Initiative for Colombia, the initiative is an effort to broaden partnerships to safely clear landmines and unexploded ordnance in post-conflict countries. The United States and Norway plan to convene a ministerial-level demining conference this fall on the margins of the UN General Assembly in order to secure commitments on humanitarian mine action from other governments and private sector partners for key countries, including Colombia, and thereby help further the cause of international peace and security.
The United States is the world’s largest single financial supporter of efforts to clear unexploded ordnance and landmines. The United States has contributed more than $2.6 billion since 1993 to over 90 countries around the world through more than 60 partner organizations to reduce the harmful effects of at-risk, illicitly trafficked, and indiscriminately used conventional weapons of war.