Coordination and Monitoring of UXO Hotspots Clearance Activities

Jul 6, 2015

Address by the United Nations Resident Coordinator
Coordination and Monitoring of UXO Hotspots Clearance Activities

Signing Ceremony

06 July 2015 – 9:30 am
German Embassy in Tirana

Your Excellency, Ambassador Hoffman,

Deputy Minister Koci,

General Dogjani,

I am very happy and proud to be here today to renew together with Ambassador Hoffman the commitment of the Government of Germany and UNDP to provide support to the critical national endeavor to effectively ensure the human safety and security of the population in general and especially the poor and the vulnerable who are more often those that are impacted more severely by conflict and post-conflict threats.  
The support from the Government of Germany for the Coordination and Monitoring of UXO Hotspots Clearance activities, for the period September 2015 - December 2016 will strengthen efforts to render Albania a country free from the ammunitions threat.
In Albania, the partnership between the United Nations and the government to address the land contamination from mines and unexploded ordnances and educate the local communities for increased resilience started back in 2002 when the Ministry of Defense, with UNDP support, launched a Mine Action Programme, responding to the imminent threat of landmine and cluster munitions contamination in northeastern Albania.
An important result of UNDP’s assistance to the Mine Action Program was undoubtedly the development of national capacities for monitoring, coordinating and ensuring quality assurance of mine action activities in compliance with international standards, encompassing technical, humanitarian and community dimensions.
Such national capacities, now well known by many of you as AMMCO, have become an asset in ensuring effective and safe clearance operations of the ammunition hotspots throughout the country.
Especially in the last couple of years, AMMCO has become a reference for ensuring international standard compliance in UXO hotspot clearance activities.  Indeed it has become an independent quality assurance body supporting the Ministry of Defense to realize its ambition of making Albania a country safe from the ammunition threat.  
I understand that considerable progress has been made to date in disposing the ammunition stocks and clearing the unexploded ammunition hotspots areas and we believe that this progress must be pursued to completion.
We concluded last year a successful partnership with the German Government in this area, allowing AMMCO to assess potential contamination, exercise quality control over clearance and certify about 170,000 sqm as free from ammunition threats.
On the grounds of this recent success, we are committing today to engage in certifying an additional 800,000 sqm (or about 40% of the identified hotspots areas) by end 2016, which is feasible thanks to the excellent cooperation with the Ministry of Defense, the Albanian Government and its international partners, in particular the Government of Germany and that of the United States.
Thank you.

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