This annual meeting for Mine Action National Programme Directors and United Nations Advisers opened in Geneva on Tuesday, 16 February. At the opening plenary session, delegates were addressed by Ms. Agnès Marcaillou, Director of the United Nations Mine Action Service; Mr. Michael Moller, Under-Secretary-General, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva; Mr. Dmitry Titov, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions, United Nations; and Mr. Stefano Toscano, Director, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining.
During his remarks, Ambassador Toscano highlighted the challenges of operating in the context of protracted violent crises. "More than ever before," he stated, "mine action actors are being called upon to operate in areas close to conflict zones, or in situations immediately following the cessation of hostilities. This evolving working environment in certain areas of the world brings about a new set of challenges that we have to be ready to face." Such an evolution is fitting, he continued, in the preparations for World Humanitarian Summit, to be held this May in Istanbul, Turkey. "In view of the evolution of our working contexts in certain areas of the world, mine action will need to draw closer to the 'humanitarian family.'
The 19th International Meeting of Mine Action National Directors and United Nations Advisers will continue until Friday, 19 February.