International counter-Improvised Explosive Devices experts meet in Brussels
From 29 May to 1 June, Belgium hosts the 2nd meeting of the UN working group to prepare standards to counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) at the Egmont Palace in Brussels. The meeting is organised jointly by the FPS Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Defence Minister Steven Vandeput stress the significant Belgian contribution to this very important fight. In recent conflicts, IEDs have been used increasingly indiscriminately against civilians, humanitarian workers and peace-keepers.
The working group is coordinated by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and is co-chaired by Belgium and China. Its members are experts from ten countries, as well as NATO, UNMAS and the UN Office of Military Affairs. In response to an appeal from the UN Secretary-General, these experts will not only develop mine-clearing standards, but will also tackle training and equipment needs, education in the risks caused by these devices and the land release of affected areas.
This standardisation work, in which Belgium's Defence expertise is well recognised, must allow us to provide a better response to the challenges posed by these improvised explosive devices, particularly in terms of the safety of mine-clearance experts. It is due to be presented in the autumn.