Discours du Conseiller fédéral Ignazio Cassis, chef du Département fédéral des affaires étrangères (DFAE) - Seul le texte prononcé fait foi

Orateur: Cassis Ignazio; Chef du Département, Ignazio Cassis


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Many thanks to Italy as President of the Mine Action Support Group and to Ukraine for organizing this important discussion.

I appreciate the opportunity to make some remarks on this important topic.

Mine action in Ukraine is not an end it itself. It is the stage Zero of recovery and reconstruction.

Clearing contaminated land saves lives and is a precondition for the recovery and reconstruction process, a process that will take many more years.

We – as donors in mine action – must rise up to the enormity of the challenge at hand now. And we have done so.

Not only because we stand firmly with Ukraine and its people, but also because the effects of mine contamination in the breadbasket of Europe go far beyond its borders. 

They have severe repercussions on commodity prices and food security around the world. 

Here in New York or in Switzerland, some might not even notice a 10 percent higher bread price.

But in countries where the median income is 1 or 2 dollars, this makes all the difference.

Meanwhile in Ukraine, the consequences for the livelihoods of farmers are far-reaching.

The economies of farming communities are being destroyed, and as result, the productive capacity of this very fertile region could become permanently disrupted.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the forthcoming National Mine Action Strategy Ukraine will possess a clear guiding document for the next years.

Through the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), we have contributed to the strategy’s elaboration.

More importantly, thanks to our pledge of over 110 million US dollars over 4 years, we will actively support its implementation – and we will do this in line with the Lugano Principles agreed at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in July 2022 in my hometown.

I am particularly proud that these principles have launched a new dynamic.

A first result is the massive expansion of the activities of the Swiss demining foundation Fondation suisse de déminage.

The FSD can thus expand its current operations in Kharkiv and start in Kherson Oblast: It will combine and use all available assets - manual deminers, mine detection dogs, demining machines and drones.

Switzerland also supports demining in Ukraine through multilateral organisations.

In 2023, a Swiss contribution of over 10 million US dollars kick-started a multi-year project of the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization.

This initiative supports affected smallholder farmers and rural families:

FSD carries out demining activities and in the meantime, the UN supports farmers technically and financially, so that they stand ready to reuse their land after clearance.

This new form of collaboration is truly innovative and we will continue to support it substantially. 

We are also looking into a number of very innovative projects.

At the GICHD Innovation Conference last year in Geneva, we saw various presentations involving the efficient mapping of land with drones and the use of artificial intelligence to quickly analyze the data and identify mined areas.

This new kind of working can be truly groundbreaking and speed up the process of humanitarian demining.

We are eager to support such pioneering approaches to the benefit of Ukraine.

As the demining activities continue to grow and more and more actors become involved, strategic planning and coordination are ever more important.

After a first Donor coordination workshop in November 2022 in Geneva, it is my pleasure to announce that the next such meeting will take place in Kyiv on April 17-18. 

This meeting will also serve as a preparatory meeting for a high-level ministerial Conference in Switzerland.

The Ukraine Mine Action Conference will take place on October 17-18 2024.

Food security will also be a topic there.

We look forward to hosting you in autumn in Switzerland and to collaborating closely with all of you on the road to this Conference. 

Let’s look ahead to strengthen and accelerate humanitarian demining through diplomatic efforts; 

Let us all work together for a mine-free Ukraine!

Now, I am looking forward to an interesting panel discussion.

Thank you.


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Département fédéral des affaires étrangères

Dernière mise à jour 29.01.2022


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