Assistant Secretary Andrew J. Shapiro for Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said U.S. conventional weapons destruction programs save lives and are critical to helping war-ravaged areas recover.
In his remarks on the reelease of the Tenth Edition of the “To Walk the Earth in Safety” Report, Mr. Shapiro thanked the numerous private sector partners that contribute to the success of the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program.
“These programs are truly a collaborative effort between the Department of State, the Department of Defense, USAID, and the Centers for Disease Control. ” -Mr. Shapiro
He noted those agencies strive to help countries recover from conflict and create safe, secure environments to rebuild infrastructure, return displaced citizens to their homes and livelihoods, assist survivors to integrate into society, and establish situations conducive to stability, nonviolence, and democracy.
He stressed that the State Department is also proud of its public-private partnerships initiative in conventional weapons destruction, which presently connects the Department with close to 70 private sector partners. He said the partnerships help unite the resources of the private sector with the passion of the nonprofit sector.
“Looking ahead, despite all of our successes, we anticipate that the risks from poorly secured conventional weapons will remain a major humanitarian concern for the foreseeable future.” -Mr. Shapiro
He pointed out that the fact remains that there are still countless thousands of undetected persistent landmines buried around the world, each posing a great threat, each rendering the surrounding land unusable.
He noted that childhood is far from carefree for millions of children growing up in countries recovering from conflict. He said even a simple game of soccer entails serious risk of injury or even death when a playing field may contain hidden hazards such as buried landmines or unexploded munitions.
“By helping countries recover from the effects of war, our assistance is playing a vital role in advancing stability and prosperity around the world.” -Mr. Shapiro