Delegate Name: Tyler Ragan
Committee: Disarmament & International Security Committee
Topic: Improvised Explosive Devices
Nine thousand and eighty nine is the number of civilians who died as a result of the detonation of an improvised explosive device in 2019, 48% of a 17,910 total civilian deaths due to explosives. Near untraceable, easily accessible, and having the potential to be equally as devastating as conventional explosives, IEDs present a unique challenge to those seeking to prevent their use. Anything seemingly innocuous as a farmer’s store of fertilizer can be turned into a weapon which takes life en masse. Even more disturbing is that unlike conventional explosives which are heavily regulated, by their very nature IEDs are limited only by the maker themselves. Disguised as a child’s toy, or hidden in debris, they can pose a devastating threat to civilians. France has long felt the effects of the IED, from combat against the Viet Minh during the first Indochina war, to modern day anti-terrorist missions in North Africa and the Middle East. As recently as early 2021, two French soldiers lost their lives to an IED in Mali. As a result, France has a vested interest in preventing the use of IEDs. However, this is not an easy task as IEDs are incredibly accessible and practically impossible to regulate. Because of this, France finds it best to fight IEDs at the source, preventing their creation by working with locals to secure possible sources of supplies used to manufacture IEDs.
France is an active participant in the fight against IEDs, coordinating the group of experts on IEDs within the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons alongside Colombia. France has co-authored with Afghanistan and Australia resolution A/71/187, calling for cooperation with local authorities in securing the precursory materials used in manufacturing IEDs along with munition stockpiles kept by national military forces in order to prevent the creation of IEDs. France also regularly contributes financially to the work of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research in order to assist in providing accurate information and statistics on the topic. France is a firm supporter of Amended Protocol II of the CCW, which among other things prevents the design of IEDs to look identical to harmless objects, and holds accountable non-state actors which are most likely to use IEDs.
Though France does find the direct combating of IEDs by their removal in the field partially effective, particularly in preventing civilian casualties, this can be costly in monetary resources, something that not every state has readily available. It too can be costly in human life, something that is irreplaceable. This is why France finds the easiest solution is to prevent the creation of IEDs in the first place by implementing stricter control on precursory materials and munition stockpiles. The best way to do this is through cooperation with local authorities, teaching them effective measures that can be taken to prevent certain materials falling into the wrong hands. France looks forward to working with like-minded states such as Colombia, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation to create a solution which addresses the problem at its roots and prevents the continued proliferation of IEDs by malevolent actors throughout the world.