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Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message, delivered by High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu, to the Dublin adoption ceremony of the Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences Arising from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas, in Dublin today:

I congratulate Ireland, participating States and civil society on this tremendous achievement.

This Political Declaration marks a milestone in collective efforts to better protect civilians from the increasing urbanization of armed conflict.

We cannot always stop conflicts from happening, but we can take steps to protect the people caught in the midst of these crises.

Across regions and around the world, people have endured daily dangers and unacceptable suffering from the use of explosive weapons.  For those living in crowded urban areas, the perils are multiplied.

Damage and destruction to communities, lives and livelihoods can reverberate for years — from loss of access to education, health services and water, to deep physical and psychological scars.

Parties to conflict and States must avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, and work to remove conflict from urban areas altogether.

It falls on Member States to bring this declaration to life through broad and meaningful implementation.

I am hopeful that this Political Declaration will provide fresh momentum to pursue peace for all people, no matter where they live.

The United Nations remains your dedicated partner in all efforts to shape a better, safer, more peaceful tomorrow.

Let’s ensure that this declaration is not an end in itself — but the next critical step in our journey to lasting peace.

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