Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Convention: An Extraordinary Success

Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Convention: An Extraordinary Success

Article excerpt

Since its entry into force in March 1999, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Mine-Ban Convention) has been a true success story on how more than two thirds of the States of the world have accepted the important responsibility to never use anti-personnel mines and to cooperate in addressing the devastating impact of those mines already used.

This success is due to the recognition of the international norm and the spirit of cooperation between all States Parties, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other relevant institutions like the United Nations family. It is also largely due to the unique mechanisms that are designed to convert the strong words of the Convention into meaningful actions, including those contained in the text concerning international cooperation and assistance, and the annual meetings of States Parties, There are also those mechanisms created by the States Parties, such as the Intersessional Work Programme, the Coordinating Committee and the Implementation Support Unit; and finally those that have emerged on an informal basis: a delegate sponsorship programme and contact groups designed to coordinate joint actions related to the universalization of the Convention, its transparency reporting provisions and the mobilization of resources.

Thanks to our informal exchange of information through the Intersessional Work Programme and the formal provision of information through compulsory annual transparency reporting, we now have a clear view of our progress in the pursuit of the Convention's core humanitarian objectives and the challenges ahead.

In the field of mine clearance, 45 states Parties suffer from the impact of landmines, and we are working effectively to find out the extent of the problem and establish and support national mine action programmes, with a view to ensuring that the ten-year period to clear mines will be well used.

As for stockpile destruction, 1 March 2003 marked both the fourth year since the Convention entered into force and the date when 45 States Parties were required to comply with the Convention's first deadline for destroying existing stocks of anti-personnel mines. The compliance rate is impressive as all those State Parties have indicated that they no longer possess stockpiles; together, they have destroyed more than 30 million landmines. What is important, however, is that even those States Parties with few resources took full ownership over this obligation and that some destroyed huge numbers of mines. In addition, by taking decisive action to destroy these weapons, States Parties have clearly demonstrated that their armed forces can continue to fulfil their responsibilities without anti-personnel mines.

In the field of victim assistance, up to forty States may require assistance to meet the care, rehabilitation and social and economic reintegration needs of landmine survivors. The responsibility to provide for such activities rests with each affected State Party. In assisting these States, we must overcome challenges, such as the fact that the countries with the greatest numbers of mine victims are also among the world's poorest. …

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