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European Union, Landmine Monitor Report 2003

European Union

Key developments since May 2002: In 2002, the European Commission allocated a total of €42 million ($40 million) to mine action, an increase of almost 50 percent compared to 2001. On 3 December 2002, the Commission adopted its “Mine Action Strategy 2002-2004.”

Mine Ban Policy

All members of the European Union[1] (EU) are States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, with the exceptions of Finland, which aims to join in 2006, and Greece, a signatory that has completed domestic procedures for ratification. Additional countries which may be full EU members by the First Review Conference of the treaty in 2004 include six States Parties (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Slovenia), one current signatory (Poland) and two States currently not party (Estonia and Latvia). Two other States Parties, Bulgaria and Romania, are also EU-applicants. Turkey, which has completed domestic procedures for accession to the Mine Ban Treaty, is seeking to start the negotiation process to join the EU.

Accession to the Mine Ban Treaty is not a condition for joining the EU. However, the Commissioner for External Relations declared that: “This is not Community acquis in the strict legal sense of that term, but we will obviously encourage them to do away with mines in their defence, to stop manufacturing mines or trading in them, and to sign and ratify the Mine Ban Treaty.”[2]

At the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002, the EU was represented by Denmark, which held the EU Presidency from July to December 2002. Ambassador Henrik Rée Iversen stated: “The European Union remains strongly committed to promote a global eradication of antipersonnel mines. Therefore the European Union will continue to campaign for a universal and swift application of the Convention.... To that end, the European Union has carried out more than 50 démarches.” Regarding implementation of the treaty commitments, the EU “will work for a strengthening of international coordination and cooperation within humanitarian mine action as a whole [and] do its utmost to ensure that disarmament undertakings and humanitarian efforts are intertwined and successfully coordinated.” Ambassador Iversen called on all States Parties to respect the treaty’s obligations, and, in particular, to submit the annual transparency reports required by Article 7.[3]

Representatives of the European Commission (EC) continued to participate in the intersessional Standing Committee meetings, including those in February and May 2003.[4]

In September 2002, at the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, the representative of Denmark, on behalf of the EU, noted the large number of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty and said there can be “no doubt that an international norm has been established that can no longer be ignored. The European Union...will continue to campaign for a universal and swift application of the Convention [and] calls upon non-state actors as well to abide by the principles of the Convention.”[5]

On 3 December 2002, on the fifth anniversary of the opening for signature of the Mine Ban Treaty, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament organized a meeting on the mine issue, including implementation of the EU mine action strategy, universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty, responses to governments using antipersonnel mines, joint military operations with non-signatories, landmine incidents in Greece, victim assistance, mine action in areas not under government control, cluster munitions, and mine-related research and development. Participants included members of the EU Parliament, the EC, the Joint Research Center, ICBL, and Geneva Call.

In 2002, the EU continued to participate in meetings of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II. At the Meeting of States Parties to the CCW in December 2002, Denmark reiterated the EU’s support for strong mandates for the Group of Governmental Experts work on explosive remnants of war and antivehicle mines.[6]

On 12 February 2003, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the harmful effects of landmines, cluster submunitions and depleted uranium ammunition.[7]

Mine Action Funding

At the Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Denmark, on behalf of the EU, stated that the EU had pledged €240 million (US$228 million based on the 2002 exchange rate)[8] of financial aid to mine action for the period 2002-2004.[9] Denmark added that the EU gives priority to States which put the treaty’s principles and objectives into practice.

In 2002, the EC allocated a total of €42,081,000 ($40 million) to mine action, an increase of 48 percent compared with 2001 (€28,390,498). This does not include additional mine action funding by individual EU Member States. Major recipient countries included Afghanistan, Angola, Sri Lanka and countries of South East Europe (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

Funding was allocated as follows, from several different budget lines:[10]

  • Afghanistan - €10.4 million ($9.9 million) for capacity building, equipment, and mine clearance
  • Angola - €7 million ($6.7 million) for institutional support and multi-task mine action
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina - €2.3 million ($2.2 million), comprising €1.5 million for mine clearance and €800,000 for Landmine Impact Survey
  • Cambodia - €860,000 ($817,000) for mine clearance
  • Croatia - €2 million ($1.9 million) for mine clearance
  • Eritrea - €300,000 ($285,000) for mine risk education
  • Ethiopia - €1 million ($950,000) for Landmine Impact Survey
  • Eritrea / Ethiopia - €1 million ($950,000) for mine clearance
  • FYR Macedonia - €1.9 million ($1.8 million) for mine clearance
  • Laos - €1.1 million ($1 million) for mine/UXO clearance and MRE
  • Mozambique - €1 million ($950,000) for capacity building and area reduction
  • Nicaragua - €1.3 million ($1.2 million) for mine clearance and stockpile destruction
  • Northern Caucasus - €150,000 ($142,500) for MRE
  • South East Europe - €2,850,000 ($2.7 million) for mine clearance on the border between Croatia and Serbia
  • Sri Lanka - €3,850,000 ($3.7 million), comprised of €800,000 for Landmine Impact Survey and mine clearance, and €3,050,000 for surveys, mine clearance and MRE
  • Somalia - €1.5 million ($1.4 million) for mine clearance, capacity building and Landmine Impact Survey
  • Sudan - €1,245,000 ($1.2 million) for mine clearance and MRE
  • Research & Development - €1,390,000 ($1.3 million), comprised of €1,190,000 for the development of biosensor applications and €200,000 for testing and evaluation
  • ICBL - €900,000 ($855,000) for campaigning and Landmine Monitor over two-years
  • Intersessional meetings - €360,000 ($342,000) for interpretation at the Standing Committee meetings in January/February and May 2002

Decisions on the allocation of 2002 mine action funding were taken at the end of 2002, following approval of a new funding strategy for 2002-2004. Disbursement of 2002 funds, therefore, took place during the course of 2003. As of May 2003, five contracts remained to be signed by the counterparts.[11]

On 3 December 2002, the European Commission adopted its Mine Action Strategy 2002-2004.[12] From its main budget line for mine action (B7-661), this allocates €45 million for 2002-2004 (€12 million in 2002, €33 million for 2003-2004) and provides the strategic framework for implementation of regulations introduced in 2001.[13] The Strategy identifies thematic funding priorities for 2002-2004 as countering the threat of antipersonnel mines (mine clearance, mine risk education, stockpile destruction) and increasing the efficiency of mine action and local capacity (through, for example, Landmine Impact Survey, Information Management System for Mine Action, and EC Headquarter Information System).[14]

Criteria for deciding which countries receive EU mine action funding include: the humanitarian, social and economic impact of landmines; accession to the Mine Ban Treaty; prioritization of the mine problem within the national framework; and strategic importance for the EU. Other priorities influencing funding decisions include the need for rapid deployment of mine action teams, supporting the ICBL in campaigning and monitoring implementation of the treaty, support for promising research, and support for international standards for mine clearance and mine detection.[15]

In 2003, a new financial regulation was introduced to increase competition and transparency. A call for proposals for 2003 mine action funding will be issued in September 2003. Applicants will have two or three months to reply and contracts are expected to be signed at the start of 2004. This will result in 2003 funds being disbursed in 2004.[16]

Research and Development

The EC funds mine-related research and development (R&D) through multi-annual framework programs. The EC budget for the 6th Framework Programme (2002-2006) is €17.5 million ($16.6 million).[17]

None of this budget was spent in 2002. Through a different budget line (B7-661), the EC supported two R&D projects in 2002: the development of a new biosensor and evaluation of demining tools to promote the most cost-efficient tools. Total financial support for mine action R&D in 2002 was €1.39 million ($1.32 million).

Co-funding of R&D is also provided by the Framework Program for Research and Technological Development (RTD) of new technologies for demining. EC support for these projects is aimed at taking new technology from fundamental research to a working prototype. In 2002, no new RTD projects were funded, but several projects started in earlier years continued with no additional funding in 2002.[18]

Achievements of the RTD program include the development of two improved metal detectors which are now widely used, the development of a novel “radar-on-a-chip” electronic system for mine detection, a vehicle mounted real-time data fusion multisensor mine detection system (first demonstrated in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2002), and the EUDEM2 service for demining technology researchers.[19]

In 2003, there will also be a second call for R&D proposals under the 6th Framework. The humanitarian demining work program will focus on generic technologies for area reduction and on improved coordination of existing nationally and EU-funded R&D programs in demining technologies.[20]

[1] The European Union is a supra-national body. For its structure and membership, see Landmine Monitor Report 2002, pp. 809-810.
[2] Speech by Chris Patten, Commissioner for External Relations, European Parliament, 25 October 2000.
[3] Statement by Ambassador Henrik Rée Iversen, Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 16-20 September 2002.
[4] Within the EU, the European Commission (EC) is responsible for external economic relations, development cooperation, and humanitarian aid, including mine action funding.
[5] Statement by Ambassador Erling Harild Nielsen, General Debate, First Committee, UN General Assembly, New York, 30 September 2002.
[6] Intervention by Ambassador Henrik Rée Iversen, Meeting of States Parties to the CCW, Geneva, 12-13 December 2002.
[7] Email from Ernst Guelcher, Green/EFA Group, European Parliament, 12 February 2003.
[8] Exchange rate €1 = US$0.95, used throughout this report. Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 6 January 2003.
[9] Statement by Ambassador Iversen, Fourth Meeting of States Parties, 16-20 September 2002.
[10] Email to Sylvie Brigot, ICBL, from Catherine Horeftari, EC, 23 May 2003.
[11] Interview with Ingerborg Thijn, EuropeAid Cooperation Office, EC, Brussels, 5 May 2003.
[12] “EC Mine Action 2002-2004, Strategy & Multi-annual Indicative Programming,” accessible at eu-mine-actions.jrc.cec.eu.int.
[13] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 813.
[14] “EC Mine Action 2002-2004.”
[15] Ibid.
[16] Interview with Ingerborg Thijn, EC, 5 May 2003.
[17] “EC Mine Action 2002-2004.”
[18] RTD projects are co-funded by the EC and industrial partners. Industrial partners usually bring 50 percent of the funding which they aim to recover from future sales of the products developed. For details on the projects see Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 819.
[19] Email from Russell Gasser, Project Officer – Humanitarian Demining RTD, EC, 23 May 2003.
[20] Ibid.