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Introduction, Landmine Monitor Report 2003


The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) considers the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and On Their Destruction (“Mine Ban Treaty”) the only viable comprehensive framework for achieving a mine-free world.[1] The ICBL believes that the only real measure of the Mine Ban Treaty’s success will be the concrete impact that it has on the global antipersonnel mine problem. As with the four previous annual reports, Landmine Monitor Report 2003 provides a means of measuring that impact. As the five-year Review Conference for the Mine Ban Treaty in 2004 approaches, it is especially important that governments and non-governmental organizations realistically assess progress made and challenges remaining.

The positive trends that have been documented in previous years have continued in this most recent Landmine Monitor reporting period.[2] More than three-quarters of the world’s nations have now embraced the Mine Ban Treaty. Notably, Afghanistan, one of the world’s most heavily mined countries, has joined the ranks. Many governments that are not party to the Mine Ban Treaty are taking steps consistent with the treaty, as are an increasing number of rebel groups, demonstrating the power of the international norm that is taking hold.

New use of the weapon continues to decline. There was confirmed use of antipersonnel mines by just six governments in the reporting period, and as of July 2003, only two governments—Myanmar and Russia—were using antipersonnel mines on a regular basis. There were no confirmed instances of antipersonnel mine transfers, as the de facto global ban on trade held tight. Some four million stockpiled antipersonnel mines were destroyed in the reporting period, bringing the total to more than 50 million in recent years. The reported landmine casualty rate declined in 2002 in the majority of mine-affected countries. The number of mine-affected countries reporting organized mine clearance operations increased in 2002, and there were substantial increases in the amount of land cleared in many countries.

Landmine Monitor has identified about US$1.7 billion in mine action contributions since 1992. For 2002, Landmine Monitor has identified $309 million in mine action funding by more than 23 donors. This represents a very significant increase of about $72 million, or 30 percent, from the previous year. This is particularly welcome in that last year, Landmine Monitor reported that funding in 2001 had for the first time stagnated rather than increasing.

It is evident that great strides are being made in the effort to eradicate antipersonnel mines, but the mine problem is far from solved. It is likely that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 new landmine casualties each year. In 2002 and through June 2003, there were new landmine casualties reported in 65 countries. The number of survivors requiring assistance continues to increase, but in the majority of mine-affected countries the assistance available to mine survivors is inadequate to meet their needs for physical rehabilitation and socio-economic reintegration. At current levels of mine action funding and demining, many mine-affected States Parties will have difficulty meeting the ten-year deadline for completion of mine clearance. Forty-seven countries, with a combined stockpile of some 200 million antipersonnel mines, remain outside of the Mine Ban Treaty. Armed rebel forces are using mines in at least eleven countries. The promise of the Mine Ban Treaty will not be fulfilled without sustained and increased commitment from governments and non-governmental organizations.

[1]The ICBL generally uses the short title, Mine Ban Treaty, although other short titles are common as well, including Ottawa Treaty, Ottawa Convention and Mine Ban Convention.
[2] The reporting period for Landmine Monitor Report 2003 is May 2002 to May 2003. Editors have where possible added important information that arrived in June and July 2003. Statistics for mine action and landmine casualties are usually given for calendar year 2002.