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Country Reports
Landmine Monitor: Global Landmine Monitor Researchers’ Meeting

Global Landmine Monitor Researchers’ Meeting

Report on Activities.
Rome, Italy
7-9 April 2003

Over 70 researchers from 65 countries met in Rome from 7-9 April 2003 to discuss their finalized country updates for Landmine Monitor Report 2003. The Landmine Monitor is a unique civil society verification initiative launched by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in 1998. The Rome conference followed regional training meetings held between November 2002 and February 2003 in Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka and Switzerland.

The agenda for the Rome conference consisted of two main elements: ICBL workshops and Landmine Monitor sessions, both structured in a similar way to the previous global meeting held in Paris in April 2002.

Each regional grouping of Landmine Monitor researchers met in individual sessions with research coordinators and others to discuss every aspect of their reporting, as well as their views on the future of the ICBL and Landmine Monitor after the 2004 Review Conference. The participants attended a series of workshops organized by the ICBL staff on a range of topics including campaigning on mine action and victim assistance, non-state actors, universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty, campaigning tools, mine risk education, domestic legislation, and computer and Internet training. They also met twice in their regional groups to discuss their activities prior to Rome and to plan actions for the coming year.

The Italian Campaign to Ban Landmines held an event outside Saint Peters square at the Vatican on Sunday 6 April, distributing hundreds of balloons to children with the message: “Youth Against War.” This event attracted media interest, as did a press conference on the morning of Monday 7 April. Speakers at the press conference included Mr. Alessandro Cèvese, Director of the Disarmament, Non Proliferation and Arms Control division of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Stefano Calabretta, Director of the Mine Action Unit of INTERSOS, an Italian NGO also engaged in the Italian Campaign to Ban Landmines; Ms. Margaret Orech Arach of the ICBL and Mr. Stephen D. Goose of Human Rights Watch, a founding member of the ICBL.

Italy’s Under-Secretary of State for Disarmament, Hon. Mr. Alfredo Luigi Mantica, addressed the closing plenary of the Rome conference, while embassy representatives from Iran, Lebanon, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland attended the opening plenary.

Landmine Monitor was pleased to have the participation of a number of observers in the conference including the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Implementation Support Unit (ISU), the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and UNOCHA.

The ICBL and Landmine Monitor are grateful to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sponsor of the meeting, especially Mr. Paolo Cuculi of the Non Proliferation and Arms Control division. We are indebted to the Italian Campaign to Ban Landmines (Campagna Italiana Contro le Mine) for their hosting the meeting, especially their expert organizers Mr. Giuseppe Schiavello, Ms. Simona Beltrami, Mr. Giancomo Viola, and their dedicated team of volunteers. The meeting took place at Hotel Casa San Bernardo in the south of the city.

The 2003 finalized country reports are now in the hands of Landmine Monitor’s editing team. Regional research coordinators have until the end of May 2003 to deliver their initial edits of the country updates to the final editing team at Human Rights Watch. The report will undergo two more extensive edits and will go to print by 1 August, together with its Executive Summary.

Tuesday 9 September 2003 is the global release date for Landmine Monitor Report 2003. The release will take place on week before the Fifth Meeting of States Parties to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which is scheduled to take place from 15-19 September 2003 in Bangkok, Thailand.