Every year anti-personnel landmines (APL) and explosive remnants of war (ERW) kill or injure up to 10,000 people, many of whom are civilians, including children. Despite international efforts to eliminate APL, approximately 65 countries are still affected by mines and unexploded ordnance. The appalling casualties caused by APL and their impact on human security prompted EU action in this area.
Besides mine clearance and stockpile destruction, EU policy consists of 3 additional elements: victim assistance, mine risk education and advocacy against the use of APL.
Since 1992 the EU has been actively involved in supporting demining programmes, research and development of technology and assistance to mine victims. To-date the EU has spent around EUR 1,5 billion on these programmes and is the largest donor in this field. In recent years most technical and financial assistance programmes have been financed by the geographical instruments, such as the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), the European Development Fund (EDF). The thematical instruments, such as the Humanitarian Aid instrument and the Instrument for Stability (IfS) are also being used.
For 2008-2013 the major objective of the EU is the continued assistance to third countries to comply with the goals of the 1998 Ottawa Convention (Mine Ban Treaty) to eliminate mines and resolve related economic and social problems caused by these weapons. The EU also remains committed to its zero-victim target by implementing projects addressing immediate threats to mine-affected populations and stimulating the implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. In November 2009 the Ottawa Convention was reviewed at a summit in Cartagena, Colombia.
The positive impact of the Ottawa Convention has also inspired to draft a Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin on 30 May 2008. Ninety-four states immediately joined the Convention.
The EU is currently supporting actions in all of the most-afflicted countries, including Angola, Bosnia Herzegovina, Cambodia, northern Iraq, Laos. In many of these countries the EU is the major contributor to mine action.
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