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Illicit flows of conventional weapons cause instability and fuel conflict in all regions of the world. To counter this, EU policy has 3 main strands:
Trade & export controls – mainly through the:
Landmines – acting mainly through the:
Small arms & light weapons (SALW) control – mainly through:
The main aim of the policy is to prevent the accumulation and trafficking of small arms, light weapons and ammunition.
The EU Strategy Against Illicit Firearms, Small Arms & Light Weapons & Their Ammunition pulls together all the tools available to the EU to combat the illicit trade in small arms:
Annual Progress Reports
The EU Council assesses the implementation of the SALW Strategy through Annual Progress Reports.
The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention
All 28 EU Member States have acceded to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and are determined in pursuing its objectives and promoting its universalisation and full implementation. In August 2017 the EU Council adopted Decision 2017/1428/CFSP to promote universal adherence to the Ottawa Convention and to support States Parties in their efforts to implement the mine clearance, victim assistance, and stockpile destruction aspects of the Maputo Action Plan.
The EU condemns the use of anti-personnel mines by any actor, whether States or non-State actors. The EU appeals to all non-States Parties to the Convention and non-State actors to stop manufacturing, trading and using of anti-personnel mines. The EU appeals to all States Parties to actively implement all aspects of the Maputo Action Plan in order to achieve the goal of an anti-personnel mine free world without new victims by 2025.
The EU's support for mine action
The EU and its Member States are top donors for mine action to address the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war. Between 2012 and 2016 EU institutions funded mine action for almost €300 million worldwide. EU assistance covers all key aspects – mine clearance, risk education, victim assistance, stockpile destruction and capacity building – and benefits nearly all heavily affected countries, including Chad, Colombia, Croatia, Iraq, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar, Syria and Ukraine.
Download the brochure on The European Union's support for Mine Action across the World by clicking on the image below.
To retain its commitment to the fighting of this global threat, the EU is using various instruments. About one third of EU support for mine action is provided through the Commission's Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP). The IcSP is a financing instrument specifically designed to respond quickly and flexibly to conflicts and crisis around the world. Mine action programmes are financed under the Article 3 of the IcSP governed by the Commission's Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI). Article 3 covers assistance in response to situations of crisis or emerging crisis to prevent conflicts. EU assistance under the IcSP is provided only to the extent that an adequate and effective response cannot be provided under other financing instruments.
When addressing mines and explosive remnants of war is part of the national development plan or other longer-term strategy or programme of a mine-affected country, EU mine action can be funded through geographic instruments, such as the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) or the European Development Fund (EDF) that fall under the Commission's DG DEVCO and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) or the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) that fall under the Commission's DG NEAR, depending on the country in question. Also EU Regional Trust Funds can support mine action.
In humanitarian crisis situations the Commission's DG ECHO funds mine action as part of its overall support to the protection of civilians. Such assistance may be provided on the basis of identified needs and in line with the fundamental humanitarian principles. This may include funding for humanitarian demining, assistance to victims and mine risk education.
Through the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation the Commission provides funds for research and development with regard to methods and technologies for mine detection and clearance.
Mine action is also funded within the EU through financial instruments such as the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg). For this assistance Croatia is the main recipient.
EU Delegations in mine-affected third countries have an important role in the planning and allocation of EU funding for mine action. They are in contact with the authorities and local stakeholders and are well placed to connect local mine action needs with the most suitable EU-funded instrument.
The Council of the EU adopts Decisions to support the implementation and the universalisation of the Ottawa Convention. They are financed from the EU budget for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The European External Action Service (EEAS) supports the High Representative in fulfilling her mandates including by preparing the EU's participation to multilateral meetings. The EEAS also sets up EU mine action interagency coordination meetings and compiles information about EU-funded mine action.
Many EU Member States also support mine action on a bilateral basis. In the period 2012-2016, EU Member States supported mine action with more than EUR 300 million according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor.