On December 3, 1997, 122 states joined Canada in signing the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction. That the Ottawa Convention was negotiated in less than one year and has entered into force faster than any disarmament convention ever negotiated is a testament to the determination of the citizens of the world to address the humanitarian crisis caused by landmines. The Ottawa Convention is a major achievement, but it just the beginning. In the words of Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Lloyd Axworthy, the “real test of success for the Ottawa Convention will be the degree to which it makes a difference in the lives of those who must live with the threat of landmines every day.”
Implementing the Ottawa Convention through Integrated Mine Action.
Canada believes that the Ottawa Convention provides an effective and legally binding framework for integrated mine action efforts to address the humanitarian impact of anti-personnel mines. Whereas in the past mine action was often viewed as being little more than mine clearance, there is a growing consensus that to be truly effective, mine action should be understood as an integrated continuum of a number of key activities including:
- advocacy in support of the ratification and universalization of the Ottawa Convention as well as efforts to monitor its implementation;
- mine awareness programs to reduce the number of new mine casualties;
- mine clearance and the return of cleared land to communities;
- providing assistance to landmine survivors;
- survey work and related efforts to collect information on the nature of
the landmine problem and measures progress in mine action;
- the destruction of stockpiled mines;
- research and development of improved mine action technologies; and,
- communications and outreach to ensure the political and financial
sustainability of mine action efforts over the long term.
With this mind, Canada has committed $100 million over 5 years to a "Canadian Landmine Fund" to support the full implementation of the Ottawa Convention through programs in the above activity areas. This Fund is jointly managed by four Canadian Government Departments: the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); the Department of National Defence (DND); and, the Department of Industry. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 1999, Canada will have spend approximately $16 million of the $100 million Landmine Fund. Key accomplishments of the Canadian Landmine Fund are listed below.
Ratifying and Universalizing the Ottawa Conventionand Monitoring its Implementation.
A total of 13 new countries have signed the Ottawa Convention since December 1997. As of 15 March, the Ottawa Convention has been signed/acceded to by 135 states and ratified by 67. Building upon the high degree of cooperation between governments and civil society organizations which supported the Ottawa Process, Canada has supported a number of initiatives to build political will in support of the ratification and universalization of the Ottawa Convention. For example, over the past year Canada has provided approximately $760,000 to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), Mines Action Canada and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War to develop the capacities of civil society-based organizations to play an active and sustainable role in promoting the ratification and universalization of the anti-personnel mine ban. Canada has also provided approximately $300,000 to support advocacy activities in support of the Convention in a number of states including Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Georgia, Hungary, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, the United States and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Canada has provided $450,000 to the ICBL to support the Landmine Monitor -- an initiative to create a global civil society-based network to monitor and report on the implementation of the Ottawa Convention.
Country programs supporting mine awareness, mine clearance, surveys and victims assistance.
Over the past year, Canada has supported mine action programs in the following countries:
- $200,000 for survivor assistance initiatives in Afghanistan, including the provision of prosthetics and training in, and the provision of, rehabilitation services.
- $2.47 million demining activities and support to mine action centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- $650,000 to mine action activities in Cambodia, including support for management training, Level 1 survey activities and survivor assistance initiatives.
- $100,000 to support the emerging Mine Action Centre in Chad.
- $100,000 to support the activities of Croatia’s mine action centre.
- $100,000 to support mine clearance activities along the border between Ecuador and Peru.
- • $500,000 for survivor assistance and reintegration in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua as part of a 5-year, $3.5 million commitment. In addition, Canada has provided approximately $100,000 for survivor assistance and reintegration in Guatemala.
- $300,000 for mine action activities in Jordan.
- $250,000 for mine awareness in Laos.
- $650,000 for mine action activities in Mozambique, including support for Level 1 survey and mapping activities and funds to match those committed by the Canadian Auto Workers Union for integrated mined action.
- $1.3 million for mine action activities in Yemen, including support for a Level 1 survey, the purchase of demining equipment and the rehabilitation of mine affected communities.
Survey work and efforts to collect information on the nature of the landmine problem and measure the progress of mine action efforts.
Canada has provided $900,000 to the United Nations Mine Action Service to support assessment missions and level one surveys to collect detailed information on the nature of the landmine problem.
Canada has provided $120,000 to the (Canadian) International Development Research Centre to develop tools and methodologies to monitor mine action progress in southern Africa. In addition, Canada has provided $10,000 to Handicap International to initiate the publication of a technical magazine on best practices in mine action.
Destruction of stockpiled mines.
Canada has disbursed approximately $750,000 to provide technical and financial aid to permit the destruction of existing stockpiled mines. Successes of this initiative include the October 1998 agreement between Canada and Ukraine that will see Ukraine destroy millions of stockpiled mines in exchange for Canadian technical and financial assistance.
Research and development of improved mine action technologies.
Canada had disbursed approximately $1.4 million to establish, and begin operations at, the Canadian Centre for Mine Action Technologies, an initiative designed to develop more effective, efficient and appropriate demining equipment and methods.
Communications and outreach to ensure the political and financial sustainability of mine action efforts over the long term.
Canada has disbursed approximately $880,000 to promote awareness of the anti-personnel mine ban and to create sustainability mechanisms to ensure ongoing support for Canadian mine action activities, including:
- Development and distribution of a CD-Rom, Ban Landmines!: The Ottawa Process and the International Movement to Ban Landmines (winner of a gold medal award from the International Television and Video Association for excellence in multimedia); broadcast documentary, One Step at a Time* available in French, English, Spanish and Russian; video, In Years not Decades* available presently in French and English and soon in Arabic.* (both winners of an ITVA silver award for excellence in instructional programming)
- Development of SafeLane Website
- Quarterly newsletter distributed to NGOs, parliamentarians, missions and the public
- Information kits distributed to approximately 500 press and parliamentarians
- The Canadian Landmine Action Fund was launched in September 1998, to provide an opportunity for Canadian businesses and individuals to donate funds to mine clearance and victim assistance initiatives. The Fund is administered by DFAIT with the participation of Mines Action Canada.
- The Youth Mine Action Ambassador program was also launched in September, 1998 to promote youth awareness of the landmines issue and community activism across Canada. To date, 5 youth ambassadors have been appointed and are located in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and St. John.
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