Landmine Monitor 2000

Government of Canada

Canada is proud of the accomplishments made over the past year, in partnership with other members of the mine action community, in moving towards universalization and implementation of the Ottawa Convention. Since its entry-into-force on 1 March 1999, an additional 23 states have ratified or acceded to the Convention. It is likely that when the Landmine Monitor Report 2000 is released, over 100 states will have made the formal commitment to join the global ban on anti-personnel mines. As these numbers increase, progress in mine action continues. We have witnessed the worldwide production and transfer of AP mines grind to a halt. Mines are being pulled from the ground at a faster rate than they are being planted. Casualty rates are on the decline. And the needs of landmine victims and their families are beginning to be met through the work of dedicated governments, organizations, and individuals working in the health, aid, and development sectors.

Canada has contributed CDN$25 million since 1998 to support mine action in every region of the world. In that time, Canadian funding and expertise have gone to support mine clearance operations in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Ecuador, Jordan, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Yemen, Moldova, and every mine affected country in the Balkans. Canada has supported mine awareness programs in Angola, Iraq, Laos, Sudan, and Colombia and provided assistance to mine victims in some of the world=s most war-ravaged countries, including Azerbaijan, El Salvador, Bosnia, and Sierra Leone.

Canadian mine action initiatives have worked to ensure that the borders between former adversaries become mine free. Canadian-funded initiatives have helped numerous communities to develop indigenous mine action capacities. Some of the most innovative and urgently needed developments in mine action technologies have come from Canadian financing, and from the talents of individual Canadians. And Canada has demonstrated a willingness and an ability to respond quickly to mine-related emergencies. In 1999, Canada provided funding to Nicaragua through the OAS to support the clearance of uprooted mines in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. This year, when devastating floods hit Mozambique, disrupting mine clearance activities in that country, Canada became the first country to respond to the United Nations= appeal for assistance. Canada contributed CDN$500,000 to assess the crisis and to raise awareness of the new landmine dangers associated with the flooding.

In all, Canada has supported over 100 mine action projects in more than 30 countries since 1998 and has contributed to more than 50 multilateral, regional, and thematic initiatives over the same period.[1] With a continuing commitment from the Government of Canada to support mine action globally through the CDN$100 million Canadian Landmine Fund, Canada will remain a world leader in providing financial and technical support to mine-affected countries.

Canada is particularly encouraged by the success of the Ottawa Convention=s intersessional program over the past year. This program has channelled the work of the donor community, mine-affected states, and other interested parties through the work of five committees to tackle issues related to the implementation of the Convention. Some of the successes of the first intersessional program include the following:

  • The Standing Committee of Experts (SCE) on Mine Clearance identified over 50 action items and covered Β in detail Β important issues such as international standards for mine clearance and the development of indigenous demining capacities.
  • The SCE on Victim Assistance put into action the Convention=s tradition of inclusiveness, partnership, dialogue, openness, and practical cooperation through the establishment of ΑNetwork Groups≅ which afforded a leading role to NGOs and international organizations such as the World Health Organization in administering victim assistance.
  • The SCE on Stockpile Destruction succeeded in engaging States Parties on matters related to the obligation to destroy all stockpiled AP mines within four years of entry-into-force Β an obligation that had received very little attention prior to discussions held in the intersessional environment.
  • The SCE on Mine Action Technologies facilitated an all-important dialogue between end users and the people who develop technologies.
  • The SCE on the General Status and Operation of the Convention addressed issues of compliance with the Convention=s transparency measures, the implementation of national laws in accordance with the Convention, and the retention of limited numbers of mines for training purposes.

Canada has long recognized that, although mine action is a relatively new area, there is a need to demonstrate that initiatives undertaken as part of mine action are achieving results valued by the mine action community Β particularly the results expected by individuals and communities affected by landmines. As such, Canada has developed a system of measurement for mine action, focussed on six areas:

  • improving mine action information and planning;
  • clearing mined land;
  • delivering mine awareness education and reducing casualties;
  • meeting the needs of landmine victims;
  • ending the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of AP mines, and;
  • sustaining mine action efforts.

The progress measurement system developed by Canada incorporates the exhaustive research carried out by the Landmine Monitor initiative and, upon integration with further research and data sets, presents a comprehensive assessment of progress based on a series of measurement indicators. The results will give the mine action community a clearer understanding of the state of mine action on a country-by-country basis and will afford donor governments, NGOs, and international organizations the opportunity to see where effective mine action is lacking, what forms of delivery are working best, where course corrections may be necessary, and where successes can be reinforced through the application of increased mine action efforts.

Landmine Monitor has played an important role in this regard by providing the mine action community with an important and expanding data set. The Landmine Monitor initiative has also established itself as a world leader in drawing attention to violations of the new international norm surrounding the Ottawa Convention. It was Landmine Monitor Β at the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention Β that exposed AP mine use in Angola and the possible use of mines by 10 other governments and several non-state actors. In addition, it was thanks to the global reach of the Landmine Monitor initiative that reports of mine use in Chechnya and Kashmir were brought to the world=s attention. The Government of Canada has every confidence that Landmine Monitor will continue to hold governments accountable for their actions and continually make them mindful of their obligations.

For these reasons, Canada has been proud to be a leading contributor to the Landmine Monitor initiative, donating a total of CDN$900,000 over the period 1998 to 2001. Canada values Landmine Monitor as both a partner and an integral element of an international monitoring system Β a system that measures progress in mine action, provides transparency, and facilitates implementation of the Ottawa Convention. As part of this system, Landmine Monitor provides the mine action community with important inputs through which lessons can be learned, progress evaluated, and new courses of action taken.

Canada continues to believe that the terror of anti-personnel mines can be overcome in years, not decades Β as long as we maintain our collective commitment to address the problem. Landmine Monitor is deeply involved in this commitment. The value of its contribution of information, knowledge, and insight cannot be overstated. The Government of Canada applauds the efforts of the Landmine Monitor core group, the organizers and researchers involved in this project, and the numerous donors to this initiative for their continued partnership.

<Government of Belgium | Government of Denmark>


[1] For a complete listing of Canada=s contributions to mine action, please see the United Nations Mine Action Service on-line database, Mine Action Investments, at www.un.org/Depts/dpko/mine