Brussels, 21 October 2003 - The European Commission has adopted its 2003 Annual Work Programme for antipersonnel landmines with a budget of € 18,150,000. The general objective of this programme is to assist countries suffering the consequences of antipersonnel landmines to create the conditions necessary for their economic and social development. The focus countries in 2003 are Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Laos, Mozambique, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Sudan.
The main priorities in the work programme are actions to eliminate the threat that antipersonnel landmines/unexploded ordinance (APL/UXO) represent for the affected populations and to alleviate their dramatic effects (through mine clearance, mine risk education, risk reduction and destruction of landmines in stocks or dumping grounds); and actions to build and reinforce local capacity and to increase mine action efficiency and effectiveness (impact surveys and associated tools).
As for geographic priorities, the focus countries - Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Laos, Mozambique, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Sudan - have been selected following 4 criteria: accession to the international Mine Ban Treaty (Ottawa Convention) or efforts to comply with it, humanitarian impact of the mine problem, prioritisation of the issue in the national context, and strategic importance for the EU.
The 2003 Work Programme proposes to implement the € 18,150,000 budget in the following way:
€ 13.05 million for direct grants mostly through UN bodies in countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Mozambique, as well as for a targeted action towards the involvement of non-state actors in mine action.
€ 4.6 million for co-financing of operations in Sri Lanka, Laos, Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea-Bissau through calls for proposals.
€ 0.5 million for further technical assistance in Cambodia.
The 2003 Work Programme follows the EC Mine Action Strategy and Multiannual Indicative Programming 2002-2004, which amounts to around € 48 million.
For more information on the EU activities against landmines: