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Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2021

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Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2021

New Annual Report on Global Cluster Munition Remnant Clearance by Mine Action Review

Mine Action Review has launched Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2021, its seventh annual report monitoring progress in global cluster munition remnant clearance and analysing performance of national programmes.

The report launch is in advance of the forthcoming Second Review Conference (Part 2) of States Parties to the 2010 Convention on Cluster Munition Remnants on 20–21 September 2021, during which States and observers will consider progress in ridding the world of cluster munition remnants.

According to Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2021, a global total of 135.1 square kilometres was cleared of unexploded submunitions in 2020, a new annual record. This is an exceptional achievement given the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the public health management of which has impacted negatively on operations in several countries. More than 110,000 unexploded submunitions were destroyed globally during clearance, survey, and spot tasks in 2020.

This brings the total number of unexploded submunitions cleared globally since the Convention became legally binding in 2010 to more than 1 million, with more than 900km2 of cluster munition-contaminated area cleared. As well as saving countless lives and limbs, an untold number of communities have been freed from the fear of unexploded submunitions through cluster munition clearance, and a significant contribution has been made to development through the handing back of land for safe and productive use.

In July 2020, Croatia and Montenegro successfully completed cluster munition remnant clearance in their respective territories, both within their original 10-year Convention deadlines. The United Kingdom, which had not considered itself to have an obligation under Article 4 of the CCM, confirmed that UK bombing data for the Falkland Islands showed no evidence that cluster munitions were dropped on the four remaining minefields in Yorke Bay which the United Kingdom cleared in 2020 as part of completion of its Article 5 obligations under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC).

This leaves a global total of 26 States and three other areas that are still confirmed or suspected to have CMR-contaminated areas under their jurisdiction or control, with Armenia having been added to the list due to new contamination in late 2020 as a result of the conflict with Azerbaijan.

As a result of progress achieved under the CCM, of the 110 States Parties to the CCM, only ten had cluster munition-contaminated areas to release: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Chad, Chile, Germany, Iraq, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Mauritania, and Somalia. Of these ten affected States Parties, only Lao PDR is massively contaminated (defined as covering more than 1,000km2 of land), while heavy contamination exists in Iraq (covering more than 100km2). In the other nine affected States Parties, the extent of contamination is medium or light.

Four of the world’s most heavily contaminated States–Lao PDR, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Iraq–again saw the greatest clearance during 2020, together accounting for 95% of recorded global output.

This is in large part thanks to the methodology for the survey and clearance of cluster munition remnants which has significantly improved over the last decade, with high-quality evidence-based survey being increasingly employed to good effect, enabling the effective targeting of clearance and efficient use of resources.

But the Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2021 report also highlights that progress is not fast enough in several States Parties.

Lucy Pinches, the Mine Action Review’s Project Manager emphasises:

“None of the ten contaminated States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions is clearly on track to complete clearance within their respective Convention deadlines, although BiH should be able to complete clearance by its extended deadline of 1 September 2022 with effective national ownership and planning, and Chad and Somalia could still meet their respective original deadlines (1 September 2023 and 1 March 2026, respectively).”

“With the exception of the two most heavily contaminated States Parties, Lao PDR and Iraq, all other affected States Parties—Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad, Chile, Germany, Lebanon, Mauritania, and Somalia—should be in a position to fulfil their Article 4 clearance obligations by the Third Review Conference of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, now expected to take place in 2026. But it will require political will, elaboration of concrete action plans, application of efficient land release methodology, and sufficient and sustained funding through to completion.”

“National authorities and their implementing partners must identify and overcome challenges, and work together to free contaminated land as fast, efficiently, and safely as possible so that communities can live free from the fear and threat of unexploded submunitions.”

Notes to editor:

Key Findings on page 1 of the Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2021 report.

Mine Action Review was launched in 2014 and conducts the primary research and analysis on landmine and cluster munition remnant contamination, survey, and clearance worldwide, including assessing fulfilment of clearance obligations by States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) and the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).

Supported and published by Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), as an independent project, Mine Action Review collates and analyses mine action data globally from national authorities, clearance operators, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and other key stakeholders.

Mine Action Review produces two annual reports, ‘Clearing the Mines’ and ‘Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants’, which provide information on contamination and progress in clearance for every State and other area affected by anti-personnel mines and/or cluster munition remnants.

The reports also contain country-specific analysis of the performance of national mine action programmes of affected States Parties to the APMBC and CCM, including accompanying Recommendations for Action.

The HALO Trust, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) form Mine Action Review’s Advisory Board.

Contact: Lucy Pinches, Project Manager, email: lucyp@npaid.org