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Clearing the Mines 2020

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New Annual Report on Global Landmine Clearance by Mine Action Review

Mine Action Review has launched Clearing the Mines 2020, its seventh annual report monitoring progress in global landmine clearance and analysing performance of national programmes.

The launch is in advance of the forthcoming meeting of States Parties to the 1997 AntiPersonnel Mine Ban Convention (also known as the Ottawa Treaty), during which States and observers will consider progress in ridding the world of landmines.

According to Clearing the Mines 2020, almost 164,000 anti-personnel mines were cleared globally in 2019. 131 square kilometres of contaminated land – roughly half the size of the UK city of Birmingham – was returned to some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities.

This brings the total number of cleared landmines since the Convention became legally binding in 1999 to more than 4.6 million. As well as saving countless lives and limbs, mine clearance has returned land for agriculture and development in impoverished communities.

Mine Action Review estimates that less than 2,000 square kilometres of land now remain to be cleared, down by half from contamination ten years ago.

In February 2020, Chile became the 33rd State to successfully remove all landmines from its territory, leaving a total of 57 States and 3 other areas that still have mined areas to clear. Of these, 35 States have joined the Convention, requiring them to clear contaminated land as soon as possible and within treaty agreed deadlines.

But the Clearing the Mines 2020 report also warns that progress towards 2025 mine-free goal set by the Convention’s states is not fast enough. Only 7 of the 35 remaining contaminated States Parties are on track to complete clearance within their respective current agreed Convention deadlines. And 2019 also saw a ten-year low in global clearance figures.

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

“We’ve come a long way since Princess Diana walked through a minefield in Angola, spurring international action to ban anti-personnel mines. But we are seeing too many states fall behind in their clearance efforts.

“The mine clearance sector has all the tools and standards it needs to succeed. But Clearing the Mines 2020 shows that they aren’t being applied as well as they could be. Only 25% of national mine clearance programmes Mine Action Review assessed ranked ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

“That shows there is urgent work to do. This is not about pointing fingers – it’s about identifying and overcoming challenges, and working together to get a finite job done as fast, efficiently, and safely as possible so that communities can live free from mines.”

Mine Action Review also warns that despite use of landmines by states having almost ended, significant numbers of improvised anti-personnel mines continue to be laid by non-state armed groups. This includes use in Afghanistan, Colombia, Yemen, and other parts of the Sahel region in Africa, including the Lake Chad Basin.

Clearing the Mines 2020 shows that clearance has continued in many locations in spite of COVID-19. But progress will depend on continued international support as well as good practice.

Lucy Pinches says that progress towards completion is still possible, but will require increased commitment especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic:

“Significant progress can still be made towards meeting the collective 2025 completion goal that States Parties to the Convention have committed to. But it will require strong national ownership, better national planning, and the use of sector good practice.

“Success will also require sustained funding through to completion – from mine affected states as well as international donors. COVID-19 risks eclipsing all other issues, which we can’t let happen. Millions of people will still live with landmines and we could see that end in many places by the end of 2025, with the right political will and application of good practice in clearance efforts.”

Summary of Key Findings (full key findings on pages 1-2 of the Clearing the Mines 2020 report):

  • The 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention has 164 States Parties.

  • As at November 2020, 57 States and 3 other areas were confirmed or suspected to have anti-personnel mines in mined areas under their jurisdiction or control.   

    Of the 57 affected States, 35 are party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention requiring them to clear contaminated land as soon as possible and within treaty deadlines. Only Oman, Palestine, Somalia, and Sri Lanka are still currently within their respective original 10-year deadline. The remaining States Parties are working under legal extensions to complete clearance or must request a new extended deadline.

  • In February 2020, Chile became the 33rd State to successfully remove all landmines from its territory, since the Convention became legally binding in 1999.

  • There is considerable scope for improvement in the performance of affected States Parties to the Convention. Based on Mine Action Review’s assessment of performance in 2019, only 25% of national mine clearance programmes assessed ranked ‘good’ or ‘very good’, with the remainder ranked as ‘average’, ‘poor’, or ‘very poor’.

  • In 2019, more than 131 square kilometres of anti-personnel contamination was cleared globally, with a total of almost 164,000 emplaced anti-personnel mines destroyed. More than 96% of recorded clearance occurred in States Parties to the Convention.

Notes to editor:   

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.   

Clearing the Mines 2020 report: http://www.mineactionreview.org/documents-andreports/clearing-the-mines-...

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