Geneva, 20 November 2020 – Sudan has concluded a week of work leading the annual meeting of the States Parties to the Mine Ban Convention with nearly 500 registered participants from 99 States (88Parties, 11 not party) and more than a dozen international and non-governmental organisations, attending virtually from around the globe.
Netherlands has been elected as new Convention President. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands spoke on the priorities for the Dutch Presidency: https://youtu.be/Z6sXBfY0eg4.
States not party China, India, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Myanmar, Lao People’s Democratic Republic,
Republic of Korea, Syrian Arab Republic, and United States of America attended as Observers – this was the first formal meeting that the Republic of Korea attended, and the first time Israel attended in 16 years. (Summary provided below)
Chile and the United Kingdom announced having cleared all their known mine fields bringing now to 31 the number of previously contaminated countries which have declared being “mine-free”, with 32 still with clearance obligations. Argentina made a statement in connection with the announcement by the United Kingdom (document APLC/MSP.18/2020/MISC.4).
The following countries requested that their mine clearance deadlines set for 2021 be extended due to a number of issues ranging from lack of funding, to sheer extent or lack of knowledge of contamination. The requests were granted as follows, Bosnia and Herzegovina until 1 March 2027; Colombia until 31 December 2025, Democratic Republic of the Congo until 1 July 2022; Niger until 31 December 2024; Senegal until 1 March 2026; South Sudan until 9 July 2026; and Ukraine 1 December 2023. The Meeting regretted that Eritrea had not submitted a request ahead of its impending 31 December 2020 deadline which makes it noncompliant.
Mauritania which had declared itself mine free in 2018 and which discovered previously unknown mined areas and Nigeria which also had declared itself mine-free nearly a decade ago and is once again contaminated by AP mines of an improvised nature are to gather and assess data on the previously unknown/new contamination and submit a new more detailed request by 31 March.