Vienna: Prince Harry has called for efforts to be redoubled to clear landmines around the world at an annual meeting to review progress on the Mine Ban Treaty in Vienna. At the same time, mine clearance organisations, The HALO Trust and Mines Advisory Group (MAG) have published a new report, *'State of Play: The Landmine Free 2025 Commitment', *calling for increased action from treaty signatories.
2017 marks 20 years since the adoption of the landmark treaty, which 163 states have now joined, including Sri Lanka, which acceded on December 14.
Half of these countries have eradicated the blight of landmines. However, according to the latest Landmine Monitor report, casualties from landmines have doubled since 2014, and last year hit their highest mark since 1999.
Twenty-four people were killed or injured by a landmine or piece of unexploded ordnance *every day *in 2016: of these, 42% were children.
Continuing his support for the Landmine Free 2025 campaign, founded by HALO and MAG, Prince Harry said in a video message broadcast on Tuesday at the conference in Vienna: "The Mine Ban Treaty includes a commitment from the international community to clear the world of landmines by 2025. With just eight years to go, we must stiffen our resolve and redouble our efforts if we are to stand any chance of achieving this goal. I am delighted that the British Government has taken the lead by increasing its funding to clear these terrible legacies of war, but without similar commitments across the world, the 2025 goal will not be achieved."
Demining organisations estimate an additional $100m per year is needed until 2025 to finish the job and clear the world of landmines and unexploded ordnance. Responding to newly laid landmines will require additional money. International funding for mine action increased by 22% in 2016 but 70% of this came from just five donor states and 30% was spent in Afghanistan and Iraq alone, meaning funding for many countries actually decreased.
Angola, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe are all lagging behind but could meet the clearance deadline with renewed financial support and political will. Cuts have been felt most in Angola, a country made famous by a visit from Prince Harry's mother Princess Diana in 1997. International funding in Angola has dropped by almost 90% and national budget allocations also dropped by $35 million. Just a few weeks ago, Sapalo, a 14-year-old boy lost both his legs and was left partially blind by a bomb in Moxico province.
James Cowan, CEO of HALO said: "The overall increase in funding is welcome, however, some of the most mine-affected countries are missing out on landmine clearance because of a misconception that they no longer need help. This poses a dreadful risk to poor and marginalised rural communities who live in daily fear of mines, and to the global efforts to eliminate landmines once and for all."
Jane Cocking, CEO of MAG said: "Around the world, more than 60 million people still live in fear of landmines, and last year tragically saw the highest level of casualties in nearly two decades. From the new landmine emergency in the middle east, to the legacy of contamination from wars gone by, these indiscriminate weapons don't only injure and kill innocent people but eliminate land that could be used for farming, schools or hospitals. We have the means and the ability to solve this problem."
MAG and HALO are working with Prince Harry, donors, and other mine action organisations for a Landmine Free 2025. They aim to reenergise support for landmine clearance and strengthen national and global partnerships.
To download a video of Prince Harry's complete speech: https://vimeo.com/247814452/4b7451e750
To download a copy of the Landmine Free 2025 report 'State of Play: The Landmine Free 2025 Commitment':
For the latest statistic on casualties and funding, see the Landmine Monitor report: http://the-monitor.org/en-gb/reports/2017/landmine-monitor-2017.aspx
To arrange interviews with Jane Cocking MAG CEO or James Cowan Halo CEO or other representatives of the Landmine Free 2025 campaign please contact:
· Katie Ward | firstname.lastname@example.org | +44 (0)7900 241608 <+44%207900%20241608>
· Paul McCann | email@example.com| +44 (0)7967 853217 <+44%207967%20853217>
About Landmine Free 2025
Landmine Free 2025 is a campaign to complete landmine clearance by 2025.
The campaign calls for donor and mine-affected states, civil society and the public to reenergise support for landmine clearance. It aims to build and strengthen national and global partnerships to realise the goal of a world free of landmines. The campaign is led by The HALO Trust and MAG but collaborates with other mine action organisations.
About The HALO Trust
The HALO Trust create safe and secure environments in war torn communities by clearing landmines, managing stockpiles of weapons and destroying unexploded ordnance. Born out of a desire to help the people of Afghanistan in 1988, HALO now has around 8,000 staff in 19 countries and territories http://www.halotrust.org/where-we-work/, working to get vulnerable communities back on their feet following conflict.
About Mines Advisory Group
Working in more than 40 countries since 1989, MAG has found and destroyed 4.7 million landmines, cluster bombs and other unexploded ordnance, such as bombs, shells and mortars. MAG makes land safe for agriculture, schools, health clinics and water sources, and for other humanitarian organisations to carry out their vital aid work.