The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention’s Fifteenth Meeting of the States Parties (15MSP) concluded a week of work in Santiago, Chile, recording success in stockpile destruction with Poland announcing it had destroyed one million stockpiled landmines bringing to 158 the number of States that no longer hold stocks.
The international gathering involved more than 400 participants representing over 100 delegations including nine from States not party, some of which may hold millions of anti-personnel mines. Five Latin American countries are still involved in mine clearance, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Ecuador.
The Conference expressed concern for the ever growing use of improvised landmines which has contributed to an increase in casualties, and called for sustained assistance to victims of these weapons.
This was the third time that the Convention met in Latin America, the first one in the Southern Cone.
The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Marta Maurás, Ambassador of Chile to the UN in Geneva. The Ambassador, who also led the work of the Convention for the past year, hailed the meeting a “success” and said the treaty is still “a leading disarmament and humanitarian Convention”.
The body of the Convention congratulated Chile for its outstanding work during the past year, successfully leading the 15MSP and fully implementing the Convention.
Some of the week’s highlights: Thirty-two (32) States Parties are still in the process of clearing mined areas including five in Latin America: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru; Several States Parties have seen their contamination grow due to improvised explosive devices; Among the States Parties that must still fulfill their mine clearance obligation are some of the most mine-affected in the world including Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Colombia and Iraq; some of these countries will require additional technical and financial support if they are to meet the 2025 mine clearance ambition set by the States Parties in 2014.
The Conference expressed concern that Ukraine is now in a state of non-compliance and called on Ukraine to submit a request for extension of its mine clearance deadline as soon as possible; Ecuador, which indicated that due to the earthquake that affected the country earlier in 2016 would be unable to meet its 1 October 2017 deadline, was granted a new deadline until 31 December 2017. Ecuador will have to submit a detailed request for extension which includes a mine clearance plan by 31 March 2017.
Peru, with a deadline until 1 March 2017, is carrying out joint operations with Ecuador to demine their common border. Peru received new information from Ecuador of the existence of 138 mined areas in the Cordillera del Condor. Due to this previously unknown contamination, Peru said it would be unable to meet its deadline. Peru was granted a new deadline until 31 December 2024 and will have to provide an updated work plan by 30 April 2018.
All States were asked to report on progress in implementing the Convention in accordance with the transparency reporting obligations under the Convention.
The conference elected Austria as the next presidency of the Convention effective immediately. Austria will chair the Convention’s Sixteenth Meeting of the States Parties (16MSP) from 18 to 22 December 2017 in Vienna.