UN agencies ask for $288 million to tackle the effects of landmines

3 December 2003 – United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) battling the scourge of landmines need $288 million next year to remove mines, educate people about avoiding them and help any victims, according to a joint report from the UN.

“Portfolio of Mine Action Projects 2004,” published by the UN Mine Action Service, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Development Programme, was released today in New York on the sixth anniversary of the day the anti-personnel mine-ban treaty was opened for signing in Ottawa, Canada.

A statement from the UN Mine Action Service said UN agencies and NGOs are working in 36 countries affected by landmines and unexploded ordnance, which are spread across 80 countries and kill an average of 50 people every day.

The UN Mine Action Service’s Director, Martin Barber, told a press briefing in New York that, according to the Landmine Monitor, there are currently tens of millions of landmines stockpiled by countries around the world.

Mr. Barber said the biggest de-mining operation was in Afghanistan, but added that the number of people being killed by landmines in that country was on the decline.

Joining Mr. Barber was Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guéhenno, who told the briefing that the international community had made great advances in the battle against landmines in a relatively short time. But he added that only “very steady” efforts over the next few years would solve the problem.

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction has been signed by 141 countries, but the UN Mine Action Service said some States continue to make or deploy landmines.

Listen to UN Radio report

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