The EU has a long history of supporting mine action that pre-dates the Ottawa Convention (also known as the Mine Ban Treaty), a milestone agreement on the prohibition of anti-personnel mines adopted in 1997. FPI’s Instrument Contributing to the Stability and Peace (IcSP) accounts for one third of EU financial support for mine action. IcSP-funded mine action activities include measures to address the socio-economic impact of anti-personnel landmines, explosive remnants of war (ERWs) and unexploded ordnances (UXOs) on the civilian population – such as mine risk education (MRE), mine detection and clearance and stockpile destruction. Moreover, actions aiming at the implementation of the Ottawa Convention are financed from the EU budget of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), which is implemented by the FPI in close coordination with the EEAS.
The European Union, together with its implementing partners, supports numerous mine clearance projects worldwide. One of our major implementing partners is the HALO Trust, a key demining organisation working on landmine clearance and MRE worldwide. With the EU’s vital financial support, the HALO Trust has conducted substantial demining activities across the globe.
One of the exemplary case studies where IcSP financing made a massive difference is in Ukraine. Thanks to EU funding, in 2016 the HALO Trust teams were among the first to be deployed in the war-torn regions of Luhansk and Donetsk to map hazardous areas and conduct explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). Following this initial assessment, the EU-funded manual clearance team cleared a total of 147 933 m² and removed 100 items of ERW, directly benefiting over 2 628 people. Ever since this first mission, HALO continues to operate across the region, with MRE, survey and clearance operations still ongoing. Similarly, through the IcSP the EU also partnered with another renowned demining organisation – the Danish Demining Group (DDG) – for a project involved equipping the State Emergency Service of Ukraine with the necessary technical instruments) to conduct humanitarian mine action activities, as well as mine risk education for local communities.
Thanks to the wide-ranging funding for mine action projects via the IcSP, the EU continues to make a difference to the lives of local communities affected by the issue of antipersonnel landmines. This includes countries such as Colombia, Angola, Chad, Iraq, Laos, Somalia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka or the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
On the International Mine Awareness Day, it is important to remember landmines continue to be an issue affecting many vulnerable communities worldwide. As a part of its focus on peacebuilding and conflict prevention, the EU substantially contributes to making the world a safer and a more secure place by helping remove the threat of antipersonnel mines and UXOs through key foreign policy instruments such as the IcSP.