ITF at 16MSP in Vienna
Over 100 countries and observing organisations came together at the United Nations Centre in Vienna to discuss the progress made in the implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (the so-called Ottawa Convention). The Convention was signed on 3 December 1997 and during the meeting celebrated its 20th birthday. With approximately 80% of all states being party to the convention, it remains one of the most universal international treaties. At 16MSP, Sri Lanka officially declared its accession to the Ottawa Convention, thus becoming the 163rd State Party.
20 years after its signature, the Convention continues to prove its importance. Algeria fulfilled a core obligation under the convention by successfully clearing all of the known mine contaminated areas in its territory and officially became mine-free. The countries and organisations reported many successes achieved in the past year regarding mine clearance and victims assistance. Yet, all warned against complacency and that much remains to be done. The “Landmine Free 2025” agenda can only be reached with sufficient and continuous funding as well as strong partnerships.
At the meeting, Amb Tomaž Lovrenčič, ITF Director (Acting) delivered an address and expressed ITF’s pride in being part of the mine action community. He recognized all the work that has been achieved in the 20 years since the signing of the Convention. In 2018, ITF will celebrate its own 20th anniversary and continues to stand committed to clearance, assistance to mine victims and other related activities in the future. ITF honours the successes that have been achieved so far with the generous support of its donors. During nearly 20 years of implementing projects and programs, ITF has raised over 428 million dollars, which were, among others, used to clear over 139 million square meters of mine-contaminated land in South East Europe, Middle East and South Caucasus, and help 1,277 mine survivors receive the necessary medical rehabilitation. Its extensive experience in capacity building is also immensely important for developing local ownership and the transition of full responsibility to mine affected countries.
ITF also took the opportunity to meet with some of its partners in the margins of the meeting, including the delegations of Afghanistan, Colombia, Serbia, Sudan, and the United States of America. We strongly believe in the imperative for cooperation between different actors in the mine action community with the purpose achieving a mine-free world.