World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Funds For Overall UN De-Mining Languish

As 104 States Sign Cluster Bomb Ban, Funds For Overall UN De-Mining Languish

While 104 countries in Oslo signed an historic United Nations-sponsored treaty formally renouncing the use of cluster bombs, the larger effort to rid the world of all ordnance that kill and maim thousands of people years after they are laid is facing a gigantic shortfall, with less than 5 per cent of funding secured so far for 2009.

“Without full donor support many of Mine Action initiatives will have to be cancelled and more civilians will be at risk of losing limbs, lives and livelihood,” Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions Dmitry Titov told a news conference in New York, presenting the $459-million UN Mine Action Service p`rtfolio for next year, with only $22 million raised so far.

“The portfolio of mine action projects is critical in our view to efforts to protect civilian populations and we urge again and again donors, traditional and untraditional ones, to step forward to help us meet this funding shortfall,” he said of the 300 projects to address the problem of land mines and explosive remnants of war inᾠ33 countries and territories.

Of these, 32 deal with cluster munitions, which have gained added prominence with this week’s Oslo meeting. First used in World War II, they contain dozens of smaller explosives designed to disperse over an area the size of several football fields; 15 per cent of them fail to detonate upon impact, creating large de facto minefields. They have claimed over 10,000 lives, 98 per cent of them civilians, and 40 per cent of tῨese children.

The Convention will enter into force after ratifications by 30 states, making its commitments to assist victims, clear contaminated areas and destroy stockpiles binding on its Parties.

The Portfolio of Mine Action Projects is an annual analysis by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ Mine Action Service, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Children’s Fund (<"">UNICEF). At a similar time last year the smaller $404-million 2008 portfolio had secured $40 million.

Over the past year 72 countries were reported to be affected by landmines or the explosive remnants of war, and there were 5,426 casualties although the actual number may be much higher as there is often a problem with under-reporting. About one quarter of land mine victims worldwide are children and the country with the most casualties last year was Colombia.

Anti-personnel mines are not only used by governments. Last year, usage by non-state groups was reported in Afghanistan, Colombia, Ecuador, Iraq, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Peru and Sri Lanka.

Mr. Titov stressed that Mine Action also helped the safe deployment of peacekeepers in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon and Sudan.

“In Sudan over 25,000 kilometres of roads have been cleared extending the reach of peacekeeping operations and civilians even to areas where no cars or trucks have been seen in 30 years,” he said. “In Afghanistan, under the most difficult conditions, over 1 billion metres of land have been cleared, halving the number of casualtiesᾠfrom unexploded ordnance and freeing up vital agricultural land for cultivation.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>