Inaugurated by the United Nations in 2005 with Resolution A/RES/60/97, 4 April is the International Day on the Problem of Mines and Unexploded Ordnance and Support for Mine Action, to promote the creation and development of national capacities for mine action in countries where mines and explosive remnants of war still pose a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of civilians. Or an obstacle to social and economic development at national and local levels. “Even after the fighting has ended,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his message on the eve of 4 April 2023, “conflicts often leave behind a terrifying legacy:
landmines and explosive devices that plague communities. Peace brings no guarantee of safety when roads and fields are mined, when unexploded ordnance threatens the return of displaced populations, and when children find and play with shiny objects that explode’.
Despite the importance of Mine Action in 2021, global support for mine action has declined, recalls the Italian Campaign to Ban Landmines, which is part of a global coalition. According to data provided by the Landmine Monitor 2022, donors and affected states contributed a total of USD 598.9 million, a 7% decrease in support (USD 44.6 million). Signs of lower financial commitment were also recorded in 2022,” the Campaign wrote in a note, which “portends a further downward trend in spite of the growing emergency, and dependence on a limited number of donors poses a serious risk to the sustainability of Mine Action’s activities”.
“The ongoing conflicts,” comments Giuseppe Schiavello, Director of the Italian Campaign Against Landmines, “will leave a carpet of death and constant threat on the ground, depriving people of the security they need to return to their homes and rebuild their communities, through the actions that make up Mine Action. For this reason, the decrease in funding in this area is very worrying and this is why we wanted to launch on the occasion of 4 April, an appeal to all our parliamentarians to increase the endowment of the fund for humanitarian demining established by law 58/01 and financed annually from the chapter of the decree on international missions, one of the good practices that has led our country to lead by example in its commitment to humanitarian disarmament and, in particular, to cooperation dedicated to Mine Action”.
Cover image: recent data from the website