Mine Action Support Group Statement
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR MINE AWARENESS AND ASSISTANCE IN MINE ACTION
4 April, 2013 - The Mine Action Support Group (MASG) is an informal grouping of 30 donor countries that have a shared vision to help countries that are affected by anti-personnel landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) to rid themselves of these scourges of war. It is estimated that over 80 states or areas in the world are affected by explosive devices left after conflict, and these indiscriminate devices cause thousands of civilian causalities each year. They also affect development by denying land for growing food or generating income, and for blocking roads and infrastructure developments. Landmines and explosive remnants of war also hinder efforts to improve health, education and poverty and thus prevent countries achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Each year on 4th April the MASG welcomes the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. Mine action involves the physical removal of landmines from the ground, teaching people how to protect themselves from the threat of landmines, providing assistance for victims of mine accidents and advocating for a mine free world.
Many members of the MASG are members of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and the more recent Convention on Cluster Munitions. The MASG works closely with United Nations agencies, mine affected governments and non-governmental organizations by funding programs and projects that aim to clear landmines and explosives destroy stockpiles of banned weapons and to assist mine victims. In 2011, donor countries contributed over US$450 million for mine action in 57 states and areas. The main recipient countries were Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Sudan, Angola and Lebanon.
Over the years significant progress has been made in reducing the threat from landmines and other ERW. To date, 19 previously contaminated countries have declared themselves free of landmines and clearance programs have been established in most others. The number of new landmine victims globally has dropped by about one third in the last decade. The MASG believes that through ongoing collective efforts these successes can continue and more affected countries can be assisted to complete the removal of landmines and ERW from their territory.