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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 60, September 2001

Documents & Sources

Ottawa Convention Meeting

Third Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention), Managua, Nicaragua, September 18-21, 2001.

Managua Declaration

Final Declaration of the Third Meeting of the States Parties, September 21.

"1. We, the states parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and Their Destruction, along with other states, international organizations and institutions and non-governmental organizations, gathered in Managua, Nicaragua, reaffirm our unwavering commitment both to the total eradication of anti-personnel mines and to addressing the insidious and inhumane effects of these weapons.

2. Meeting in Nicaragua, one of the most mine-affected countries in the Americas, we are witness to the devastating effects of this weapon on individuals and on communities. We are also witness to the importance of our work in addressing the problems faced by the Nicaraguan people, and countless others in countries around the world. We are reminded of the long journey ahead towards a mine-free world, as well as the significant steps already secured to reach our goal.

3. We celebrate the growing support for the Convention, ratified or acceded to by 120 states. With an additional 21 countries having signed, but not yet ratified the Convention, the number of states parties and signatories now totals 141, including more than 40 mine-affected states. We call upon those that have not done so, to ratify or accede to the Convention. We also call upon all states in the process of formally accepting the obligations of the Convention, to provisionally apply the terms of the Convention.

4. We recognize that the new international norm established by the Convention is being demonstrated by the successful record of implementation of the Convention, including the conduct of many states not party to the Convention respecting the provisions therein. This includes the complete destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines in 28 countries, with 19 states parties in the process of destroying stockpiles. Furthermore, approximately 220 million US$ has been allocated by donors over the past year to address the global landmine problem, in addition to the resources being allocated by mine-affected countries themselves.

5. We are pleased that over the past year, a considerable amount of land was cleared of anti-personnel mines, that casualty rates in several of the world's most mine-affected states have decreased, that landmine victim assistance has improved, and that our cooperative efforts continue to contribute to this progress.

6. While celebrating the success of the Convention, we remain deeply concerned that anti-personnel mines continue to kill, maim and threaten the lives of countless innocent people each day, that the terror of mines prevents individuals from reclaiming their lives and that the lasting impact of these weapons denies communities the opportunity to rebuild long after conflicts have ended.

7. We deplore any use of anti-personnel mines. Such acts are contrary to the object and purpose of the Convention and exacerbate the humanitarian problems already caused by the use of these weapons. We urge all those who continue to use, develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain and/or transfer anti-personnel landmines, to cease immediately and to join us in the task of eradicating these weapons.

8. We expect those states, which have declared their commitment to the objective and purpose of the Convention and which continue to use anti-personnel mines, to recognize that this is clear violation of their solemn commitment. We call upon all states concerned to respect their commitments.

9. Recognizing the need to secure full compliance with all obligations of the Convention, we reaffirm our commitment to effectively implement the Convention and to comply fully with its provisions. We do so in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that has characterized this process. In this context, we recall that the four-year maximum time period for the destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines is rapidly approaching for many states parties. We also recall that as soon as possible, but not later than ten years after the entry into force of this Convention, each state party undertakes to destroy or ensure the destruction of all anti-personnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control. We encourage national, regional and international initiatives aimed at fulfilling these obligations.

10. We call upon all governments and people everywhere to join in the common task to meet the enormous challenges of mine action, including victim assistance, to provide the technical and financial assistance required, and, where appropriate, to integrate these efforts into development planning and programming. As states parties bound to the eradication of anti-personnel mines, we reiterate that assistance and cooperation for practical mine action will flow primarily to those that have forsworn the use of these weapons forever through adherence to, implementation of, and compliance with the Convention.

11. We recognize that to achieve the promise of this unique and important humanitarian instrument, we must continue working tirelessly in all parts of the world to end the use of anti-personnel mines, to destroy stockpiles, to cease development, production and transfers of these weapons, to clear mined areas to free land from its deadly bondage, to assist victims to reclaim their lives with dignity and to prevent new victims.

12. We also recognize that progress to free the world from anti-personnel mines would be promoted by the commitment by non-state actors to cease and renounce their use in line with the international norm established by this Convention.

13. We warmly welcome the substantial progress made during the intersessional work programme. This programme continues to focus and advance the international community's mine action efforts, it greatly assists in our collective aim to implement the Convention and it provides a forum for mine-affected and other states to share experiences, acquire knowledge and enhance efforts to implement the Convention at the national level. We express our satisfaction that the intersessional work programme has been carried out in the Convention's tradition of partnership, dialogue, openness and practical cooperation. We welcome the increased participation of mine-affected states in the intersessional work and the valuable contribution of the Sponsorship Programme.

14. Recognising the importance of the challenge to reach the goal set by the Americas to convert the 'Western Hemisphere into an anti-personnel landmine free zone' as soon as possible, which is a determining factor in the efforts to make the Convention both universal and fully operative, achieving this goal will be example to the world of the Convention's effectiveness and an inspiration for other affected regions.

15. To enhance the intersessional process, we must build upon its accomplishments, strengthen its outcomes and focus on providing states and other relevant international actors with the tools required to carry out the promise of the Convention. We continue to encourage the active participation of mine-affected and other interested states, as well as other relevant actors in the intersessional work programme.

16. We acknowledge the positive work of the Coordinating Committee tasked with the coordination of the intersessional work programme, and its role in the strengthening of the intersessional process.

17. We call upon the states parties to continue participating in the work of the Standing Committees established by the meetings of the states parties to the Convention.

18. We express our gratitude to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and other relevant non-governmental organizations, to regional and international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, for their important and substantive contribution to the intersessional process and to the overall implementation and consolidation of the Convention. We also thank all those agencies involved in mine clearance, mine awareness, victim assistance, stockpile destruction and other efforts to this end.

19. We thank the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining for its essential support and its commitment to enhance its support to the intersessional process through the establishment of an implementation unit.

20. In reflecting upon our progress and accomplishments, and in considering the work that lies ahead, we reconfirm our conviction to make anti-personnel mines objects of the past, our obligation to assist those who have fallen victim to this terror, and our shared responsibility to the memories of those whose lives have been lost as a result of the use of these weapons, including those killed as a result of their dedication to helping others by clearing mined areas or providing humanitarian assistance."

Source: States parties to Mine Ban Convention adopt Managua Declaration as they close their third annual meeting, UN Press Release DC/2809, September 21.

UN Press Release

'States parties to Mine Ban Convention adopt Managua Declaration as they close their third annual meeting', UN Press Release DC/2809, September 21.

Note: the Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Convention will be held in Geneva from September 16-20, 2002, under the presidency of Jean Lint of Belgium.

"The President of the Third Meeting of States Parties, Francisco Xavier Aguirre Sacasa, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua, read a statement regarding last week's terrorist attacks on the United States. He expressed his outrage at these attacks, which he said he believed was shared by all participants in the meeting, and expressed solidarity with the people of the United States. He called for all countries to work together to bring the perpetrators to justice, as well as those who aided and abetted them.

In the course of the four-day Meeting, discussions were also held on various aspects of the Convention, including compliance and verification procedures, international assistance and cooperation, and states parties' reporting obligations. Participants heard of a reported violation by a state party [Uganda] - which denied the report and supported the call for an investigation - and reports of use of anti-personnel mines by signatories. The question of whether highly sensitive anti-vehicle mines fell under the Convention's ban was raised. On the final day, mine survivors themselves described programmes they had established to provide assistance to their fellow victims.

At the conclusion of the final session, Mr. Aguirre Sacasa thanked representatives for showing their determination to improve the lot of humankind by attending, despite the events of last week. States parties had congratulated each other on their achievements, he noted, but - more importantly - they had identified problems that must still be addressed to rid the world of anti-personnel mines. He said he was particularly glad that states parties had the chance to hear from landmine survivors, who put human faces to their work, and should inspire them to renewed vigour.

The Convention...is commonly called the Ottawa Convention because it was opened for signature at Ottawa, Canada, in December 1997. It obliges parties to refrain from using anti-personnel mines under any circumstances, and to never develop, produce, buy or sell such mines. They are also charged with destroying or ensuring the destruction of all anti-personnel mines. 111 states are currently party to the Convention. Seven more states have signed and ratified it, although they have not yet completed the required six-month period required after ratification to become states parties. An additional 22 have signed the treaty but have not yet ratified it. The meeting was attended by representatives of more than 90 states - as participants or observers - and also heard from representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations."

Message from UN Secretary-General

'Secretary-General, in message to Mine Ban Convention parties, evokes "enormous' challenges still ahead,' UN Press Release SG/SM/7961, September 18.

Note: the Secretary-General's message was delivered to the meeting by Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala.

"... As you meet in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy that occurred in the United States a week ago today, this gathering takes on even greater significance. Never has there been a greater need for the world to show unity and purpose against the forces of violence and destruction.

The United Nations is proud to be a partner in this effort to keep drawing the world's attention to the threat of anti-personnel landmines - this insidious remnant of war which continues to cause suffering long after the actual battle has ceased. The Mine Ban Convention is making a difference in the lives of people around the world, as the international community has made significant progress towards creating an environment free from the threat of landmines. One hundred and twenty states have now ratified the Convention, or are in the process of doing so. I call upon those that have not yet joined the treaty to do so as soon as possible. There has been a dramatic decline in the production, transfer, stockpiling and use of landmines. More mines have been cleared, more victims assisted, more stockpiles destroyed, and more effective technologies for mine action have been developed. More men, women and especially children have been made aware of dangerous landmine zones.

There are still enormous challenges ahead - from more effective coordination and mobilization of resources at the international level, to building better capacity for mine action programmes at the national and local levels. In response to those challenges, the United Nations is developing a five-year mine action strategy identifying goals to be achieved, including an international instrument addressing unexploded ordnances, which were not originally a part of the Convention. In our partnership to eradicate landmines from the face of the earth, the United Nations will continue to play its part to the full. ..."

© 2001 The Acronym Institute.