The Ottawa Convention - Banning landmines a Key Initiative
Austria has unilaterally banned the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of Anti-Personnel Landmines (APL) in 1997. From the outset, Austria has actively participated in the negotiations for the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Convention (=Ottawa-Convention) aimed at an international ban of such weapons, which kill or maim 25,000 people annually, mainly civilians. Austria contributed a draft APL Convention, which formed the basis for the negotiations leading to an international, legally binding total ban of APLs in 1997.
The Convention was signed in Ottawa in December 1997 by 122 States and entered into force on 1 March 1999. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 1997 for its tireless work to put the APL problem on the international agenda. 141 states have ratified the Convention since 1997. The majority of states most heavily affected by landmines, such as Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Mozambique, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nicaragua, have joined the Convention. The First Review Conference of the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Convention (Nairobi-Summit on a mine-free world) took place in Nairobi from 29th November to 3rd December 2004 under the chairmanship of Wolfgang Petritsch, Austria’s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva.
Austrian Support for Mine Clearance
Austria financially supports the efforts of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines to annually issue the Landmine Monitor Report and plays an active role in the New York based Mine Action Support Group (MASG), which tries to improve coordination between the donor community and the UN organizations dealing with the problem of landmines (UNMAS, UNDP and UNICEF).
Since 1998, Austria has bilaterally contributed more than 8 million Euros for mine clearance, in particular capacity building, programmes for mine risk education and for the rehabilitation of landmine victims. Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nicaragua and Mozambique have been identified as “focus-countries” of the Austrian mine action programme.