Mine Action Review has published ‘Clearing the Mines 2023’, its tenth annual report monitoring progress in global anti-personnel (AP) mine clearance and analysing performance of national programmes.
According to Mine Action Review’s latest report, in 2022, a global total of nearly 189 square kilometres of mined area was cleared of AP mines, 97 percent of which was in States Parties to the APMBC. Clearance in 2022 represented a nearly one-quarter increase compared to the previous year, resulting largely from a huge increase in clearance in State Party Cambodia. Globally, area clearance operations and spot tasks destroyed a combined total of over 213,750 AP mines in 2022, reflecting substantial progress in removing these deadly devices from affected areas. The greatest number of AP mines destroyed in 2022 a single State was in Türkiye (58,078), followed by Zimbabwe (31,178).
Behind the good news, however, lie multiple challenges including the most serious violation of the APMBC in its 25-year history, with respect to State Party Ukraine. Ukraine, which continues to be embroiled in major armed conflict following Russia’s renewed aggression in late February 2022, has committed serious violations of its international legal obligation never under any circumstances to use AP mines. The lack of a robust response to-date from the overwhelming majority of States Parties threatens to weaken the international norm prohibiting the use of AP mines under any circumstances by any State Party.
Lucy Pinches, Project Manager of Mine Action Review, emphasised “We note and condemn the large-scale use of anti-personnel mines in Ukraine by Russia, a State not party to the Convention and we commend Ukraine for its dedicated efforts to address contamination from mines and other explosive ordnance under extremely difficult circumstances. However, the ban on use of AP mines by States Parties to the APMBC is absolute and unequivocal. It applies irrespective of the conditions of use or the aggressor. Indeed, it is often in times of war that international law is most tested, but also when it must be upheld, in order to safeguard the norms and the protection of civilians.”
No States Parties declared fulfilment of their Article 5 clearance obligations in the course of 2022. As at 1 September 2023, 57 States and 3 “other areas” (self-governing regions not generally recognised as States) were contaminated with AP mines, of which 35 are States Parties to the Convention. This is one more than a year earlier following the addition of State Party, Burkina Faso, to the list, following use of AP mines of an improvised nature by non-State armed groups since Burkina Faso’s Article 5 clearance deadline expired. These victim activated improvised explosive devices which meet the definition a mine, are covered under the Convention and have unfortunately been used increasingly in conflicts over the past decade.
Based on Mine Action Review’s assessment of the extent of contamination in affected States Parties, Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Iraq are massively contaminated (defined as covering more than 100km2 of land), while heavy contamination (covering more than 20km2–100km2) exists in Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Thailand, Türkiye, and Yemen. In addition, the extent of Ukraine’s mine threat has been upgraded from medium to heavy based on massive Russian use in 2022 and 2023 to date, as at the time of writing. In other affected States Parties, the extent of AP mine contamination is medium or light.
Progress in implementation varies between States Parties, but very few are on track to meet their existing clearance deadlines, highlighting the need for more substantial efforts to fulfil clearance obligations as soon as possible. This should be of concern to the sector, as Article 5 lies at the heart of the Convention, because clearance of mined areas is fundamental to preventing people falling victim to AP mines and enabling communities to safely and productively use land, free from fear. Humanitarian emergencies justly demand urgent funding, but resources must be better mobilised and coordinated to ensure that States with medium or low levels of contamination, often decades old, also receive the international funding they need to reach completion.
Next year, the Fifth Review Conference of the APMBC will take place in Cambodia. Progress to complete AP mine clearance in both Cambodia and neighbouring Thailand is now largely contingent on the two States reaching an agreement to clear the border minefields.
Elaboration of the next five-year Action Plan of the APMBC, to be adopted by States Parties in 2024, offers an excellent opportunity for States and their implementing partners to integrate and mainstream the important topic of the environment and climate change into the next action plan, helping ensure implementation of the Convention is responsible and sustainable.
Notes to editor:
Key Findings on page 1 of the Clearing the Mines 2023 report.
Mine Action Review was launched in 2014 and conducts the primary research and analysis on landmine and cluster munition remnant contamination, survey, and clearance worldwide, including assessing fulfilment of clearance obligations by States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) and the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
Supported and published by Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), as an independent project, Mine Action Review collates and analyses mine action data globally from national authorities, clearance operators, the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and other key stakeholders.
Mine Action Review produces two annual reports, ‘Clearing the Mines’ and ‘Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants’, which provide information on contamination and progress in clearance for every State and other area affected by anti-personnel mines and/or cluster munition remnants.
The HALO Trust, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), and NPA form the project’s Advisory Board. Mine Action Review would like to thank Global Affairs Canada, the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs for funding its work as well as all those who contributed data and information.
Download the Clearing the Mines 2023 report
Contact: Lucy Pinches, Project Manager, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
 On 19 September 2023 Azerbaijan launched a 24-hour military offensive, which resulted in it regaining control of the rest of Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh, which Mine Action Review classified as an “other area”, is now fully under Azerbaijan’s jurisdiction and control.