Anti-Personnel Landmines, Small Arms and Light Weapons

Anti-Personnel Landmines, Small Arms and Light Weapons

Traditional Anti-personnel landmines (APL) are legacies of past or frozen conflicts[1]. They continue to inflict death and to pose a significant threat to development and reconstruction in many post-conflict countries. The effects of anti-personal landmines are indiscriminate as they do not distinguish between soldiers and civilians. They impede the return of refugees and internally displaced people and hinder reconciliation. They also prevent economic recovery in the areas most contaminated and they hamper productive use of land.

The EU and its Member States provide significant contributions to mine action projects in heavily affected countries and areas of the world. This is part of the EU commitment and support to fragile countries and their resilience building, and peace building.

Demining activities are financed through a number of EU's external financing instruments under the EU general budget (Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI)[2] and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP)[3]), as well as under the European Development Fund. For example, within the scope of the IcSP, support may, inter alia, include risk education, mine detection and clearance and, in conjunction therewith, stockpile destruction. There are also Common Foreign and Security Policy-based decisions which envisage financing for demining activities- e.g. Decision 2012/700/CFSP[4].

Demining as such is an important part of peace building and reconstruction processes, which explains why the European Commission services and the European External Action Service follow this process attentively both at international and EU level. The EU is currently the first demining donor worldwide: from 2012 to 2017 around EUR 355 million was spent by the EU for demining activities (EUR 65 million only in 2016); a figure which is above EUR 900 million when combined with the money committed by Member States. More details could be found in the brochure: The EU support for mine action across the world. The European Commission is constantly assisting most of the contaminated countries i.e. 34 countries within a total of 43 fragile countries worldwide still significantly contaminated[5] plus Croatia and Turkey. In that way, it contributes together with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, to the annual worldwide decrease of the number of victims.

Activities addressing landmine issues may cover the socio-economic impact on the civilian population, reconstruction processes such as mine clearance, capacity building, victim assistance, risk education, advocacy and stockpile destruction.


Small arms and light weapons

Small arms and light weapons (SALW) are a particular threat to fragile and conflict-prone countries. Between 1990 and 2005 they contributed to the loss of almost 4 million lives and the displacement of over 18 million people from their homes or countries. SALWs aggravate poverty, divert energy away from efforts to improve human development and blur lines between armed conflicts and criminality.

The fight against SALW is of particular importance for both Common Security and Defence Policy and development actors. The EU Strategy to combat illicit accumulation and trafficking of SALW and their Ammunition supports law enforcement and reinforcing the capacity of judicial and civil authorities involved in fighting illicit trafficking as well as multilateral SALW control. SALW governance activities are particularly pertinent when uncontrolled stockpiles of SALW are or have been accessible to unauthorised users.



[1] Since the adoption of the "Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention" of 1997 new forms of home-made devices have appeared in the new conflict areas which pose the same threats and risks and that are dealt by the EU under the 'demining'.



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