Cartagena, Colombia, 4 December 2009 - The Cartagena Action Plan has been adopted by the international community, finalizing five days of work of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. “This plan spells out in concrete terms what we will do to better meet the needs of landmine survivors,” said the Cartagena Summit President, Susan Eckey of Norway. “It is a strong plan that will require a shared commitment to be implemented. Doing so will get us closer to our aim of a world without anti-personnel mines.”
Early in the week, the President welcomed all States not parties to the Convention that attended the Summit and reiterated the need for those States that have not done so to accede to the Convention. “All States should support this goal,” said Susan Eckey. “Our aim is to rid the world of anti-personnel mines.”
Several historical events took place during the Summit. Four States – Albania, Greece, Rwanda and Zambia – announced that they have completed clearance of all known mined areas, thereby fulfilling their Convention obligations. In addition, for the first time the United States of America participated in the work of the Convention and announced that it was reviewing its landmine policy. “This was a significant announcement,” said Kerry Brinkert, Director of the Implementation Support Unit of the Convention. “The door had been completely shut for years by the USA, now there is engagement.”
A week full of activities
One-hundred-twenty-seven (127) States took part in the Summit with over 40 represented at a high political level. In total over 1,000 delegates took part in what stands as one of the largest gatherings ever of States and activists dedicated to ending the suffering caused by anti-personnel mines. In addition, over 35 events took place parallel to the Summit, many of which were open to the people of Cartagena.
The Summit was preceded by a day-long series of events in and around Cartagena focused on women, girls, boys and men living with disabilities. These events included a 5 kilometre race for runners, walkers and wheelchair users. As well, an opening ceremony highlighted the incredible abilities of those who have lost a limb or otherwise live with a disability. “It was an incredible opening day,” said Susan Eckey. “The events staged by Colombia emphasized the commitment of Colombia to inclusion.”
Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos participated throughout the week of Summit. On the closing on day, he was joined by his counterpart from Ecuador, Lenin Moreno. Both Colombia and Ecuador are countries affected by anti-personnel mines.
The Cartagena Summit ended with delegations expressing their heartfelt thanks to the Government and people of Colombia for their outstanding efforts in hosting the historic event.