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World Leaders Announce their Commitment to a Mine-Free World

Geneva, 23 September 2009 – World Leaders reaffirm their commitment to a mine-free world by announcing their participation in the Second Review Conference of the Anti-Personnel (AP) Mine Ban Convention, referred to as The Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World  taking place in Colombia from 30 November to 4 December 2009.

The government of Kenya has confirmed the participation of its Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and the Republic of Tajikistan has confirmed that the Minister of Justice, Bakhtiyor Khudoyorov will lead its delegation. The Colombian government announced it received confirmation on 23 September that the representatives from Kenya and Tajikistan will travel to Colombia to participate in the Summit.

The Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World is an opportunity for the international community to redouble its efforts to end the suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines. In addition to Kenya and Tajikistan, Norway and Spain have confirmed that they will participate in the Summit at the Ministerial level or higher. Cambodia has confirmed that Prak Sokhonn, Minister attached to the Prime Minister will lead the Cambodian delegation. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe will also participate in the Summit.

“I am delighted by the news that Kenya, the host of the first Summit on a Mine-Free World, and that of Tajikistan, one of the most mine-affected states in Central Asia, will take part in The Cartagena Summit at a high level,” said Ambassador Susan Eckey of Norway, the Summit’s President.

Summit marks 10 years of implementing the Convention

The Summit marks the first decade of implementation of the AP Mine Ban Convention. Since the Convention entered into force, 156 States have joined, the number of casualties has decreased dramatically, and several states have fulfilled their obligations to clear all mined areas.

Challenges remain, however, with landmine survivors in many countries finding that their needs are still not being met. In addition, there are still vast areas of mined land requiring clearance, and armed non-State actors still planting mines in some countries, including in the host country of the Cartagena Summit, Colombia.

“We look forward to hosting the world to illustrate that in Colombia and elsewhere incredible progress has been made in implementing the Convention, but much work remains,” said Ambassador Angelino Garzon, Colombia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

1,000 delegates expected: emphasis will be on strategy to help victims

At The Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World, the international community is expected to clearly express a shared commitment to a world without mines and adopt a Cartagena Action Plan to overcome remaining challenges. A particular emphasis is placed to address the needs of women, men, girls and boys who have fallen victim to mines. Over 1,000 delegates are expected at this world event.

The AP Mine Ban Convention is a short way of referring to the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, also known as the Ottawa Convention. The Convention bans anti-personnel mines and requires states that join the Convention to destroy all existing stocks, clear all mine areas and assist the survivors.

The Implementation Support Unit (ISU), based in Geneva, provides secretariat services and professional support to the AP Mine Ban Convention and its States Parties. Kerry Brinkert is the ISU’s Director.

If you would like more information about The Cartagena Summit on a Mine-Free World, or to schedule an interview, please call Laila Rodriguez at +41 (0) 22 906 16 69 or e-mail Laila at l.rodriguez(at)gichd.org. For additional information visit www.cartagenasummit.org and www.cartagenasummit.gov.co.