12/18/2018
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SÍNTESIS DE LA REUNIÓN DEL 4 DE FEBRERO DE 1999

CONSEJO PERMANENTE DE LA
ORGANIZACIÓN DE LOS ESTADOS AMERICANOS


COMISIÓN DE SEGURIDAD HEMISFÉRICA

OEA/Ser. G
CP/CSH/SA.62/99
9 abril 1999
Original: inglés
 

1. Apoyo al programa de desminado en Centroamérica [AG/RES. 1568 (XXVIII-O/98)]

• Informes preparados por la Unidad para la Promoción de la Democracia y la Junta Interamericana de Defensa sobre el programa de desminado en América Central

El Coordinador Ejecutivo Interino de la Unidad para la Promoción de la Democracia (UPD), de la Secretaría General de la OEA, señor Rubén Perina, se dirigió a la Comisión sobre el Programa de Desminado en América Central (PADCA) /. Este programa se realiza en forma conjunta entre la UPD y la Junta Interamericana de Defensa (JID), cuyo Presidente, el Mayor General John Thompson, también se dirigió a la Comisión y se refirió a los logros alcanzados con este programa durante los últimos meses; el impacto del huracán Mitch sobre las tareas de desminado que se realizan en Centroamérica y las proyecciones y preocupaciones que existen sobre este tema /. Asimismo, estuvieron presentes algunos oficiales de la JID que participan directamente en el programa, a saber, el Brigadier General Carlos Morales, de Ecuador; el Coronel Luis Sánchez, de Venezuela; y el Coronel Charles Case, de los Estados Unidos.

El Coordinador del PADCA, William McDonough, se dirigió a la Comisión sobre los aspectos de coordinación del Programa, incluidas las cuestiones de financiamiento internacional, actividades de recaudación de fondos y sobre los requisitos de infraestructura y equipo. /.

2. El Hemisferio Occidental: Zona Libre de Minas Terrestres Antipersonal [AG/RES. 1569 (XXVIII-O/98)]

• Presentación de la Delegación de los Estados Unidos sobre la Conferencia de Donantes sobre Remoción de Minas Terrestres

El Embajador Donald K. Steinberg, de la Delegación de los Estados Unidos se dirigió a la Comisión con relación a la Conferencia de Donantes, celebrada en mayo de 1998. La presentación del Embajador Steinberg se concentró en los resultados logrados en la mencionada Conferencia y el apoyo de los Estados Unidos en las actividades de desminado. El Embajador Steinberg distribuyó durante la reunión una copia de su presentación al Seminario Regional para la Promoción de la Convención de Ottawa, que se celebró en México en 1999 /.

• Presentaciones de las delegaciones de México y Canadá sobre la Convención de Ottawa y sobre el Seminario Regional para la Promoción de la Convención de Ottawa.

El Representante Permanente de México, Embajador Claude Heller, se dirigió a la Comisión sobre el Seminario Regional para la Promoción de la Convención sobre la Prohibición del Empleo, el Almacenamiento, la Producción y la Transferencia de Minas Antipersonal y sobre su Destrucción (Convención de Ottawa), coordinado por los gobiernos de México y Canadá, que se celebró en México en enero de 1999. /

La Representante de Canadá, señora Renata Wielgozs, se dirigió a la Comisión sobre los efectos de la Convención de Ottawa, que entrará en vigor el 1 de marzo de 1999 /. En su presentación, la señora Wielgozs señaló que hasta la fecha, 16 Estados miembros de la OEA han ratificado la mencionada Convención /.

Varias delegaciones informaron a la Comisión que sus gobiernos estaban considerando ratificar la Convención antes de la reunión programada para el mes de mayo, en Maputo, así como la situación actual de las gestiones que realizan sus respectivos países con respecto al desminado.

ANEXO I

Palabras del Dr. Rubén M. Perina Oficial a cargo de la Unidad para la Promoción de la Democracia (UPD)

Sr. Presidente, muchas gracias por la oportunidad que nos brinda de informar a su Comisión sobre el PADCA, Programa de Apoyo a Desminado en Centroamérica. Esta Comisión ha jugado un rol decisivo, con sus orientaciones y apoyo, en el desarrollo, fortalecimiento, y logros del PADCA.

Como es conocido, el PADCA comenzó sus actividades en 1991 en Nicaragua pero por falta de recursos se tuvo que suspender en 1993. Fue recién en mayo de 1995 que el Programa fue asumido por la Unidad para la Promoción de la Democracia, bajo la coordinación de quien les habla hasta hace un mes.

Creo, señor Presidente, que vale la pena en esta oportunidad hacer una breve reseña de la naturaleza y de los logros del Programa.

En primer lugar, el Programa se caracteriza por ser esencialmente humanitario, porque de lo que se trata es de eliminar las minas antipersonal del suelo centroamericano, que son una amenaza a la seguridad, la tranquilidad y la vida de miles de civiles en los países afectados, así como un impedimento al desarrollo socio-económico de los mismos.

En segundo lugar, es un Programa regional, porque se trabaja coordinadamente en beneficio y apoyo de los 4 países afectados de la región. Todo se hace con una concepción regional.

En tercer lugar, el Programa es multilateral, porque incluye esfuerzos de varios protagonistas: países donantes, países contribuyentes, países afectados, instituciones como la UPD y la JID, esta Comisión y diferentes sectores nacionales.

a) Países contribuyentes son aquellos que han provisto, sin cargo al Programa, supervisores, asesores y equipos especializados. Países en esta categoría son: Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, El Salvador, Estados Unidos, Guatemala y Venezuela.

b) Países donantes son aquellos que han provisto los fondos, aproximadamente $10,000,000 hasta hoy, para las operaciones de apoyo al desminado, y son: Alemania, Gran Bretaña, Canadá, Dinamarca,España, Estados Unidos, Francia, Japón, Noruega y Suecia.

c) Países afectados son: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua, que también proveen equipos, logística, conocimiento del terreno, y los propios zapadores que realizan la tarea más difícil y peligrosa.

d) La JID, por su parte, coordina la supervisión, la asesoría y la verificación técnica de los equipos, el entrenamiento y la metodología de las operaciones.

e) La UPD, a su vez, efectúa la coordinación general del programa, busca los fondos y los administra de acuerdo a las normas de la OEA, y asegura la integridad del programa, o sea que todos sus componentes se encuentren en lugar y funcionando debidamente.

Esto me lleva a la cuarta y última característica del programa:

El PADCA es un programa integral. Es integral porque contempla e incluye todos los componentes que se consideran indispensables para llevar a cabo actividades de Deminado. Entre ellos: — Asesoramiento, supervisión y verificación técnica. — Evacuación aérea y atención médica de emergencia. — Seguros, estipendios y comida para zapadores, su equipamiento y entrenamiento. — Campaña de Prevención e Información Pública. — Rehabilitación de víctimas. — Equipos de perros detectores.

El Mayor General Thompson, Presidente de la JID y el Sr. William McDonough, nuevo Coordinador del PADCA, se referirán más adelante a los desafíos y necesidades futuras, particularmente después del paso del Huracán Mitch, para completar esta tarea humanitaria lo antes posible.

Finalmente, señor Presidente, quisiera destacar con satisfacción algunos logros de PADCA:

En primer lugar, hoy día el PADCA cuenta con Proyectos Nacionales de Desminado en los cuatro países afectados. Estos proyectos luego de dificultades iniciales, están en la actualidad bien instalados, organizados y coordinados, y funcionado con unos 450 zapadores bien equipados, entrenados, operando debidamente. El Programa también cuenta con un centro de coordinación operativa y técnica en Danlí, Honduras, bajo la dirección de un Supervisor internacional designado por la JID.

En segundo lugar, el PADCA cuenta con el reconocimiento y la confianza de la comunidad internacional, o sea de los países contribuyentes y donantes, que han provisto los recursos necesarios para emprender esta tarea humanitaria.

En tercer lugar, con el PADCA se ha creado una muy fluida y productiva relación de cooperación con el JID.

En cuarto lugar, El Programa (y esta es una consecuencia inesperada) ha contribuido también al acercamiento y la cooperación entre los ejércitos de las Américas, así como a un acercamiento entre civiles y militares en los países afectados, como se evidencia con las Comisiones Nacionales de Desminado en Guatemala y Nicaragua.

Y por último, se debe destacar que, hoy día, gracias al tratamiento y prioridad que se le ha dado al tema, gracias al interés y apoyo demostrado por esta Comisión el Consejo Permanente, la Asamblea General, y el propio Secretario General, el tema de Desminado y de Acción contra las Minas, está ineludiblemente instalado en las agendas nacionales de los países afectados y en la agenda interamericana.

Todo esto, Sr. Presidente, creo que son logros considerables, que hacen del PADCA un modelo exitoso de cooperación internacional en beneficio de los Estados Miembros.

Quiero agradecerle, nuevamente por la oportunidad que nos ha brindado de informarles sobre los avances del Programa. Muchas Gracias.

Documento circulado por la UPD

ASSISTANCE PROGRAM IN CENTRAL AMERICA Unit for the Promotion of Democracy Organization of American States

December, 1998

I. Introduction

Mine-clearing in Central America has become a humanitarian task of utmost importance for the region, where thousands of antipersonnel landmines and other explosive devices were indiscriminately sown during the last decade. These devices, most of which were industrially manufactured (although some were homemade) are a deadly trap for the rural population. They cause the loss of human life, cattle, and domestic animals and are a constant threat to the civilian population. They hamper the use of vast and fertile croplands, restrict agricultural development in general, and delay the growth of job opportunities.

Likewise, landmines hinder the proper use and/or expansion of national infrastructure, such as bridges, roads, electrical transmission towers, and hydroelectric plants. For these reasons, the removal of antipersonnel mines is a humanitarian cause as well as a matter of priority and extreme urgency in the search for peace, public security, socioeconomic development, and the consolidation of democracy in the region.

Given the urgency and the importance of the removal of mines for the people of Central America and, at the request of the affected Central American countries--Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua---in 1991 the Organization of American States (OAS) began to lend its support to the mine-clearing efforts made by those countries. Since 1995, under the general coordination and supervision of the Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD), the OAS has developed and made available to those countries the Mine-Clearing Program in Central America (PADCA), with the technical support of the Inter American Defense Board (IADB).

The program is a multinational effort, with participation by donor and contributing countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United States, and Venezuela.

The Unit for the Promotion of Democracy coordinates fundraising within the international community and is responsible for management and accounting of the funds collected. This coordination, both at headquarters and in the affected states, seeks to ensure that all essential components of each national demining project are operating smoothly (evacuation and medical emergency system, equipment, transportation, food, stipends, insurance coverage for both supervisors and sappers, etc.). The UPD also coordinates the public, preventive information campaign to warn the population of the dangers of antipersonnel mines and to provide information on measures to be taken to reduce the risk of accidents.

It should be underscored that the main objective of the UPD, through PADCA, is to support the governments of member states in their efforts to develop national institutional and technical capacity to undertake demining activities.

The Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) is responsible, for its part, for organizing the international team of technical advisers, supervisors, and experts in mine-clearing that carry out the on-site training, provision of technical advice, and supervision of the demining operations. The IADB also participates in the design, implementation, and logistic coordination of the national demining plan in each country, which is executed in specific modules lasting six months. Further the IADB certifies that the mine-clearing operations were carried out with appropriate, reliable means and materials for detection and destruction, reliable search and verification methods, and appropriate safety procedures and standards.

The team of international experts that the IADB has put together is located in Danlí, El Paraíso, Honduras, the point from which consultants and supervisors are dispatched to each of the national demining projects. This international team is made up of national officers of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Venezuela, and the United States--all of them OAS member states--who also provide protective gear and equipment for detecting and destroying mines, at no additional cost to PADCA.

The affected countries make a considerable contribution to each project by providing their sappers to carry out the dangerous and difficult work of demining itself. The respective governments and relevant national institutions also provide material and financial resources according to their capacity, as well as their experience and their knowledge of the region.

Since 1991, the Organization of American States has, through General Assembly resolutions, given its support to consideration of the question of antipersonnel landmines, as reflected in “Support for Mine-Clearing in Central America,” and the political initiative, “The Western Hemisphere as an Antipersonnel-Land-Mine-Free Zone.”

These resolutions acknowledge the commitment by the OAS to promote and make an effective contribution to regional security, complementing and reinforcing efforts to strengthen and maintain international peace and security. By the same token, they acknowledge the support extended by the international community, the General Secretariat, and the Inter-American Defense Board to the mine-clearing program in Central America, and call upon member states and permanent observers, as well as donor countries, to continue supporting the Central American countries both in their efforts to clear their respective territories of antipersonnel land mines and in their programs on preventive education for the civilian population on the danger of mines, the physical and psychological rehabilitation of victims, and the socioeconomic reclamation of demined areas. According to these resolutions, the OAS has set the year 2000 as a target date for completion of demining in Central America.

On the other hand, in keeping with the aforementioned efforts by the Organization of American States to transform the Western Hemisphere into an antipersonnel landmine-free-zone and in recognition of the contribution made in this regard by the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Antipersonnel Land Mines and on Their Destruction, the heads of state and government, gathered for the Second Summit of the Americas, in Santiago, Chile, encouraged action and supported international humanitarian demining efforts, with the goal of ensuring that priority attention would be given to devices that threaten the civilian population and that land would be restored for productive purposes. The latter would take place through effective international and regional cooperation, as requested by the affected states, to survey, mark, map, and destroy antipersonnel mines, effective mine awareness campaigns and assistance to victims, and development and deployment of mine detection and clearance technologies, as appropriate.

II. Coordination and Management Methodology: Operating Modules

The six-month-long operating modules used for demining activities are an important tool for planning, coordinating, and managing the resources needed for these operations. They receive approval by national officials with regard to the resources needed for project execution and, on that basis, petitions for funds go out to the international community and help to ensure clear and transparent resource management and accounting. These modules also serve to associate the demining operations with geographic objectives and to evaluate the successes and advances of each six-month period. The cost of each module varies by country, depending on the unit's size, the area involved, and the ability of the country to contribute to the operations.

Each module is supported by a continuation agreement between the beneficiary government and the UPD/OAS, that includes an operating budget outlining the projected nature and quantity of international funding needed to carry out the module. Each module's budget includes necessary resources for personnel; equipment; food; stipends; insurance; emergencies, prevention, rehabilitation and public prevention campaigns; logistics; management; coordination; and supervision. A detailed description of these items follows:

International supervisors and instructors. The salary, per diem, and travel expenses of the international demining team of the OAS/IADB international team are provided by the sponsoring governments, which provide the experts. Payment of these costs by the corresponding countries represents a considerable financial contribution to PADCA. However, when the officers are obliged to participate in supervisory or advisory missions, locally or regionally, PADCA covers their per diem and travel costs. PADCA also covers complementary medical and accident insurance for members of the international team and local administrative staff.

Equipment and explosives. Equipment includes the tools and materials to detect and locate mines and the safety gear and protective clothing worn by the technicians. Explosives include dynamite and all necessary accessories, such as detonating cords and blasting caps.

Meals. The demining units receive food rations over and above those provided by their respective military installations or public security forces. These supplementary rations are very important to the technicians given the arduous nature of their work and the concomitant stress: six to eight hours a day of work in tropical heat and 40 pounds of gear, in addition to the anxiety of being in a minefield.

Stipends. The sappers receive an additional daily salary bonus because of the high-risk task that they perform. Every 15 days, these funds are paid into individual bank accounts assigned to members of the demining team by a local representative working in the coordination area of the OAS Program. This procedure is meant to assure the international community that this payment is not being made to anyone except those actually engaged in demining activities.

Insurance. Both medical and accident insurance are important components of the Program. PADCA's coordination staff periodically reviews proposals and agreements for medical insurance and treatment for sappers and for international supervisors to verify that coverage is adequate. The Program also makes certain that the existent international financing is sufficient to adequately cover insurance policies and that these are in effect during while the duration of every operating module.

Emergencies/Prevention/Rehabilitation and Public Information Campaign. Spending for this item varies from country to country. However, in every case, the Mine-Clearing Program has an information campaign to make people aware or remind them of the dangers of minefields and mined areas and to provide them with necessary preventive information should they find a mine. In some cases, the Program has provided fuel, lubricants, and spare parts to ensure that ambulances and medical evacuation helicopters can operate in the event of a demining accident. Orthopedic surgery sets have also been provided to reinforce existing medical capabilities.

Logistic Components. To supplement the capabilities of national demining units working in protracted field operations, PADCA provides the resources necessary to ensure mobility, communications, electrical power, and appropriate camping facilities. The mobile communication system, which is operated by the international supervisory team, is an essential safety feature. Not only does it support the operational capability of the demining unit, it is also an important component of the medical evacuation system in the event of an accident.

Management and local supervision. In order to bring together all components, including training, funding, procurement of equipment and various materials, insurance, and all other items associated with the demining operations, PADCA, in conjunction with the OAS national offices, has established a local coordinating mechanism for the Program. It includes personnel, technical equipment, and the operating expenses of a coordinating office (maintenance, services, telephone, fax, vehicles, and the salaries of administrative personnel and drivers).

Management and international supervision. In order to ensure coordination of the efforts made at headquarters with all components at the national, regional, and international levels, UPD and IADB representatives make regular program coordination, review, and accounting visits to the demining sites. These visits provide an opportunity to solve problems and plan subsequent modules.

III. Program Update and Description by Country

Nicaragua. In September 1991, the Government of Nicaragua asked the OAS to help eliminate 116,000 landmines sown on Nicaraguan soil during the 10 years of national conflict. These mines, predominantly antipersonnel mines that had been commercially produced, had been laid along the northern border with Honduras and along the southern border with Costa Rica. A considerable number of mines had also been laid to protect electrical power plants, transmission towers, highway bridges, and strategic materiel storage areas.

In response to the Nicaraguan request, the OAS and the IADB designed a joint, internationally financed demining program for Nicaragua in 1992. The program was launched in 1993, and training, provision of equipment, and supervision for the demining operations took place between March and December 1993. Efforts to support this pilot supervisory program were forced to come to an end in late 1993 when international funding ran out. Nicaraguan authorities pursued the efforts by themselves, with occasional support from technical assistance visits and with equipment replacement. The OAS/IADB Program resumed in 1996 with new international funding in an effort to restore support for the national demining program executed by the Nicaraguan Army.

Currently, the national program has 15 platoons, with approximately 300 people working on four fronts across the country. Two of these fronts receive direct financial and technical support from PADCA, whereas the other two get their financing directly from the international community.

The OAS/IADB project also includes a pilot project for physical and rehabilitation assistance for mine victims and an intensive public information and prevention campaign to inform the population of the dangers of mines and explosive devices in those areas. This has been done by means of presentations by program supervisors and the distribution of teaching aids on the subject.

Nicaraguan government authorities have reported that more than 43,000 mines have been destroyed since the beginning of the program, with about 73,000 mines still to be destroyed. The bulk of these mines (about 50,000) are located in remote areas along the border with Honduras.

Joint Honduran-Nicaraguan Module. At the request of the governments of Nicaragua and Honduras, the OAS/IADB international supervisor team will coordinate a series of operating demining modules to be executed along the border area by the military forces of both countries, in a simultaneous and coordinated effort to enhance efficiency in the use of the resources and to reduce the costs and time associated with these efforts. To this end, a technical team composed of OAS/IADB members and national representatives is examining the border area and reviewing each country's national plans to ascertain what more is needed in each country to reach the goal of making Central America a landmine-free zone as soon as possible.

Honduras. It should be noted that Honduras has no registries of minefields. The mined areas generally lie along the border area with Nicaragua and include trails, storage areas, and security posts used during the past armed conflict in the region. The OAS/IADB program in Honduras began in 1994 with training and equipment supply phases. Demining operations began in September 1995 and have continued uninterruptedly, with a team of sappers (120 soldiers) and 13 international supervisors.

During the six operating modules in Honduras, more than 3,000 landmines have been destroyed in the region and 526 hectares of agricultural land have been rehabilitated for productive use, directly benefiting more than 350 landowners and 2,500 families. Likewise, a significant number of dangerous explosive devices have been removed from the area involved.

Once the demining modules are completed, these lands are handed over to the civilian authorities in solemn ceremonies, thus boosting public confidence in the possibility of returning to agricultural activities. If demining continues at the same pace in Honduras, it is expected that the national program could conclude in 1999, with Module VIII or IX.

Costa Rica. Costa Rica is the smallest of the national projects coordinated by the OAS. Estimates indicate that there are about 2,000 mines in the region. A total of 37 Costa Rican sappers conduct the demining operations under the supervision of two members of the OAS/IADB international team. Even though it is well known that antipersonnel mines in Costa Rica are concentrated in four general areas along the Nicaraguan border, there are no detailed, specific registries of their location. As a result, they are difficult to find and destroy and the process has become much slower and more painstaking and dangerous.

The project's activities have concentrated lately on the expert assessment, localization, and marking of the new suspicious zones, as well as on public awareness and prevention. The detection, probing, and destruction of mines have been temporarily suspended for lack of air evacuation capabilities. This drawback is in the process of being solved thanks to international cooperation and the government's efforts.

This national project is now in Module IV. A total of 57 mines have been destroyed. While the number of mines destroyed may seem small, what it is important is that the inhabitants of these regions have regained their confidence to go back to work the land. The planned date for concluding demining in the country is late 2000.

Guatemala. In this country, PADCA, joining the efforts made by friendly countries and international organizations to help the Guatemalan Government meet the commitments arising from the Agreement on Firm and Lasting Peace, which ended more than 36 years of armed conflict in that country, initiated, in December 1997, the project for implementation of the National Plan for Demining and the Destruction of Explosive Devices.

This national project is the responsibility of the Demining Coordinating Commission of the Congress of Guatemala. Participating actively in the Commission are the Volunteer Firemen's Corps and the Corps of Engineers of the Guatemalan Army, both of which are responsible for implementing activities under the National Plan for Demining and Destruction of Explosive Devices.

The overall objective of this national project is to provide for execution and administration of the National Plan so as to remove from Guatemalan territory landmines and explosive devices that are strewn over much of the country as a result of the armed conflict. The specific objective is to assist in the establishment, training, equipping, and maintenance of a national technical organization and capacity charged with destroying the antipersonnel mines and explosive devices.

Explosive devices (grenades, mortars, bombs, etc.) represent a significant problem in Guatemala, particularly in the north and west of the country--areas that were the scene of a series of armed conflicts. Various estimates have been given of the number of devices that exist in these areas. The national project currently estimates that the number of devices in the process of being destroyed ranges from 5,000 to 8,000. There are no known registries for these affected areas, which are not technically considered to be minefields, in the traditional sense of the word. Guatemalan authorities have provided a list of 125 sites that are most likely considered to have concentrations of explosive devices, which will serve as a reference for search and destroy operations. These devices will be detected in the aforementioned areas with the help of expert assessment, based on the information provided by the locals and former combatants, as a result of the public awareness and information campaigns. Operations will begin in mid-November near the village of Ixcán, in the Department of Quiché.

IV. Expansion of the Program as a result of Hurricane Mitch

All countries of Central America were severely affected by Hurricane Mitch. In addition to the general devastation it produced in the region, it caused a significant disruption of humanitarian landmine removal operations under way in Central America.

In this regard, the Organization of American States, with cooperation from the governments of the affected countries, is studying a way to expand the program for removal of antipersonnel landmines and explosive devices in the region, which is coordinated by the OAS and funded by various donor countries and contributors.

OAS Secretary General Dr. César Gaviria, has made several recent visits to Central America to assess the overall damage to the region and in particular to observe Mitch's impact on the demining efforts the OAS had sponsored since 1993.

Despite the storm damage in Costa Rica and Guatemala, there has been no substantial change in the landmine and explosive device situation in those countries. In Costa Rica, it is hoped that demining operations along the border with Nicaragua will resume shortly with the reestablishment of a helicopter-based medical evacuation capability. The absence of this evacuation capability in recent months had hampered operations in the country. The problem is in the process of being solved through the efforts of PADCA/OAS, the donor community, and the Costa Rican Government. Funding to support this national effort will be available in 1999.

In Guatemala, operations to destroy mines and unexploded ordnance began on November 2, 1998. This national program has sufficient international funding for its operations during the rest of 1998 and through 1999.

The hurricane's effects have been most dramatic in Nicaragua and Honduras, where there is a sense of urgency that demining efforts should be expanded to reduce the public safety hazard of the shifting of landmines from their original positions, which could result in further casualties and stand in the way, inter alia, of the rehabilitation of damaged and destroyed infrastructure, hampering the restoration of public services. Additionally, the hurricane destroyed a substantial portion of Honduras' demining equipment.

In Nicaragua, the forces of nature moved the mines along mountain slopes and riverbeds and added large quantities of mud and debris to an already challenging detection and destruction scenario. It is estimated that there are some 576 target areas in the country yet to be demined. They include border areas, high-tension electrical towers, facilities, bridges, and other structures. As a result of Hurricane Mitch, and because of the new sense of urgency it has brought in its wake, authorities consider these 70 target areas as their top demining priorities, in an effort to rehabilitate roads and repair or replace damaged and destroyed bridges. It is calculated that 73,000 mines must still be destroyed.

It is therefore estimated that the goal of demining Central America by the year 2000 will be deeply affected.

The OAS Mine-Clearing Program in Central America (PADCA) is working with the governments of Honduras and Nicaragua to develop the outline for a revised program to expand operations in 1999 and 2000. While the details of an expanded demining infrastructure have not been finalized, the general thrust of the expansion is to double the capacity coordinated by the OAS in the two countries.

In Honduras, this would mean training, equipping, and supervising four additional platoons (about 120 national sappers). The increased capacity would permit Honduran sappers to simultaneously clear mines along the two remaining stretches of its border with Nicaragua (San Andrés de Bocay and Choluteca).

In Nicaragua the number of demining platoons supervised by the OAS/IADB would double from 8 to 16. This expanded demining capacity would add over 200 Nicaraguan Army sappers to the internationally supervised effort.

The expanded demining operations in Nicaragua and Honduras would require the donor countries to increase their contributions by approximately US $9 million ($9,000,000) over the next two years. This would be in addition to funds already provided by donors to support the PADCA infrastructure, consisting of more than 400 Central American sappers.

Furthermore, 25 to 30 more international supervisors would be needed, over and above those already provided by OAS cooperating member states, which so far have provided military officers who are experts in demining for year-long assignments as supervisors, at no additional cost to the program.

V. Final Comments

It is important to recall that the OAS/IADB Mine-Clearing Program in Central American is essentially a humanitarian program in support of the national efforts of the affected states to strengthen their national capabilities to enable their own institutions to carry out demining activities. In this connection, all affected countries have made significant progress in establishing their capacities and in destroying mines.

The broad participation of the regional and international communities in lending their support to PADCA and the affected countries bears witness to the Hemisphere-wide humanitarian commitment to support demining in Central America so that the Central American region may be free of mines as soon as possible. The OAS General Assembly, at its most recent regular session, held in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1998, sought to reinforce these activities with programs in the affected countries aimed at the rehabilitation of mine victims and the socioeconomic reclamation of demined areas. To that end, relevant studies and international negotiations are under way to obtain necessary financing.

Lastly, the OAS/IADB wishes once again to draw attention to and to acknowledge the invaluable support of the donor and cooperating countries, the Inter American Defense Board, and the beneficiary nations themselves for their contributions, which have been key factors in the Program's success.

APPENDIX II

Briefing by Major General John Thompson President, Inter-American Defense Board

INTRODUCTION

The Demining Assistance Program in Central America has become, in the words of Secretary General Gaviria, a model for other mine clearance programs in the world. However, as we move into the Program’s fifth year of continuous operation since it was reinitiated in Honduras in 1995, we face several important challenges in the near future. Some of these challenges have been created by nature itself, while others are a logical result of a growing desire to expand a successful Program. Our readiness to respond to these challenges is a key theme that I want to emphasize during this presentation.

AGENDA

Today I will cover three broad topics related to the Demining Assistance Program: • First, the advances and progress that have been made in the Program in the past few months, • Second, the impact of Hurricane Mitch on demining efforts throughout Central America, and • Finally, some projections and concerns as we move forward with the Program through this year and the years to come.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

In only the past few months, several important steps have been taken. In September, the leadership of the Mission for Mine Clearance Assistance in Central America (MARMINCA) was transferred from Col. Angel Omar Vivas of the Venezuelan army to Lt. Col. Guillermo Leal of the Colombian army. At the same time, eighteen new supervisors arrived in the Mission and received initial training and preparation for assuming their duties. I am very pleased that our demining effort now includes representatives of the countries of Guatemala and, most recently, Argentina – who have joined Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, the United States and Venezuela in providing officers and noncommissioned officers in support of our efforts.

In June of 1998 at the request of the Government of Guatemala we began training Guatemalan personnel and our demining operations there started in December.

Thanks to the financial backing provided by the United States, we added an important new dimension to the program late in 1998 with the deployment and training of twelve mine detection dogs to the republics of Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua. The incorporation into the demining effort of these dogs and their host country handlers has been both needed and opportune, as they completed their final training in time to be employed in emergency demining operations in response to Hurricane Mitch. The preliminary results of operations using these unique assets have been extremely positive. We believe that the use of dogs will not only improve the pace of demining operations by identifying mined areas more quickly and precisely, but they will also provide a valuable resource in rechecking areas after they have been cleared by sapper units.

RESULTS

By the end of 1998, the OAS/IADB demining program had destroyed nearly 7,000 anti-personnel landmines. The difficulty of this task is best reflected by the fact that for every mine destroyed, about seventeen metallic objects, mostly battlefield remnants and trash, were also found. The painstaking process of identifying mines and distinguishing them from other bits of metal is one of the key demining tasks which we hope to expedite through the use of canine mine detection techniques.

IMPACT OF MITCH

We are all aware of the devastating impact which Hurricane Mitch has had on the nations of Central America. The Secretary General has focused special attention on the recovery needs of the Central American republics, making personal visits to several of the affected countries soon after the passing of the storm. One of his principal areas of concern has been the rehabilitation of the Demining Assistance Program as quickly as possible. Several follow-up visits were made by both the Unit for Promotion of Democracy and the IADB staff, and I also visited Nicaragua and Honduras in early January to make an assessment of the situation with respect to demining operations.

Because of the immediate effects of the storm, operations in each of the countries where we are working were halted for nearly a month, while the governments dealt with immediate storm recovery needs. However, the demining programs in Costa Rica and Guatemala suffered no serious long-term effects because of mitch.

MAP

In the cases of Honduras and Nicaragua, however, demining activities have been more severely affected. Much of this can be explained by the fact that the track of the storm corresponded very closely to the areas with the greatest concentration of mines, principally along the border between Honduras and Nicaragua.

EFFECTS

A considerable amount of demining equipment was lost in Honduras due to flooding of the Rio Coco. Nonetheless, with the replacement of most essential items, Honduran troops have also returned to mine clearance work.

Although there were no major equipment losses in Nicaragua, the effects of Mitch were substantially greater with respect to the mine situation. Indications are that some mines may have been displaced by flooding, increasing the risk of accidents around previously unmined or cleared areas. The diversion of troops, helicopters and other equipment to disaster relief efforts also temporarily paralyzed demining operations. In short, the delays to mine clearing operations and the transformation of the landscape caused by Mitch will result in an increase in the time required to complete the demining program in Nicaragua unless more resources are put into the effort there.

ACTIONS IN NICARAGUA

Cconsidering that Nicaragua is the country where the mine problem has been most significantly exacerbated by Mitch, it has been the primary focus of our efforts to reestablish and reevaluate the demining program.

NICARAGUAN REQUEST

The Nicaraguan Government has asked for our help with three main problems. To eliminate the new hazard of mines from previously mine-free areas and permit relief and reconstruction efforts to go forward, Nicaragua sought to implement an emergency demining plan around numerous bridges and fords along key transportation routes. The Government also requested a reassessment of the entire demining program to determine both resource requirements and new time frames for completion of the Program. The Government also asked the OAS and the IADB to provide planning assistance for the reformulation of both the national demining plan and the OAS/IADB plan for demining assistance.

OAS/IADB RESPONSE

In response to their requests, several steps have been taken to date.

First, an emergency demining plan was implemented to clear numerous bridges and fords of mines, particularly in the northern portion of the country, where relief and reconstruction efforts have been focused. IADB supervisors worked with Nicaraguan troops through the Christmas holidays to ensure that these operations went forward.

Second, a geographic hydrological study has been undertaken to determine the general effects of erosion on the mine situation.

Third, the OAS has approached several key donor countries for additional financial support for an expanded demining effort.

Finally, the OAS, with technical advice from the IADB, has begun the process of modifying its assistance plan for Nicaragua, in conjunction with the effort by Nicaragua to modify their national demining plan.

CHALLENGES

The reassessment of the demining assistance program in Nicaragua and development a new OAS/IADB assistance plan, is a significant task for us, one that will require both careful study on our part and in all likelihood increased resourcing.

However, we face other equally important challenges. If we are to satisfy the Nicaraguan request for expansion of the OAS/IADB program and full international supervision of all demining operations in Nicaragua, we will need as many as twenty to twenty-five more supervisors than are currently assigned to MARMINCA.

Expansion and continuation of the program in Nicaragua will also require significantly greater financial and material resources.

CONCLUSIONS

Let me conclude by summarizing some key points.

First, the IADB continues to work with our counterparts in the OAS to achieve the objective of eliminating the threat of landmines from Central America. We are constantly to make refinements to the Program and to introduce the newest techniques and technologies. From a technical point of view, we believe that these innovations will enhance the already excellent reputation enjoyed by the Program.

Second, it is clear that Hurricane Mitch has had a significant impact on the demining program. As Dr. Gaviria has pointed out, the OAS/IADB program is a successful model of civil-military collaboration and hemispheric cooperation to solve an important humanitarian problem. However, the tragedy of Hurricane Mitch has had an even more negative impact on the existing tragedy caused by anti-personnel landmines in the region. Nicaragua, because it is the nation with the most serious existing landmine problem, is the country whose demining program was most seriously affected by Mitch.

In light of these effects and following a careful reassessment, we will continue planning an expansion of the demining program, particularly in Nicaragua. We will also review how we can improve the Program in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras, adding new operational and technological concepts where appropriate.

APPENDIX III

Remarks by William A. McDonough Coordinator, PADCA

I would like to thank Ambassador Portales and the members of the Hemispheric Security Committee for the opportunity to provide update information on matters relating to land mines in Central America in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 1568. As General Thompson indicated in his presentation, we have now entered our fifth year of continuous operations in the Assistance Program which was designed to help the affected participating countries rid themselves of the effects of this great humanitarian tragedy of 20th Century. I plan to add a few brief comments from a program coordination perspective with emphasis on the proposed expansion of the regional effort and what it will mean for donors, contributors, and participating countries, as well as the OAS and IADB.

The Inter-American Defense Board presentation provides a good, clear picture from a technical perspective on where we are today (especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch). We have also distributed an updated version of the Program’s informative paper. This document describes in further detail the origins, structure and general operating methodology of Assistance Program. We prepared the update in advance of our participation in the Regional Seminar which Canada and Mexico hosted jointly in Mexico City last month. I understand that the Commission will receive a separate report on the matter, but I would like to compliment Canada and Mexico for conducting an important, timely and well organized Seminar. It was a pleasure to participate and was gratifying to hear the OAS/IADB Demining Program recognized as both a model program and a successful Program.

As a continuation of our efforts to assist the Central American countries with the landmine issue, a joint OAS/IADB delegation will be in Nicaragua next week to further refine the details of the international support which will be needed to reformulate its demining program. This is our third trip in as many months. A similar delegation will visit Honduras in the weeks that follow.

I think it is important to point out that the Program is a rather complex organization. Throughout its existence, the Assistance Program for Demining in Central America has functioned very much like a convoy of vehicle, determined to achieve a common goal of a landmine free Central America. Each element in this complex organization (donor, contributor, participant, OAS and IADB) has a certain liberty of movement within the Program, but unless all of the efforts are coordinated, our progress is limited, sporadic and costly. In that regard, as the individual countries work with us to reformulate their plans, we will develop and present the required international financing support plans. Similarly, and with regard to the need for more international supervisors, the Program may require as many as 25 additional representatives from OAS member Nations. Their arrival and incorporation into the Program must be timely and consistent with the formation of new demining units in Nicaragua and Honduras. In an effort to recruit more supervisors, a series of letters have already been forwarded through several channels to Member Nations.

International financing is an important issue. The point made by General Thompson regarding the need for vigorous fund raising is essential. The OAS/IADB Program as it is functioning today requires approximately US 4.2 million per year in operating funds. That figure includes about US$1 million per year in Guatemala, US$1 million in Honduras, US$2 million in Nicaragua and US$200,000 in Costa Rica. Preliminary estimates for the expanded Program indicate a need for approximately US$8 million per year for 1999 and 2000 (twice the current international support level). Beyond the year 2000, we would expect that, with the completion of the national projects in Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica, the annual cost of the Program would return to something on the order of US$4 million per year for the additional time needed to complete demining in Nicaragua. We are currently in dialogue with several of our key donors, and the initial reactions have been very positive.

Although as a final note, and a cautionary one, I should point out that while our cost estimates are grounded in the four years of demining program experience they may be deceptive in one regard. What we have not included, but which appear to be increasingly problematic is the need for additional equipment infrastructure which will likely be beyond the capacity of some participating countries to provide. These major items include additional or replacement helicopters for medical evacuation requirements, additional demining dog resources and the purchase of some improved heavy duty, mechanical mine clearance devices as they become available and it is appropriate to incorporate them into the regional demining efforts.

I’ll stop here, subject to any questions the Committee members might have. Once again, I would like to thank the members of the Committee on Hemispheric Security for their attention, interest and continued support in advancing the demining program as an important regional humanitarian effort.

APPENDIX IV

Ambassador Donald K. Steinberg Presentation to the Mexico City Conference on Landmine Action: “Reaffirming our Commitment” January 12, 1999

Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. I am grateful for the opportunity to address this improtant conference on the topic, “International Cooperation in Landmine Actin.” I want to begin by saluting the organizers of the conferences --the Governments of Mexico and Canada-- for their initiative in bringing together so many officials from OAS governments, iinternational agencies, and non-governmental organizations who have played such a fundamental role in changing the global political landscape on this issue. On behalf of my government, I wish to recognize all of your courabeous efforts to achieve the entry into force of the Ottawa Convention and reiterae my Government’s strongest support for the goal of a world which is mine-safe within the next decade –a goal which the United States is facilitating within its Demining 2010 initiative.

Landmines have been an everyday part of my life for the better part of this decade. I remember traveling with National Security Advisor Anthony Lake to Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, and Angola – five of the world’s most heavily-mined countries – in 1994 when I was serving as President Clinton’s Special Assistant for Africa. In Angola, a country in which a dozen separate armies have laid millions of mines, we visited Kuito, a city that had been destroyed by three decades of civil war.

In a small clinic, we saw a young woman who was giving birth and having part of her leg amputated at the same time. The doctor later told us that this woman was pregnant and had been starving. She went into a grove of mangos to get some fruit, and detonated a landmine that had been planted purposely in the field. The loss of blood had stimulated premature labor, and the doctor told us that it was unlikely that either the mother or the child would survive.

No one who sees such a sight can be immune to the terror of these weapons. Later, when I was named U.S. Ambassador to Angola, I have witnessed for more than three years the daily tragedy of landmines, including more than 80, 000 amputees, hundreds of thousands of displaced persons driven from their homes and fertile fields, and literally millions suffering economic, environmental and psychological degradation. It was for this reason that I was so honored to be named by President Clinton to my current role, giving me the opportunity to build on the outstanding work of my predecessor, Ambassador Rick Inderfurth.

As we discuss international cooperation in mine action, we have much to learn from the success of the movement which came together to being us to where we are today – a coalition of likeminded Governments, NGOs and international agencies. As Canadian Foreign Minister Axworthy stated yesterday, the challenge ahead – which he defined as eliminating the threat of landmines to civilians in the Western Hemisphere as soon as possible and to civilians around the world within the next decade – may be even more daunting than the remarkable challenges overcome in bringing the Ottawa Treaty into force. My Government has dedicated more than $250 million to humanitarian mine action over the past five years, and we will be expanding our efforts to well over $100 million in 1999. I will describe the elements of this assistance later, but I want to stress at the outset that no government, no international agency, and no NGO on its own has the capacity to make more than a small dent on the problem. We must work together.

Coming from conferences held over the past year, including the Washington Conference in May 1998, are a variety of cooperative efforts to which my Government is committed. These include:

• Joint mine awareness programs; • Comprehensive level-one surveys in mine-affected countries; • Creating and maintaining a database of landmines, demining programs, and survivor assistance efforts around the world, especially through the Geneva International Center and James Madison University; • Supporting the U. N. Mine Action Service, the UNDP country projects, and the Norwegian-inspired Mine Action Support Group; • Promoting Mine Action Centers in mine-affected countries, which empower local governments and peoples to address their own problems; • Working with our European Commission colleagues and others to identify a global network of test and evaluation facilities to assess promising demining technology and develop international technology demonstration projects; • Working with out NATO and Partnership for Peace friends to encourage joint mine action projects – indeed, Deputy Special Representative Priscilla Clapp is now in Brussels to encourage these joint efforts; • Supporting survivor assistance efforts, including both the supply of prosthetics and orthotics as well as addressing the psycho-social and other impediments to rehabilitation and reintegration; • Encouraging unilateral steps by non-signatories of the Ottawa Convention that help achieve the goals of that treaty; and • Reviewing types of assistance we can provide to help destroy existing stockpile of mine in countries requesting this help, thereby eliminating the threat of these mines before they ever enter the ground.

On this last point, I salute the commitment of the Nicaraguan Government, announced last week to destroy its existing stocks.

As we work to achieve these objectives, barriers between nations and among governments, international agencies and NGOs must fade away. In Angola, I was proud that the U.S. Embassy was able to fund the demining efforts of the Norwegian People’s Aid, the British HALO Trust, and the German MGM; mines awareness programs of UNICEF, ICRC, Christina Children’s Fund, CARE and the Angolan Government; and survivors’ assistance programs of the German Medicos, the French Handicap International and VVAF. The child whose quality of life is restored by a prosthetic device never asks the nationality of his or her doctor.

Developing new ways around the world to engage the private sector in mine action is a critical part of our effort. We have been working with a number of private partners to pool our creative talents and resources to develop imaginative approaches. I would like to highlight a few of these noteworthy projects as a means of inspiring other Governments to consider similar efforts. First, my Government is supporting the United Nations Association and HDI in their “Adopt a Minefield” program, which is working with the United Nations to fund demining efforts in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia, Croatia, and Mozambique. Already, 100 separate community based organizations in the United States have begun to raise $25,000 or more each to support U. N. and host country efforts to destroy mine fields in these countries.

Second, late last year, DC Comics, the U.S. Defense Department, and UNICEF came together to produce a mine awareness comic book in Spanish, in which Superman and Wonder Woman help teach the children of Central America to identify and avoid contact with these weapons. This is a follow-up to successful comic book produced for the children of Bosnia. The next project in line is a Portuguese-language version for Mozambique and Angola.

Third, the Marshall Legacy Institute has initiated a “Canine Corps” project in collaboration with the Humane Society of the United States, UNDP, DC Comics and the State Department. The Humane Society’s engagement is due, in part, to the fact that whereas landmines harm about 26,000 human beings each year, they also kill as many as ten times that number of animals. This project is designed to expand use of dogs in mine detection efforts in mine-affected countries.

Fourth, our Department of Education is supporting groundbreaking research by the Physicians Against Landmines in research aimed at developing low-cost prosthetics with appropriate technology, especially for children.

Fifth, we are supporting, along with Ted Turner’s United Nations Foundation and the Canadian Government, the rapid production by the VVAF of standardized, high quality level-one surveys in 10 mine-affected countries. This program will provide the framework for planning new strategies, minimizing the impact of landmines, and giving us criteria for measuring the success of mines action projects. This program will also help those countries that have ratified the Ottawa treaty to meet their reporting obligations under Article 7 of the Treaty.

Another exciting initiative is a series of consultation we have launched with major U.S. corporations to encourage them to use portions of their social responsibility funds to address the problems of mines, such as the outstanding rehabilitation efforts of groups like the Landmine Survivors Network.

We are also encouraging these corporations -- as well as government entities, NGOs and other employers -- to institute programs to recruit, train, and mentor survivors of landmine accidents, especially for efforts addressed specifically at mine actions.

These projects are some of the ways in which the United States, working with foreign governments, international agencies, and NGOs, is working to create a synergy among our mutual efforts. In sum the United States Government intends to provide this year more than $100 million for mine actioins, including:

$35 million for mine awareness, mine mapping, and demining assistance to 25 countries under the State Department program;

$34 million for the training of foreign deminers and for mine awareness projects under the Defense Department program;

$18 million for research and development in demining technology;

$10 million in assistance to landmine survivors under the USAID Patrick J. Leahy War Victims Fund; and

Substantial additional funding from Department of State and USAID for projects associated with the repatriation of refugees and displaced persons.

I would be remiss if I did not pay tribute here to the leadership of Senator Patrick Leahy and his legislative assistant , Tim Rieser, who have done so much to raise public awareness in the United States and generate this level of financial support.

In the Western Hemisphere, U.S. efforts have concentrated on Central America, where we have provided about $8 million in assistance over the past years, working through the OAS Mission for Mine Clearance in Central America and the Inter-American Defense Board, and the World Rehabilitation Fund in El Salvador.

Today, I am pleased to outline my Government’s intention to fund additional projects in the Western Hemisphere in fiscal year 1999, pending consultations with the U.S. Congress. In Central America, we intend to provide another $4 million to assist the effort to make this a “mine-safe” region as soon as possible, especially in the wake of the devastation created by Hurricane Mitch. This assistance comes on the top of the $300 million provided by my Government in emergency relief over the past three months. Working with MARMINCA and the IADB, we will provide additional training, technical assistance, logistical support, medical and communications assistance, and mine awareness programs in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica.

In Peru and Ecuador, my Government intends -- as a guarantor nation of the peace accords -- to allocate substantial resources to begin demarcation and demining work along the border. Pending the results of an assessment team that will travel to the region within the next few weeks, we are prepared to provide both short-term assistance associated with the star-up of this operation and long-term training assistance.

Throughout this hemisphere – from Central America tot he Peru-Ecuador border -- men and women of good will and great courage are putting behind them years and even decades of civil strife. The United States will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these brave people as they stand up for peace and national reconciliation. We urge all our fellow OAS partners here today to make a similar commitment of direct assistance for those mine action efforts.

I want to conclude with a few words about our anti-personnel landmine (APL) policy. You are all familiar with the compelling reasons identified by my Government for not signing the Ottawa Convention. I hope you are equally familiar with the efforts we are taking to eliminate antipersonnel landmines and find alternatives.

Since 1996, the United States has destroyed 3.3 million onon-self-destructing APL -- all of our long-lived APL except those needed for defense in Korea and training.

We have pledged to end the use of all APL outside Korea by 2003.

We are aggressively pursuing the objective of having APL alternatives ready for Korea by 2006.

We are also aggressively pursuing alternatives to our mixed anti-tank systems, which are covered by the Ottawa Convention.

We are expanding our research not only to seek alternatives, but to redefine military strategies to eliminate the need for APLs.

We are committed to transparency on landmine issues, and are proud to be among the only countries meeting their reporting obligations under the OAS resolutions and other international organs.

Let me assure you that the United States will remain in the forefront of the struggle to eliminate the threat to civilians from anti-personnel landmines. When it comes to reaffirming our commitment to an anti-personnel landmine safe world, as we used to say in Angola: “Estamos Juntos.” Muito obrigado, gracias and thank you.

APPENDIX V

Presentación por el Representante Permanente de México ante la OEA Embajador Claude Heller

MÉXICO-CANADÁ

SEMINARIO REGIONAL SOBRE MINAS TERRESTRES ANTIPERSONAL “ASUMIENDO NUESTRO COMPROMISO”

CONCLUSIONES DE LOS RELATORES

Partiendo del compromiso contenido en la Convención de Ottawa de 1997 sobre la Prohibición del Uso, Almacenamiento, Producción y Transferencia de Minas Antipersonal y sobre su Destrucción, México y Canadá, con el apoyo de la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA) y de la Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS), convocaron un Seminario Regional sobre Minas Antipersonal en la Ciudad de México el 11 y 12 de enero de 1999.

La inauguración a cargo de los Cancilleres de México y Canadá, Embajadora Rosario Green y Señor Lloyd Axworthy, con la participación del Secretario General de la OEA, Dr. César Gaviria, del Director General de la OPS, Dr. George Alleyne, y de la Embajadora de la Campaña Internacional para la Prohibición de Minas Terrestres (ICBL), Sra. Jody Williams, estableció el marco de referencia de dinámicas y frustíferas discusiones. El Seminario reunió a representantes de gobiernos y de organizaciones no gubernamentales del Hemisferio, así como de organismos e instituciones internacionales y los principales países donantes.

Este Seminario constituyó la primera reunión de este tipo desde la firma de la Convencnión de Ottawa, brindando a los países del hemisferio la oportunidad de reafirmar su compromiso con la completa y eficaz puesta en práctica de la Convención, de cara a su próxima entrada en vigor (1 de marzo de 1999) y con vistas a la primera Reunión de los Estados Partes que se celebrará en Maputo, Mozambique del 3 al 7 de mayo de 1999.

México, Canadá y la OPS firmaron un Memorándum de Entendimiento sobre un Programa Conjunto para la Rehabilitación de Víctimas de Minas en Centroamérica. La ejecución del Programa comienza de inmediato.

Los participantes en el Seminario reconocieron en forma unánime los logros alcanzados en materia de desminado en Centroamérica, así como el carácter pionero de éstos, y pusieron énfasis en la contribución significativa de la OEA y de un grupo de países donantes para este propósito. Reconocieron la necesidad de intensificar estos esfuerzos, en vista de los retrocesos que se han producido como resultado del Huracán Mitch.

Los participantes acogieron también con beneplácito el anuncio que hicieron Ecuador y Perú sobre el inicio de actividades de levantamiento de minas a lo largo de su frontera, como resultado de su reciente acuerdo de paz. Asimismo, tomaron nota de su solicitud de asistencia por parte de la región, y en general, de respaldo a sus esfuerzos bilaterales.

De los dos días de intensos intercambios de opiniones en el Seminario permiten destacar, inter alia, las siguientes conclusiones:

• Se insta a los Estados de la región que aún no lo han hecho a firmar la Convención como contribución esencial al objetivo de hacer del hemisferio una zona libre de minas antipersonal.

• La pronta ratificación de la Convención es indispensable para alcanzar el reto de la puesta en práctica de sus disposiciones.

• Se exhorta a los Estados que aún no lo han hecho a ratificar la Convención antes de la reunión de Maputo.

• Nuestra meta es la de conseguir la universalidad de la Convención.

• Se insta a los Estados signatarios a no realizar actos que puedan ir en contra del fin y del espíritu de la Convención.

• La Convención es aplicable en toda circunstancia y no sólo al término de un conflicto armado.

• Se hace un llamado a todos los Estados a actuar con transparencia, mediante el recurso a mecanismos tales como:

 La presentación de informes anuales al Registro de la OEA;  El cumplimiento de lo dispuesto en el Artículo 7 de la Convención de Ottawa, incluyendo a los no signatarios en forma voluntaria;  La adopción de medidas unilaterales, tales como moratorias de producción y transferencias;  Apoyar o contribuir a las actividades de monitoreo de la ICBL (los investigadores están actualmente trabajando en informes sobre: Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador y Guatemala.

• Se reconoció que la destrucción de existencias de minas constituye una acción para prevenir el uso de minas.

• Se insta a todos los Estados a destruir sus existencias de minas.

• Se recomienda la adopción de estrategias nacionales para resolver los problemas existentes, en consulta con todos los sectores de la sociedad.

• Se reconoció que es imperativo contar con un enfoque integral para la asistencia de las víctimas de minas antipersonal. • La falta de recursos no debe ser considerada como un impedimento para cumplir con las obligaciones de la Convención. Los Estados deben solicitar o proporcionar, según el caso, la asistencia necesaria, al amparo del artículo 6 de la Convención.

• La colaboración entre gobiernos, organizaciones no gubernamentales y organismos internacionales es un medio esencial para alcanzar los objetivos de la Convención, y, en particular, para generar la cooperación internacional que se requiere para el pleno cumplimiento de las obligaciones asumidas.

• Las siguientes medidas concretas fueron reconocidas como medios claros para contribuir al avance de la agenda en materia de minas en el hemisferio:

 Nicaragua: anuncio de su intención de destruir todas sus minas almacenadas en marzo de 1999.  Perú y Ecuador: Desminado de su frontera, en congruencia con el Acuerdo de Paz de 1998.  Antigua y Barbuda: Compromiso de ratificar la Convención antes de la reunión de Maputo.  Estados Unidos: Compromiso de eliminar todas las minas emplazadas por Estados Unidos alrededor de la Base de Gunatánamo en Cuba al término de 1999 y anunció un incremento de sus contribuciones para el desminado.  Estados Unidos y Canadá: Proporcionarán asistencia a Ecuador y Perú para el desminado.

• Se estimó que debe fortalecerse el papel de la OEA, en colaboración con las Naciones Unidas, con vistas a una mejor utilización de los recursos con que cuenta la comunidad internacional.

• Se reconoció el papel global del Centro para la Acción en Materia de Minas de las Naciones Unidas como punto de referencia para canalizar los esfuerzos de los donantes.

El seminario reiteró el compromiso del hemisferio de mantener la voluntad política necesaria para instrumentar la agenda en materia de minas.

EMBAJADOR CLAUDE HELLER EMBAJADORA JILL SINCLAIR RELATOR POR PARTE DE MÉXICO RELATORA POR PARTE DE CANADÁ

APPENDIX VI

PRESENTATION BY RENATA E. WIELGOSZ COUNSELLOR, ALTERNATE REPRESENTATIVE OF CANADA ON THE OTTAWA CONVENTION AND ITS PROMOTION AT THE LANDMINES SEMINAR HELD IN MEXICO CITY ON JANUARY 11-12, 1999

Canada shares Mexico’s satisfaction with the good turnout and the high quality of participation both from throughout the Hemisphere and from donor countries – bringing together representatives from government, key international organizations and civil society – at the Landmines Seminar which we co-hosted in Mexico City on January 11th and 12th.

The level of participation certainly showed that our region continues to attract and maintain sustained interest in the Ottawa process one year after the signing of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.

It is important that we keep up the momentum and the commitment that we have demonstrated, as these are the means whereby we will be able to meet the provisions of the Convention for effective mine action.

Signing the Convention was only the first step and perhaps the easiest. In record time, we reached the 40 ratifications required to trigger the Entry into Force process. Less than one month from now – on March 1, 1999 – the Convention will enter into force and become international law with over 130 signatories of which to date over 60 have completed ratification.

As seen clearly in the discussions at the Landmines Seminar in Mexico City, now we must focus on the more difficult steps, namely implementation and universalization of the Convention. In this regard, it is Canada’s hope that as many countries as possible will ratify the Convention before the First Meeting of States Parties in Maputo, Mozambique scheduled for the first week of May 1999.

At the Landmines Seminar in Mexico City, Minister Axworthy challenged us to arrive in Maputo with our ratification process and reaffirming our commitment to a global ban on ant-personnel mines.

As a region, we are halfway there. I am pleased to confirm that 16 OAS member states have now ratified the Ottawa Convention – with Barbados and El Salvador depositing their instruments of ratification sine the Landmines Seminar in Mexico City. I would like to think that the Landmines Seminar had something to do with these latest ratifications.

On a personal note, taking to heart the strong message that emerged from the Landmines Seminar that countries that have ratified the Convention should adopt a country that has not yet ratified or not signed and proceed to “flog” it – I promptly assailed Ambassador Granillo of El Salvador with results more rapid that I had ever hoped for when embarking on my friendly attack. Based on that experience, I urge each of you whose country has ratified the Convention to respond to the Landmine Seminar’s call by adopting as your personal cause a member state that has not yet ratified or not yet signed.

After all, we are halfway there in our region – but by the same token we still have halfway to go. With ratification procedures underway in many other member states, we expect to see the numbers increase over the coming months. Nevertheless, we are concerned over the delays in ratification in a region that has shown so much interest in this issue.

Concern over delays led to another message that emerged clearly at the Landmines Seminar and which I would like to reiterate here today. Namely, should countries require assistance with their ratification process – help is available.

• The UN has prepared documents explaining how countries can deposit their instruments of ratification.

• The ICRC has produced a ratification kit in several languages, including Spanish.

• Canada also has information on how countries ratify and we are ready to help countries in the Hemisphere who require and request assistance.

Meanwhile, regardless of whether countries have already been able to sign or to ratify the Convention, there are many steps which all can take to promote the mine action agenda. As reflected in the Summary of Conclusions from the Landmines Seminar which Mexico and Canada are tabling as a Permanent Council document, these steps include:

• The destruction by countries of their landmine stockpiles is imperative. The Convention views the destruction of stockpiles as preventative mine action – because a mine destroyed is a mine that will never again kill or maim a human being or an animal. For the reason, the destruction of stockpiles emerged as a matter of urgency and the highest priority in the discussions at the Landmines Seminar in Mexico. Assistance with stockpile destruction is available. For example, in our region Canada is working with Nicaragua on anti-personnel mine stockpile destruction by providing technical expertise.

• Another step that all countries can take is to provide support for humanitarian operations, mine clearance and victim assistance. Any efforts in this regard, even within the most limited resources, are helpful. Again, countries requiring assistance should not hesitate to bring forward their requests for help and they should not delay ratification of the Ottawa Convention because of concerns that on their own they will be unable to meet its deadline for demining. Help is available.

• In addition, all member states, including non-signatories of the Ottawa Convention, can contribute to the OAS Landmines Register, to the Landmine Monitor and under Article 7 of the Convention.

It is our hope that these concrete steps, which are in keeping with the spirit of the Ottawa Convention, will move us closer toward our shared goal of the Western Hemisphere becoming a Landmine-Free Zone. For this reason, my delegation would propose that the Committee on Hemispheric Security give consideration to such steps in a follow-up resolution for this year’s General Assembly.

With the goal of a Western Hemisphere Landmine-Free Zone in mind, we need to redouble the efforts of the OAS in Central America where Hurricane Mitch has complicated and slowed down our demining objectives. We also need to be ready to support future involvement in South America – as we have seen with the peace agreement between Peru and Ecuador and the highly welcomed joint statement by these two countries at the Landmines Seminar.

Finally, as concerns the tripartite agreement, which was signed at the Landmines Seminar by the Pan American Health Organization, Mexico and Canada – I am pleased to report that the work-planning mission in Central America is currently ongoing and that it is making good progress. We hope that this tripartite cooperation will serve as a useful model both in our own region and for consideration by other regions.

Before closing, I would like to mention that my delegation is circulating copies of two documents here today. The first is entitled “One Year Later: The Ottawa Convention is Making a Difference”. It was prepared for the one-year celebrations in December of the signing of the Convention and was also distributed at the Landmines Seminar in Mexico City. You will notice that this document is already becoming somewhat dated – this is a good thing as it reflects that we are making progress. The other document describes Canada’s contribution to mine action and outlines some of Canada’s newest mine action initiatives. This document is not all encompassing and does not make many references to our support of efforts in this hemisphere. However, I offer it to you for the examples it contains of the kinds of cooperation that are possible and that are being pursued outside our region.

Document circulated by the Delegation of Canada

ONE YEAR LATER: THE OTTAWA CONVENTION IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE

On December 3, 1997, 122 states joined Canada in signing the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction. That the ‘Ottawa Convention’ was negotiated in less than one year and will enter into force faster than any disarmament Convention negotiated in history is a testament to the determination of the citizens of the world to address the humanitarian crisis caused by landmines. The Ottawa Convention is a major achievement, but it is just the beginning. In the words of Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs the “real test of success for the Ottawa Convention will be the degree to which it makes a difference in the lives of those who must live with the threat of landmines everyday”. One year after the signature of the Ottawa Convention the following report tries to answer the question: Are we making a difference?

UNIVERSALIZING THE BAN CONVENTION

The Ottawa Convention has now been signed by 133 countries and ratified by 52. Two thirds of the world’s nations have made the decision to ban this weapon.

With each new signature and ratification, another country assumes the responsibility of destroying mines on its own territory as well as supporting mine clearance and victim assistance in mine affected states.

The Ottawa Convention is establishing a new international norm against the use of anti-personnel mines. Even states which have yet to sign the convention such as Russia, China and the United States have taken positive steps to bring an end to the global landmine crisis. The political will to assist in mine clearance is also growing rapidly.

One of the most important features of what has become known as the Ottawa Process was a high degree of cooperation between governments and civil society organizations supportive of the ban. This unique coalition remains strong. Over the past year governments and civil society organizations have hosted a range of regional conferences in Russia, Jordan, Thailand, Hungary and Yugoslavia to press for the early ratification and universalization of the Ottawa Convention. Each of these conferences has yielded concrete results – more ratifications, more signatories, stronger public awareness of the landmine issue, and more pressure on the holdouts to join the ban.

DESTROYING STOCKPILED MINES

Over 11 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed by 15 countries since the beginning of the Ottawa Process in 1996. These mines will never take a life or limb.

Article IV: Destroy all stockpiled mines within 4 years.

Mines are vastly cheaper to destroy when they are still on the shelf than once they have been laid in the ground. The global mine clearance effort will be wasted if these stockpiles find their way into the ground. That is why stockpile destruction is as an important part of mine action.

Though the Convention does not enter into force until March 1, 1999, a number of signatory states have either destroyed their mines, as Canada did last year, or are in the process of destroying stockpiles such as South Africa, United Kingdom, France, Hungary, and Belgium. More signatories are planning stockpile destruction such as Namibia, Zimbabwe, Romania, Thailand, and Cambodia. Even non-signatory states like Russia, Ukraine, and the United States have begun to destroy their mines.

CLEARING MINED LAND

10 donor countries have initiated 98 new mine action programs in 25 countries in the past 12 months.

Article V: Destroy all mines in mined areas within 10 years.

Donors such as Canada, Norway, the European Union, the United States and Japan have mobilized significant new resources to establish programs in Bosnia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Angola, Croatia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ecuador, Honduras, Laos, Jordan, and Yemen.

Not only has the number of mine action programs increased, but they are also being undertaken more systematically and with better record-keeping. The effectiveness of mine clearance is greatly reduced if it is not done according to priorities and standards, with accurate records, and accompanied by effective mine awareness campaigns. In addition, more resources than ever are supporting technological innovation to improve the speed, efficiency and safety of mine clearance operations.

We should not judge the success of mine clearance by the sheer number of mines destroyed. The important and relevant statistic is that the highest possible proportion of priority areas – the places where people live and work – are cleared.

Survey work is the best way to ensure that mine clearance resources are dedicated to the neediest places where the impact will be highest. In the last year, a consortium of non-governmental organizations known as the Survey Contact Group teamed up with the UN system to establish standard procedures as well as a strategic approach to survey the most mine affected states as quickly as possible.

REDUCING NEW MINE CASUALTIES AND ASSISTING VICTIMS

The number of new mine victims is decreasing in many mine affected states.

Article VI: Assist the care, rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration of mine victims and support mine awareness programs.

The number of new mine victims is decreasing in many states. In Bosnia, monthly incidents in 1998 dropped from 90 to 18, in Cambodia incidents have dropped from 230 per month in 1996 to 100 per month in 1998, in Nicaragua in 1998 there were only 2 deaths. Mozambique and the Middle East have also shown great progress. This progress has been realized through the onerous and time-consuming process of mine clearance, but also through more cost effective and targeted programs of mine awareness and minefield marking.

Some challenges remain. We cannot single out mine victims for support in countries where people are likely to be disabled from polio or other diseases and where public health structures are often strained to provide the most basic treatments. Even more important, increased emphasis needs to be placed on the reintegration of survivors into social and economic life: the number of prosthetics created in a program is an insufficient indicator of success. The international community is establishing goals and standards for victim’s assistance, through the Berne Manifesto, which should improve the delivery of programming in this area.

REDUCING THE TRADE IN MINES

There are fewer than 10 mine-producing countries that do not support a comprehensive moratorium or de facto ban on the export of anti-personnel mines.

Almost all traditional exporters of mines have ceased these activities – the once-flourishing trade in mines has all but vanished.

Article I: States Parties will never under any circumstances develop, produce, transfer or use mines.

Since the Second World War, more than 50 countries have been producers of anti-personnel mines. Today, less than half that many countries continue to produce mines and most of these states have agreed not to export the mines they produce. Even countries that have not signed the Ottawa Convention – such as Russia, China and the United States – have instituted moratoria on the export of all or certain types of mines. This is the best evidence that a norm has been established which is challenging all states to curtail their involvement with mines.

INCREASING RESOURCES FOR MINE ACTION

When the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance was established in 1994 only a handful of countries were donors. Today 37 countries have made contributions.

Article VI: States Parties in a position to do so shall provide assistance for mine clearance and related activities.

More donors are engaged in mine action than ever before. They are collaborating in joint ventures and through multilateral institutions, and coordination has become a priority. Canada and Norway have together developed joint-venture projects in Jordan, Bosnia and Nicaragua. The UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Clearance supported $126M worth of mine action projects in 1998 alone. Other major donors are contributing to mine action bilaterally, such as the European Union and the USA. In addition, the Princess Diana Fund, the Turner Fund, the Slovenian Trust Fund, and others offer an opportunity to increase contributions through matching funds. Even countries that are not traditional donors to mine action, such as Vietnam and China, are supporting mine action through in-kind contributions of personnel, equipment, and facilities. Meanwhile, we continue to work to encourage the international financial institutions, as well as some regional organizations, to support mine action with increased resources, thus creating a solid network of donors worldwide.

The United Nations system has transformed its approach to mine action. Before the Convention was signed, mine action was the purview of a range of different UN agencies and even different departments within the Secretariat. Today the UN Mine Action Service performs a coordination role within the UN system, which increases transparency and information sharing with donors, mine affected communities, and NGOs.

The UN was not the only organization to recognize the importance of coordination: donors have coalesced around Mine Action Support Group in New York, NGOs have created organizations such as Landmine Monitor, to monitor compliance with the Convention through a widely-published annual report, and the Survey Contact Group to bring clarity and consistency to the management of level 1 surveys. Mine action centres are working in the field to coordinate civilian, commercial and military deminers, and national governments are working with the range of actors internationally and locally to implement national mine action strategies in as efficient a way as possible.

CHALLENGES

If the story of mine action in the first year of the Convention is positive, we must temper our satisfaction with an acceptance that we still face many difficult challenges. Most notably, new mines are reportedly being laid in Angola and in Kosovo. Some challenges to which donors should focus their energy in the coming year include improving the speed with which funds are transferred to the field. Implementing agencies cannot deliver adequate programs when their funding is delayed the bureaucratic processes of donors. If we are truly serious about wanting to address the humanitarian emergency caused by mines we must give sufficient resources, preferably with multi-year commitments, to our implementing partners within reasonable time frames. We can also improve coordination between implementing agencies, donors, and governments. A variety of mechanisms for dialogue may exist, but making good use of these facilities will be a great challenge. Finally, the collection of adequate statistical information, particularly concerning victims, remains a major challenge for all parties engaged in mine action. The better we understand the problem, the better we can direct our resources to where they are most needed.

CANADA’S CONTRIBUTION TO MINE ACTION

The Prime Minister’s announcement of a $100 million fund to support the implementation of the Ottawa Convention last December was the latest, and certainly most generous, initiative in a history of Canadian involvement in mine action which dates back to 1983.

Canada, through CIDA, has supported mine clearance since 1993 when over $2 million was disbursed through multilateral channels to Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Laos, and El Salvador. Contributions of this magnitude continued annually with a peak in 1996 when $5.6 million was disbursed, over $1 million of which was dedicated to Bosnia.

The Department of National Defence has a similar tradition of mine action which dates as far back as 1983 when engineers cleared mines around a bridge in Cyprus. In 1989-90 Canadian Forces (CF) provided mine awareness training for Afghanistan refugees, and in 1992 engineers cleared unexploded ordnance to create a demilitarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait. The Canadian Forces were helping clear mines in Rwanda in 1994 and have been conducting mine awareness training for CF troops and refugees as part of many peace support operations, including Croatia, Bosnia, and Somalia. Canadian military engineers have also been instrumental in setting up Mine Action Centres in Cambodia and Bosnia. That commitment continues today with contingents of seven Canadian technical advisors in the Cambodia Mine Action Centre, and five technical advisors with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre.

The majority of the projects so far established under the $100 million have been undertaken or developed in partnership of some kind. Canada is cooperating with Norway, Jordan and Israel on a mine clearance program in the Jordan Valley. In Mozambique, Canada is working with the Canadian Auto Workers, a partnership, which, through matching funds, has doubled our contribution there to mine clearance. In Guatemala, Canada is partnering with Israel on rehabilitation. In Bosnia, we have partnered with Norway to finance insurance for military deminers: a project neither country could have undertaken alone and which has effectively doubled the number of deminers working in the field. In Central America, Canada, together with Mexico, is working with the Pan American Health Organization to develop community based rehabilitation programs. These partnerships at the donor level are complemented by partnerships at the implementation level where the majority of our projects are implemented by either the UN or non-governmental organizations, or both. Another project, the Canadian Landmine Action Fund, is designed to stimulate awareness, raise funds, and give the public the opportunity to support worthy mine action projects. What follows are highlights of project commitments under the Canadian Landmine Fund.

CANADA’S NEWEST MINE ACTION INITIATIVES

Croatia

A contribution of $100K to Croatia’s Mine Action Centre which will support mine clearance and marking of mine fields as well as the deployment of mine detection dogs.

Chad

A contribution of $100K to Mine Action Centre for survey equipment and funding for a technical expert to run and operate the database system with a view to starting a level 1 survey.

Jordan

Canada, Norway and Israel are working together in support of Jordanian demining efforts in the Jordan Valley. Canada is contributing $300K to this effort.

Kosovo

A contribution of $950K to the UN Mine Action Service in support of a preliminary assessment mission in Kosovo, in response to reports from UNHCR and UNICEF that mines are interfering with returns of internally displaced people and with the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The mission will concentrate on gathering information but also capable of mine clearance and mine awareness.

Mozambique

A contribution of $100K to support UNDP’s accelerated demining program involving training in survey, personnel, and database management. Canada is also engaged in a joint program with Canadian Auto Workers for mine clearance, victim assistance and advocacy, working with local and international NGOs. Canada is contributing $225K to this $1.25M project in matching funds with CAW.

Ukraine

Signature in October this year of a protocol agreement between Canada and Ukraine to work together on stockpile destruction.

Yemen

A contribution of $950K to the UN Mine Action Service to support the conduct of a level 1 survey to set national priorities for mine action. Canada is also working with Med-Eng and ADRA/Canada to buy $100K of protective gear for Yemen’s deminers.

 

 

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