Factsheet on Landmines & UXO

  1. The Landmine Threat
  2. Severely Mine-Affected Countries
  3. Donor Contributions
  4. Five Pillars of Mine Action
  5. Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction
  6. Mine Clearance
  7. Mine-Risk Education (MRE)
  8. Victim/Survivor Assistance
  9. Stockpile Destruction
  10. Definitions

1. The Landmine Threat

Landmine and unexploded ordnance* contamination still affects 57 countries and four political units (territories that aren’t recognized internationally as independent), with five additional countries having suspected contamination. Millions of people living in these areas are vulnerable to these uncleared landmines and unexploded ordnance. Of the 66 affected countries and political units, 61 are signatories to the Ottawa Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (as of September 2010).

As of 2010, roughly 3,000 km2 (741,316 acres) of global landmass remain contaminated by landmines. One person is injured or killed by a landmine every 15 minutes. Besides the bodily harm that landmines inflict on innocent civilians, contamination also inhibits development. Land contaminated with mines and UXO cannot be used for farming or other agricultural practices, nor can roads and other infrastructure be constructed on the land. Even the most basic survival activities, such as collecting water and firewood, can be threatened when land is contaminated.

*Bombs, grenades, and other munitions that failed to detonate but still remain a threat

2. Severely Mine-Affected CountriesSeverely Affected Countries

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Cambodia
  • Chad
  • Colombia
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Lao PDR
  • Somalia
  • Vietnam

3. Donor Contributions

The U.S. Department of State reports that the United States contributed US$2.6 billion to 95 countries for humanitarian mine action and conventional weapons destruction programs from 1993-2015.

Top mine action donors (as of 2015): United States, European Commission, Japan, Norway, and The Netherlands

U.S. Department of State annual contributions (2015): US$154 million

U.S. Department of Defense annual contributions (2015): US$10.9 million

4. Five Pillars of Mine Action

1. Advocacy to universalize the Ottawa Convention

2. Assistance to landmine survivors/victims

3. Clearance of mined areas

4. Mine-risk education

5. Stockpile destruction 

5. Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction

In 1997, 122 states gathered in Ottawa, Canada for a Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction otherwise known as the Mine Ban Convention. On 18 September 1997 at the Convention, they signed a declaration that would later be known as the Ottawa Treaty. Under the Ottawa Treaty, States Parties agree to:

  • never use anti-personnel mines, nor to "develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer" them
  • destroy mines in their stockpiles within four years of the treaty becoming binding
  • clear mines in their territory, or support efforts to clear mines in mined countries, within 10 years
  • in mine-affected countries, conduct mine awareness and ensure that mine victims are cared for, rehabilitated and reintegrated into their communities
  • offer assistance to other state parties, for example in providing for survivors or in clearance programs
  • adopt implementation measures (such as national legislation) in order to ensure that the terms of the treaty are upheld in their territory.

As of October 2010, there were 156 States Parties (nation states that are bound by the Convention) and another two soon to be ratified. These 156 signatories make up 80% of the world’s countries.

37 countries, with a combined stockpile of some 160 million anti-personnel mines, remain outside of the Mine Ban Convention. China, Russia and the United States hold the largest stockpiles of mines in the world and are not party to the treaty.

6. Mine Clearance




Cost to produce each landmine Cost to safely detect and remove each landmine

Currently, there are approximately 600 different models of landmines.

According the Landmine Monitor’s 2010 Report, Afghanistan has cleared the largest amount of mined land (52.29km2), followed by Cambodia (44.73km2)

More than 292,000 landmines (255,000 of which were antipersonnel mines) were destroyed within 198 km2 of land in 2009. The Landmine Monitor claimed that 2009’s amount of cleared land was the highest annual total that they ever recorded.

Recently there have been many creative methods used to clear mines: manual, mechanical, biosensors (dogs, rats, bees, goats, pigs).

7. Mine-Risk Education (MRE) 

Mine Risk Education is defined by the UN as “activities which seek to reduce the risk of death and injury from mines and ERW, including unexploded sub-munitions by raising awareness and promoting safe behaviour.”

Mine-risk education programs have been expanded in many countries. Better integration of MRE with clearance and other mine-action activities has proven to be successful in mine-affected communities.

MRE activities took place in 57 countries in 2008.

8. Victim/Survivor Assistance

26 States Parties have been identified as having significant numbers of mine survivors. Afghanistan, Colombia, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Pakistan, Myanmar and Somalia currently have the highest numbers of victims and survivors.

At the Ottawa Convention's First Review Conference in Nairobi in 2004, it was acknowledged that all states have a responsibility to assist mine survivors.

Many survivors do not have access to some of the most basic needs: food security, access to water, adequate housing, roads, a way to earn an income, healthcare, and access to the lifelong rehabilitation services that many need. Additionally, nearly a third of all survivors are children. Mine survivors and other persons with disabilities are among the most impoverished groups in every society.

9. Stockpile Destruction

86 States Parties have finalized destruction of their stockpiles and four more have taken steps to do so. These efforts combined have destroyed approximately 44 million antipersonnel mines.

Non-States Parties including China have destroyed additional quantities of stockpiled anti-personnel mines. There are five States Parties to the Mine ban Treaty that continue to hold more than 11 million antipersonnel mines in stockpiles. Non-signatories stockpile over 160 million anti-personnel mines, the majority of which belong to China, Russia, and the United States.


States not party to the mine ban treaty (Landmine Monitor 2010) :

North Korea
South Korea

Saudi Arabia
Sri Lanka
United Arab Emirates (UAE)


Anti-personnel (AP) mine: Designed to kill, wound, or obstruct personnel. They are victim-activated or command detonated.

Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) or Ottawa Convention/Mine Ban Treaty (MBT): Provides for a complete ban on the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines (APMs) and on their destruction.

Anti-tank (AT) mine: A mine that is designed to disable or destroy vehicles and tanks. The explosive can be activated by many types of fuse mechanisms normally by pressure, tilt rod, influence or command detonated.

Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW): The 1980 agreement regulates the use in armed conflict of certain conventional arms deemed to cause excessive suffering to combatants or indiscriminate harm to civilian populations. The U.S. is a signatory to the CCW, including its Amended Protocol II. A new Protocol V covering Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) is to go into force 12 November 2006.

Explosive Ordnance (EO): Munitions that contain explosives, nuclear fission or fusion material, or biological and chemical agents. Includes bombs, warheads, missiles, artillery, mortar, small arms ammunition, mines and more.

Explosive Remnants of War (ERW): Any explosive or dangerous ordnance that is left over from conflict.

Humanitarian Demining: The safe, effective and cost-efficient clearance of landmines from land and coastal areas in order that life can return to normal.

IED: Improvised explosive device; the media often refers to IEDs as "roadside bombs."

Mine-risk Education (MRE): Programs to assist populations in dealing with landmines until mines can be removed. Teaches detection, identification, marking, avoidance, reporting, mapping, rudimentary extrication and first-aid skills.

Nongovernmental Organization (NGO): An organization that is not part of the local, state or federal government. May have a common interest in humanitarian assistance activities.

States Parties: Nation states that are signatories to and bound by the Ottawa Convention (or other treaties).

Survey: The method of determining the location of suspect or verified mine areas and further determining the perimeters of the actual mined area.

Unexploded Ordnance (UXO): Explosive ordnance that has been primed, fused, armed or otherwise prepared for use or used. It could have been fired, dropped, launched, or projected yet remains unexploded either through malfunction or design or for any other cause.

For more information regarding mine action, please visit the following websites:

The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

The Electronic Mine Information Network (U.N. Mine Action Service)

The Landmine Monitor Report

The Ottawa Convention Status Report (Canadian Government)

The U.N. Department of Disarmament Affairs

The Center for International Stabilization and Recovery at James Madison University

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