MAIC > Research Tools > Factsheet on Landmines and UXO
Factsheet on Landmines and UXO
Contents of this page
  1. The Landmine Threat
  2. Severely Mine-Affected Countries
  3. Donor Contributions
  4. Five Pillars of Mine Action
  5. Ottawa Convention (a.k.a. Mine Ban Convention)
  6. Mine Clearance
  7. Mine-Risk Education (MRE)
  8. Victim/Survivor Assistance
  9. Stockpile Destruction
  10. Definitions
  11. For more Information
The Landmine Threat

Uncleared landmines and unexploded ordnance (bombs, grenades, and other munitions that failed to detonate but remain a threat) still affect millions of people living in 84 countries and 8 areas not internationally recognized as independent states, of which 54 are States Parties (signatories) to the Ottawa Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention.

As of 2005, more than (200,000 km2) of the world's landmass is suspected to be contaminated.

In addition to killing and injuring innocent civilians, mines block access to agricultural land, roads, infrastructure, etc., inhibiting economic growth and sometimes threatening even the most basic survival activities.

Severely Mine-Affected Countries
  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Cambodia
  • Chad
  • Colombia
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Lao PDR
  • Somalia
  • Vietnam
Donor Contributions

The Landmine Monitor 2006 has identified US$2.9 billion in mine action contributions from many donors since 1992.

Top donors: United States, European Commission, Norway, Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark

U.S. Government cumulative contributions total (DOD, DOS) surpassed US$1 billion (2006) in 46 country programs.

DOD cumulative contributions total approximately US$300 million with nearly half (US$140 million) going to R&D in humanitarian mine action.

Current DOS annual contributions: US$65 million (2006)

Current DOD annual contributions: US$20 million (2006)

Five Pillars of Mine Action

Advocacy to universalize the Ottawa Convention

Assistance to landmine survivors/victims

Clearance of
mined areas

Mine-risk education

Stockpile destruction

Ottawa Convention (aka. Mine Ban Convention)

Under the Mine Ban Convention, States Parties agree to:

As of October 2006, there were 151 States Parties (nation states that are bound by the Convention) and another three soon to be ratified.

Several more governments are poised to ratify or accede to the treaty, including Indonesia, Marshall Islands and Poland, and many states not party to the Mine Ban Convention have taken steps consistent with the treaty, including signing the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), esp. its Amended Protocol II (Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices, 1996).

40 countries, with a combined stockpile of some 160 million anti-personnel mines, remain outside of the Mine Ban Convention. Countries currently not party to the Mine Ban Convention include China, Russia and the United States.

Mine Clearance

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

Currently, there are approximately 340 different models of landmines.

Cambodia has cleared the largest amount of mined land (40.6km2), followed by Afghanistan (39.7km2) (LMR 2006).

Over 470,000 landmines (450,000 were antipersonnel mines) and 3.75 million explosive devices were removed and destroyed during clearance operations in 2005 (LMR 2006).

Many methods are used to clear landmines: manual, mechanical, biosensors (dogs, rats, bees, goats, pigs).

Mine-Risk Education (MRE)

Mine-risk education programs expanded in many countries, and became better integrated with clearance and other mine-action activities.

MRE activities took place in 60 countries, and 6.4 million people received MRE in 2005 (LMR 2006).

21 of the 60 countries with mine-risk education activities are not parties to the Mine Ban Treaty.

No MRE activities were recorded in 30 mine-affected countries.

Victim/Survivor Assistance

Survivors are those injured by landmines/UXO.

The term "victims" includes directly impacted individuals and their families and communities affected by landmines.

24 States Parties have been identified as having significant numbers of mine survivors. These include Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad and Colombia.

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.

Mine survivors and other persons with disabilities are among the most impoverished groups in every society.

Stockpile Destruction

During 2005, some 700,000 stockpiled anti-personnel mines were destroyed by States Parties, bringing the global total to about 39.5 million anti-personnel mines destroyed in recent years (LMR 2006).

71 States Parties have now completed their stockpile destruction.

Non-States Parties including China destroyed additional quantities of stockpiled anti-personnel mines. Signatories to the Mine Ban Treaty stockpile an estimated 7 million anti-personnel mines.

Non-signatories stockpile over 160 million anti-personnel mines, the majority held by just 6 states:

Landmine stockpiles of major Mine Ban Treaty non-signatories

(Russia revealed its stockpile total for the first time in 2004.)

States Parties are allowed to keep some landmines for training purposes.

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.
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).
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 Mine Action Information Center at James Madison University