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 ten additional countries having suspected contamination (Landmine Monitor 2017). Millions of people living in these areas are vulnerable to these uncleared landmines and unexploded ordnance. Of the 71 affected countries and political units, 40 are signatories to the Ottawa Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (as of September 2018).

Because of the lack of data provided, it is not possible to give a global estimate of the total area still contaminated by landmines.Over the past five years (2012-2016) approximately 927 km2 of mined areas have been cleared (Landmine Monitor 2017). One person is injured or killed by a landmine every hour. 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 CountriesMap of Severely Affected Countries

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

3. Donor Contributions

The U.S. Department of State reports that the United States contributed US$2.9 billion to more than 100 countries for humanitarian mine action and conventional weapons destruction programs from 1993-2018.

According to the Landmine Monitor’s 2017 report, donors and affected states contributed US$564.5 million in international and national support for mine action in 2016.

Top mine action donors (as of 2016): United States, the European Union, Japan, Germany, and Norway. (Contributed 70% of all international funding)


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 May 2018, there were 164 States Parties to the treaty (nation states that are bound by the Convention). These 164 signatories make up 84% of the world’s countries.

35 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)

At least 232,000 antipersonnel landmines were destroyed within170 km2 of land in 2016.

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

In 2016, 35 States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty were identified as having significant numbers of mine survivors. Afghanistan, Libya, Myanmar, Ukraine, and Yemen had the largest increases in mine/ERW casualties from 2015-2016 (The Landmine Monitor 2017). 

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 53 million antipersonnel mines, including more than 2.2 million destroyed in 2016.

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 approximately 50 million anti-personnel mines, the majority of which belong to Russia, Pakistan, China, India, and the United States (The Landmine Monitor 2017).

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

North Korea
South Korea

Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
United States


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 (IED): 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 about humanitarian mine action, please visit the following websites:

The AP Mine Ban Convention

The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

The United Nations Mine Action Service

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Military-Affairs, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement

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 (UNODA)

The Center for International Stabilization and Recovery at James Madison University

Back to Top