In 2009, the Department of State continued to lead the international donor community in providing assistance for the clearance of landmines and other explosive remnants of war, as well as the destruction of at-risk and unsecured weapons and munitions, by providing $130 million in aid to 32 countries. Although significant progress has been made over the last decade, including several countries which have been declared mine impact-free, there still remains much to do to make the world a safer place for everyone.
This ninth edition of our annual report, To Walk The Earth In Safety, describes the programs and achievements of our conventional weapons destruction efforts. Where this document once referenced only our work in what we call humanitarian mine action, the report has now been expanded to include coverage of our efforts to destroy excess, loosely secured, or otherwise at-risk small arms and light weapons and related munitions, as well as partnership with a number of countries aimed at improving security at weapons and munitions storage sites around the world.
None of this is done alone. The Department of State works closely with the Department of Defense, the United States Agency for International Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Department of Health and Human Services. The United States Government also works with other governments and international organizations to coordinate efforts, enact stricter controls on weapons, and provide assistance to victims of landmines and unexploded ordnance. We also engage civil society in a Public-Private Partnership program to raise awareness and expand resources for humanitarian mine action. Our shared commitment to the cause is reflected in the passion of these individuals and organizations, and together, we augment the work of other donor nations and international organizations, and help raise awareness of these issues.
The United States is proud to be the world’s single largest financial supporter of efforts to address these threats, as well as the positive contributions of these programs to help countries promote stability and set the stage for post-conflict reconstruction and development. Since 1993, the United States Government has led all international donors in providing a total of nearly $1.8 billion to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance and treat accident victims. This total investment will grow as we continue to address the problem of surplus weapons and munitions. I invite you to read this report to learn about the United States’ programs and what is being done to allow everyone “to walk the Earth in safety.”
Andrew J. Shapiro
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs