The 16th Meeting of States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) took place from 18-21 December 2017 in the United Nations Office at Vienna. A photo gallery of some of the highlights is available.
The prelude to this year’s conference was a particularly festive one, given that the Convention just recently concluded the 20th anniversary of its signing. Present during the Meeting's open were some of the main actors that made the Convention become a reality 20 years ago: Jody Williams and Tun Channareth of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) as well as Ambassador Thomas Hajnoczi of Austria. Other illustrious guests also included HRH Princess Astrid from Belgium, HRH Prince Mired from Jordan and the President of the ICRC, Peter Maurer.
The following days provided an opportunity for delegates to network and exchange. A series of side events provided in-depth information on current mine action challenges and opportunities and allowed for discussion among diplomats, mine action experts and civil society organisations.
In the side event hosted by the GICHD - Mine Action and Sustaining Peace: Benefits and Challenges of Including Mine Action in Peace and Ceasefire Agreements - lessons learned to facilitate the bridging between the mine action and mediation communities were discussed.
"Mine action in insecure and unstable environments" was a second side event, co-hosted by the GICHD, Danish Demining Group, Dan Church Aid and Handicap International. Panelists offered practical examples from countries including Libya, Colombia and Iraq, and the discussion was moderated by the GICHD. Panelists agreed that as the 2025 Maputo deadline approaches, national capacities and local organisations should be strengthened to keep up the momentum toward completion.
Many positive message were also reinforced during the meeting. To start this 16th Meeting on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Convention, Sri Lanka acceded to the Treaty.
On of the distinguished guests to attend the MSP was Tun Channareth, Ambassador of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). Twenty-years ago, he received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the ICBL. At the meeting, on December 18, he stated: “On this very day 35 years ago, I stepped on a mine that took both of my legs, and I just wanted to die.” Mr. Channareth’s turned his personal tragedy moved him to engage for the ICBL and the cause of mine action.