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With new mines laid every year, more funds needed for clearance work: Annan

With new mines laid every year, more funds needed for clearance work: Annan

Despite significant progress over the past year in the United Nations' anti-landmine work, new explosive ordnances continue to be laid in many parts of the world, requiring a greater financial commitment on the part of the international donor community, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report issued today in New York.

"The number of countries and areas that require and request assistance in mine action continues to grow," the Secretary-General writes in his report to the General Assembly on the UN's mine action work. "The need to obtain adequate resources in response to these needs remains a constant challenge to the UN system."

According to the report, Member States continue to call upon the UN to provide assistance in areas affected by mines and unexploded ordnance, as well as to assist them with the implementation of their treaty obligations, particularly those relating to the clearance of mined areas. As a result, the UN system is now providing direct support to 30 countries, as compared to 26 in 2000. New programmes include Ethiopia and Guinea-Bissau, initiated by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), as well as emergency programmes in southern Lebanon and in the temporary security zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Referring to a Database of Mine Action Investments launched in November 1999 to track the flow of resources to mine-related programmes, the report states that funding for mine action has regularly increased over the past four years. Out of a total of $200 million invested every year, about 40 per cent is channelled through the UN system. However, these investments are still too limited to meet the needs of affected countries and communities - a total of $151 million is requested from donors in the 2001 Portfolio. Of this, $74 million had been raised by 30 April 2001.

According to the report, reductions in the production and use of anti-personnel landmines in recent years have opened up the prospect of eliminating the threat of landmines within a definable time frame in some of the world's most severely affected countries. To achieve this will require the sustained commitment of all those involved in this international effort, Mr. Annan says.