The Treaty banning anti-personnel landmines, also called the Ottawa Treaty, bans the use, possession, production, and transfer of mines, and provides for the destruction of stocks and assistance to victims. Adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 1999, it has 164 States Parties, including 34 out of the 50 States that produced mines before 1997, and 33 Signatories. The Convention Members, however, do not include six significant countries: China, South Korea, India Pakistan, Russian Federation and United States. The universalization of the Treaty, therefore, remains one of the primary objectives in the framework of its effective implementation. At present, great concern is caused by the frequent use of these weapons by non-state actors, which are also able to produce them, also as improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Ongoing work in the framework of the Convention relates to stockpile destruction, clearance of contaminated areas, transparency measures and, most importantly, victim assistance.
Stockpile destruction: the Convention commits States Parties to destroy all anti-personnel landmines in their possession or control, “as soon as possible” but, in any case, no later than four years after entry-into-force of the Treaty for the concerned State. The only exception to this rule concerns mines that can be kept for training purposes relating to detection, clearance and destruction. These, in any case, must be kept in very low numbers. To date, 157 States Parties have completed the destruction of stockpiles; overall, these amounted to over 47 million mines.
Mine clearance: the Treaty provides for the identification of contaminated areas, their marking and delimitation in such a way as to protect civilians until the completion of the clearance operations. Total clearance must be finalized within 10 years from entry-into-force of the Treaty for the concerned Country, save for extension requests that cannot, in any case, go beyond a further 10 years.
Victim assistance: obligations on victims assistance are central in the Ottawa Convention, the first to include similar obligations in the field of disarmament and arms control. At their core, these oblige States Parties “in a position to do so” to provide assistance for the care, rehabilitation and social-economic reintegration of mine victims. Such assistance can be provided through bilateral and multilateral channels. Unfortunately, despite significant investments in this area, available resources are well below what is needed for hundreds, if not thousands, of mine survivors in a fairly high number of countries.
Transparency: in order to ensure a continuing and productive exchange of information, the Convention provides for the presentation of annual national reports on the implementation of many of its obligations, including those relating to national measures (e.g. administrative or legislative), existing stocks, contaminated areas identification and clearance.
Implementation of the Convention is assessed by annual Meetings of the States Parties, intersessional meetings of thematic Committees, and five-yearly Review Conferences. An Implementation Support Unit (ISU), housed by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), was also established in order to provide implementation support.
The Italian participation in the Treaty
Italy, which had adopted a national law banning landmines well before the conclusion of the Ottawa process, is strongly engaged in implementation of this Treaty. At present, it is also the country that destroyed the highest number of landmines, most of which came from industrial stocks.
Italy participates actively in the Ottawa follow-up process, both from a diplomatic point of view – participating in all the Convention’s meetings, regular and intersessional – and operational. In particular, it has devoted significant funds to humanitarian demining programmes and promotes an integrated approach to the clearance of explosive remnants that are disciplined by distinct Treaties but whose goals are highly complementary. With Law n. 58 (7 March 2001), Italy established the Trust Fund for Humanitarian Demining dedicated to financing clearance and destruction programmes, as well as victim assistance and risk education projects. Some of the most recent demining activities supported by Italy were implemented in Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.
Finally, also in the framework of the Ottawa Treaty Italy shares the international community’s concern with the use and production of landmines by non-state actors.
Eight “Pledging Conference” of the Mine Ban Convention (Amb. Leonardo Bencini, 24 March 2023)
18th Meeting of the States Parties (Geneva, 16-20 November 2020): General debate; International cooperation and assistance; Victim assistance
Fourth Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty (Oslo, 26-29 Novembre 2019): Renewing the political commitment to the Convention (Amb. Alberto Colella); Victime Assitance, International Cooperation and Assistence (Mr. Tancredi Francese)
Fourth “Pledging Conference” of the Mine Ban Convention (Amb. Gianfranco Incarnato, 26 February 2019)
17th Meeting of the States Parties (Geneva, 26-30 November 2018): General debate; International cooperation and assistance; Victim assistance (Amb. Gianfranco Incarnato)
Intersessional Meeting (Geneva, 7-8 June 2018): International Cooperation and Assistance and Victim Assistance (Amb. Gianfranco Incarnato)
Third “Pledging Conference” of the Mine Ban Convention (Amb. Gianfranco Incarnato, 27 February 2018)
16th Meeting of the States Parties (Vienna, 18-21 December 2017): General Debate (Amb. Vinicio Mati); Victim Assistance, International Cooperation and Assistance, Cooperation among ISUs (Dr. Palma D’Ambrosio)
Intersessional Meeting (Geneva, 8-9 June 2017): International Cooperation and Assistance and Victim Assistance (Dr. Palma D’Ambrosio)
Second “Pledging Conference” of the Mine Ban Convention (Amb. Vinicio Mati, 28 February 2017)
15th Meeting of the States Parties (Santiago de Chile, 28 November, 2 December 2016): General Debate (Amb. Marco Ricci); Victim Assistance (Dr. Palma D’Ambrosio); International Cooperation and Assistance (Dr. Palma D’Ambrosio)
Intersessional Meeting (Geneva, 19-20 May2016): International Cooperation and Assistance and Sinergies (Dr. Palma D’Ambrosio)
First “Pledging Conference” of the Mine Ban Convention (Dr. Palma D’Ambrosio, 2 March 2016)
14th Meeting of the States Parties (Geneva, 30 November- 4 Decembrer 2015): International Cooperation and Assistance and Financial Issues and Transparency (Amb. Vinicio Mati)
Third Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty (Maputo, 23-27 June 2014): High-Level Segment (Amb. Roberto Vellano)
Documents and Resources
Convention banning the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines, and their destruction
Final Document of the 2017 Meeting of the States Parties
Third Review Conference of the Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention, Maputo, 23-27 June 2014
Landmines and Cluster Munitions Monitor
Anti-personnel Landmines Convention (ALPC) website
ALPC Implementation Support Unit (ISU)
UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (Geneva and New York)
United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)
Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)
International Committee of the Red Cross: Anti-personnel Landmines