The United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of efforts to address humanitarian hazards from landmines and unexploded ordnance in post-conflict countries and to reduce the availability of excess, loosely-secured, or otherwise at-risk weapons and munitions. Today’s release of the 15th edition of To Walk the Earth in Safety, the Department of State’s report summarizing the accomplishments of the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program, highlights our enduring commitment to making post-conflict communities safer and setting the stage for their recovery and development.
Since 1993, the United States has invested more than $2.6 billion for the safe clearance of landmines and explosive remnants of war as well as for the securing and safe disposal of excess small arms, light weapons, and munitions, in more than 95 countries, making the United States the world’s single largest financial supporter of conventional weapons destruction.
Just 15 years ago, landmines and explosive remnants of war killed or injured nearly 10,000 men, women, and children every year – more than 25 every day. Due to the concerted efforts of the United States, partner nations, international nongovernmental organizations, and host nations, that figure has now dropped approximately 60 percent.
Working in close cooperation with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Leahy War Victims Fund, the Department of State has helped 16 countries to declare themselves mine free, most recently Mozambique in September 2015.
Through the Conventional Weapons Destruction program, the U.S. government has also collaborated with partner nations and international organizations since 2003 to destroy more than 34,000 excess or poorly-secured man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS), shoulder-fired missiles that pose a serious potential threat to global aviation in the hands of terrorists or insurgents.
Proactive community outreach through our Mine Risk Education programs have prevented countless injuries while U.S.-funded Survivor Assistance has provided essential medical and rehabilitation services to more than 250,000 people injured by landmines and unexploded ordnance.
For additional information or to request a printed copy of To Walk the Earth in Safety, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow us on Twitter @StateDeptPM.
Source: U.S. State Department.