The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Convention) entered into force in 1999. Currently, 161 countries are States Parties to the convention. Austria is one of the leading States in the Ottawa Process and is strongly committed to promoting the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and their destruction. In this spirit, Austria continued to make an active contribution towards the international process for the implementation of the Ottawa Convention. In 2013, Austria was able to continue to provide financial support to clearance of areas infested by anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions, as well as to victim assistance. In total, some 900,000 euros were spent in 2012 and 2103 on projects in Afghanistan, Albania, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Lebanon and Libya.
Thirteen years after the entry into force the success of the Ottawa Convention can be measured by the fact that both use and production of anti-personnel mines have clearly declined while trade has almost been brought to a halt. Major stockpiles have been destroyed and large contaminated areas have been cleared of mines. Most recent data show that in 2012, the lowest number of new victims has been registered since statistics began (2012: 3,628 registered cases compared with 11,700 in 2002).
As stipulated by the Cartagena Action Plan adopted in 2009, assistance to mine victims remains one of the Convention’s top priorities. A major challenge in this context is the economic and social reintegration of victims and their families. Austria continued its special commitment to victim assistance also at the 13th Conference of the States Parties in Geneva (2–6 December, 2013) in which it continued its function as Co-Chair of the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance.