The 2017 annual report outlines the Swiss Confederation's main achievements in mine action activities during the past year. In keeping with its mine action strategy for 2016–19, Switzerland focused its efforts on (1) the importance of promoting adherence to the relevant international instruments, (2) clearance of contaminated areas, mine risk education and victim assistance, and (3) capacity development in affected areas to support local ownership of mine action programmes.
Issues of growing concern
Recent developments serve to highlight the relevance of Switzerland's sustained engagement in this area, the need to continue along the same path, and the importance of continuing its advocacy for a global ban on such weapons. After several years of steady progress in the campaign against landmines and their inhumane consequences, 2017 again saw a significant increase in the number of landmine and cluster munition casualties. This comes as a result of cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines being used for the first time in such war-torn countries as Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iraq and Myanmar. Another area of particular concern is the increased use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by armed non-state actors.
Switzerland's vision is a world with no new casualties of anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions and explosive remnants of war – a world where continuous strides are made towards sustainable development and where the needs of affected communities are met. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) work jointly using their respective instruments towards achieving this goal.
The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is observed every year on 4 April to draw attention to the threat posed by landmines.
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