To Walk the Earth in Safety: New U.S. Government Report Showcases U.S. Global Leadership in Landmine Clearance and Conventional Weapons Destruction

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A demining technician points to an unearthed landmine in Colombia (Photo courtesy of The HALO Trust).
A demining technician points to an unearthed landmine in Colombia. (Photo courtesy of The HALO Trust)

To Walk the Earth in Safety: New U.S. Government Report Showcases U.S. Global Leadership in Landmine Clearance and Conventional Weapons Destruction

Since 1993, the United States has invested more than $2.9 billion for the securing and safe disposal of excess small arms, light weapons, and munitions as well as the safe clearance of landmines and explosive remnants of war in more than 100 countries, making the United States the world’s single largest financial supporter of conventional weapons destruction.

Today’s release of the 16th edition of To Walk the Earth in Safety, the Department of State’s annual 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.   

The United States has funded programs worldwide aimed at reducing at-risk weapons and munitions and improving stockpile security in order to prevent diversion of arms to terrorists and other destabilizing actors.  

An Iraqi volunteer teaches a child how to avoid UXO dangers. (Photo courtesy of Danish Demining Group)

Through the conventional weapons destruction program, the U.S. government has collaborated with partner nations and international organizations since 2003 to destroy more than 39,000 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. 

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 numerous countries to declare themselves mine free.  

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 more 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 pm-cpa@state.gov, and follow us on Twitter @StateDeptPM

About the Author: Stan Brown is the Director of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.com.