WASHINGTON, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — The State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has released the Tenth Edition of To Walk the Earth in Safety. The report summarizes the actions and accomplishments of the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program, including the U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program, the world’s largest such operation to help countries safely dispose of landmines and excess arms and munitions.
Among the 59-page illustrated report’s highlights is the success story in Central America where U.S. contributions helped the region become “mine-impact free,” the first geographical zone to reach this distinction. The report also highlights continued progress in Afghanistan, where U.S.-pioneered community-based demining initiatives have helped to clear over 80,000 square meters of land in Helmand Province and to destroy over 700 metric tons of explosive material often used to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs). This is a trend the United States hopes will continue and be adopted by other countries.
Working in close cooperation with the Department of Defense, U.S. Agency for International Development’s Leahy War Victims Fund, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of State has helped destroy over 1.4 million small arms and light weapons and 80,000 tons of munitions around the world since 2001. In addition, this interagency partnership has collaborated with several governments and international organizations since 2003 to destroy more than 32,000 excess or poorly secured man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS), shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that pose a serious potential threat to global aviation in the hands of terrorists or insurgents.
The United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of conventional weapons destruction. Since 1993, the United States has promoted peace and security through the commitment of nearly $1.9 billion for the safe disposal of small arms, light weapons, and munitions, as well as for removal of landmines and other explosive remnants of war in 81 countries. For more information, please visit the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement Web site at www.state.gov/t/pm/wra.