dsc_0016I stopped in Managua, Nicaragua this week to attend the first the first in a series of regional meetings planned in the lead-up to the Mine Ban Treaty’s Second Review Conference, which will take place in Cartagena, Colombia from 30 November-4 December 2009. Government representatives from 18 countries across the region attended the Managua Workshop as did campaigners from a dozen countries.  The campaign’s delegation included eight landmine survivors from Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Peru.

It was interesting to be back in Nicaragua; my first visit was eight years ago just after 9/11. The mine clearance work in the region is nearing completion. Nicaragua is the last country in Central America still complete its demining program. They are working hard to meet this goal by December, but it requires ongoing funding to complete. We had a disheartening discussion on $$$ with the U.S. embassy, as the U.S. demining programme had unilaterally decided that Nicaragua is “mine-impact free” and no longer requires support. Shame that the U.S. couldn’t have taken a joint decision together with other donors who are part of the Mine Ban Treaty as Nicaragua still requires continued support in order to be “mine-free.”