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

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 8, 2014


For more than 20 years, the United States has been the world’s single largest financial supporter of efforts to address humanitarian hazards from landmines and unexploded ordnance in post-conflict countries, as well as to reduce the availability of excess, loosely-secured, or otherwise at-risk weapons and ordnance. Today’s release of To Walk the Earth in Safety, the Department of State’s report summarizing the accomplishments of the U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program, documents our enduring commitment to making post-conflict communities safer and setting the stage for their recovery and development.

  • Since 1993, the United States has invested more than $2.3 billion for the safe disposal of small arms, light weapons, and munitions, as well as for removal of landmines and explosive remnants of war in more than 90 countries, making it the world’s single largest financial supporter of conventional weapons destruction.
  • Around the world, Conventional Weapons Destruction is saving lives: In 1999, experts estimated there were approximately 9,100 landmine casualties per year. According to the Landmine Monitor, new reported casualties from landmines and explosive remnants of war dropped to 3,308 in 2013, nearly one-quarter fewer than 2012, and the lowest since the group started recording casualties in 1999.
  • 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 15 countries to become mine-impact free and to destroy over 1.6 million small arms and light weapons and over 90,000 tons of munitions in 38 countries since 2001.
  • Through the Conventional Weapons Destruction program, the U.S. Government has also collaborated with partner nations and international organizations since 2003 to destroy over 33,500 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.
  • 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.