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The United Nations, advocates for universal participation in existing international agreements or "instruments" that ban or limit the use of landmines. In order to monitor the status of the treaty implementations, the United Nations (UN) participates in and support regular meetings of treaty member countries-or “state parties” to the treaty.
The first and most important of these agreements is the antipersonnel mine-ban treaty, which opened for signature in 1997. Equally important is the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons which focuses on the use of booby-traps and anti-tank and anti-vehicle mines. The UN provides technical and expert advice to meetings of the state parties, and helps build national capacities to implement these instruments.
For each of the 14 separate UN departments, agencies, programs and funds that support mine action, advocacy takes on a slightly different meaning or purpose, but all operate under the “One UN” approach:
- The UN Mine Action Service coordinates overall UN advocacy in support of the international legal instruments related to landmines and "explosive remnants of war" (which includes unexploded ordnance and abandoned explosive ordnance) and the rights of people affected by them. The organization also undertakes public information on the problems of landmines and explosive remnants of war and the global response to it. See also Cluster Munitions and Mine Action.
- The UN Department of Disarmament Affairs' approach to advocacy includes assistance to states parties to comply with the terms of the antipersonnel mine-ban treaty and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. The department also advocates for universal participation on the antipersonnel mine-ban treaty and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.
- UNICEF advocates for a total ban on antipersonnel landmines, the elimination of "weapons that have indiscriminate effects" on people, new legal instruments related to explosive remnants of war and the protection and promotion of the rights of women and children affected by armed conflict. In addition UNICEF advocates for the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, and the integration of victim assistance into public health, education and other social programs.
- The UN Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues develops strategies and programs to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women in all sectors, including mine action. The office's role is primarily in the areas of advocacy and policy support for "gender mainstreaming" in all of the United Nations' work.
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights advocates on behalf of persons with disabilities.
- The UN High Commissioner for Refugees advocates on behalf of refugees and others suffering because of landmines and explosive remnants of war.