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First Expert Meeting on the Convention for a Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines, Vienna

States were keen to negotiate a convention to ban anti-personnel mines by the end of 1997. 

In the pursuit of this aim, Austria took on the lead role of elaborating a draft text.

The 12-14 February 1997 Experts Meeting was designed to elicit comments on the text and to intensify efforts towards a total ban. H.E. Thomas Hajnoczi of Austria chaired the 1997 Vienna Meeting and was a central figure throughout the Ottawa Process. [Thomas Hajnoczi returned to the work of the Convention as Chair of the Conference in 2017.]

The United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, were invited to participate.

UN records indicate that the Vienna meeting "made clear that the question of possible verification measures would give rise to considerable debate among States. Germany decided to host a governmental meeting which would be devoted exclusively to this question."

The Ottawa Process continues

Neither the text of the draft Convention discussed in Vienna in February 1997, nor two subsequent drafts contained measures to assist landmine survivors.
It was trough persistent efforts that a comprehensive approach to victim assistance was written into the Convention.
This measure resulted in the Convention becoming the first multilateral arms control agreement to address the humanitarian needs of the victims of a particular weapon system.
Ten years later, as Vienna commemorated the signing of the Convention, Thomas Hajnoczi remarked that in 1997 no one could have predicted the accomplishments that transpired during the decade that followed.
Twenty years after the Vienna Meeting, the international community will meet once again in Austria to commemorate two decades of efforts and partnership towards a mine-free world, including the discussion on how to better integrate victim assistance into broader national contexts of disability and human rights.

Landmine survivor and former Youth Ambassador of the ICBL, Song Kosal of Cambodia, is pictured here in 1997 as Jody Williams and the ICBL received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for their determination in calling for the Convention. Photo, ICBL.