The Intersessional Work Programme was created by the States Parties at the First Meeting of the States Parties in May 1999. At this meeting, the States Parties recognized the importance of having intersessional Standing Committees of Experts on issues related to the operation of the Convention. Subsequently, on the basis of a President's Paper, the States Parties established the intersessional work programme, made up of the five committees each meeting twice between Meetings of the States Parties.
Some excerpts from the President's Paper that served as the foundation for the establishment of the Intersessional Work Programme include the following:
- That the intersessional program was established to ensure the systematic, effective implementation of the Convention through a more regularized programme of work.
- That informal, open-ended intersessional working groups were created to engage a broad international community for the purpose of advancing the achievement of the humanitarian objectives of the Convention.
- That these working groups would facilitate in-depth considerations of mine action issues by all interested parties at meetings which complement and build upon each other in a structured and systematic way.
- And that the aim of the exercise was to organize the work within the framework of the Convention in a way which promotes continuity, openness, transparency, inclusiveness and a cooperative spirit.
At the Second Meeting of the States Parties in September 2000, on the basis of President's Paper on Revisions to the Intersessional Work PDF 10KB , the States Parties made some adjustments as follows:
- Five committees became four as technologies for mine action became a subject matter incorporated into the work of the Standing Committee responsible for mine clearance.
- The word experts was dropped from the name of the Standing Committees.
- As opposed to the first Intersessional Work Programme which involved six periods of meetings totaling six weeks in duration, it was agreed to two, one-week, periods of meetings be held.
- To further enhance active participation in the work of the Standing Committees, it was recommended that those States in a position to do so consider making voluntary contributions to have additional languages made available for the intersessional meetings.
Another important related development that took place at the Second Meeting of the States Parties was that the Meeting also noted the work undertaken by interested States Parties to establish a sponsorship programme to ensure more widespread representation at meetings of the Convention.
At the Third Meeting of the States Parties, the Meeting recognized the continued importance of the intersessional work programme and made a minor adjustment to the committee structure, shifting responsibility for mine awareness from the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance to the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance.
Most recently, at the Fourth Meeting of the States Parties, States Parties recognized the continuing importance of the Intersessional Work Programme, expressed that on the basis of the President's Paper on the Intersessional Work Programme as contained in Annex II, the Programme in the lead-up to the Convention's First Review Conference should focus with even greater clarity on those areas most directly related to the core humanitarian objectives of the Convention. In addition, States Parties expressed that the Intersessional Work Programme should proceed in a manner consistent with the principles that have well served the Programme to date, particularly the informal, inclusive and cooperative nature of the process.
This President's Paper identified these areas most directly related to the core humanitarian objectives of the Convention as being the following:
- to destroy anti-personnel mines that remain in stockpiles;
- to clear areas containing anti-personnel mines;
- to provide assistance to landmine survivors; and,
- to ensure universal acceptance of the ban on anti-personnel mines.