Skip to main content


Mine Clearance and Small Arms/Light Weapons (SALW) Destruction

This LibGuide is intended to provide a few starting points to assist you with your research on issues related to mine clearance and small arms/light weapons (SALW) destruction.


"NATO is committed to the implementation of international agreements and standards and to support Allies and Partners in fulfilling their obligations. Implementation of the UN Programme of Action on small arms and light weapons (UN PoA) provisions has to be integrated in a comprehensive and multidimensional approach in order to provide sustainable and long term results. NATO is also committed to multilateral cooperation within the NATO, EAPC, MD, and ICI as well as other multinational formats. In this respect, NATO has the ability to complement and support UN initiatives and activities with technical and military expertise.

NATO has committed to support the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) signed in 2013, and designed to regulate the international trade in conventional arms, from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships. The treaty fosters peace and security by putting a stop to destabilizing arms flows to conflict regions. It is designed to prevent human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms, and will help keep warlords, pirates, and gangs from acquiring these deadly tools." (NATO Source: Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) & Mine Action (MA) Portal)

NATO Bodies with a Central Role

In January 1999, NATO established the Ad Hoc Working Group on SALW, within the framework of the EAPC. Later that year, work began on creating the NATO/PfP Trust Fund Mechanism, which has become an integral part of the Working Group ever since. In 2004, the Working Group’s mandate was expanded to include mine action issues, renaming it to the Ad Hoc Working Group on SALW and Mine Action. The Working Group’s authority comes directly from the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) itself.

The Luxembourg-based NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) – now the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) was chosen by the Lead Nation(s) of most (not all) NATO/PfP Trust Fund projects to be the executing agent, particularly for demilitarization projects. As such, it plays an essential role in the development and implementation of Trust Fund projects and offers technical advice and a range of management services. Once the project proposal is agreed by the Lead Nation and the partner country concerned, it is presented to the Political Partnerships Committee. This body serves as a formal forum to discuss the project and attract volunteer donor support and resources. (source)

NATO activated on May 27, 1999, an operational mine countermeasures capability permanently available in the Mediterranean and poised for action in peacetime, crisis or conflict. The new force, initially called NATO Mine Counter Measures Force Mediterranean (MCMFM) is since available to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). This important new force normally comprises eight mine hunters/sweepers and a support ship from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. On 3 September, 2001 NATO’s Standing Mine Countermeasures force in the Mediterranean (MCMFORMED) changed its name to Mine Countermeasures Force South (MCMFORSOUTH), to bring its name in line with its NATO Northern Region counterpart, MCMFORNORTH. The change also reflects that NATO’s Maritime Forces are not constrained to one particular area of operations. (source)

On 1 January 2005 STANAVFORMED and MCMFORMED assumed respectively the new denominations Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Force Group 2 (SNMCMG2). (source)

Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) is one of NATO’s two specialist mine countermeasures groups. It is a permanently established, multinational, seagoing force of MCM vessels, on task continuously, to give NATO the ability to respond to a wide range of missions almost anywhere in the world. It consists of units from NATO countries and regularly exercises with the Russian Navy and engages with Partner Nation countries in Europe, Africa and as far away as the Gulf. On 2 August 2012 Belgium took command of the permanently established NATO Mine Countermeasures group 1. (source)

Standing NATO Mine-Countermeasures Group 2, is a multinational, integrated maritime force - made up of vessels from various allied nations, training and operating together as a single team - that is permanently available to NATO to perform a wide range tasks, from participating in exercises to crisis response and real world operational missions. Usually the Force is employed in the Mediterranean area but, as necessary, will be available anywhere NATO requires it to deploy. (source)

Small Arms & Light Weapons and Mine Actions Portal