The 1997 Mine Ban Convention, ten years after its signing, stands as a testimonial to the strength and potential of civil society mobilization, working together with committed states to achieve lasting humanitarian institutional and normative reform. It was this milestone the international conference entitled “Clearing the Path for a Better Future” held in Oslo on September 18th 2007 marked, co-organized by the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
Apart from examining the challenges that remain with regards to fully implementing the provisions of the Mine Ban Convention, a central focus of the conference was viability of civil society and state cooperation with regards to the future. Can such alternatives to traditional diplomacy be effective in working towards agreements on issues such as peacebuilding, human rights, democratization, cluster munitions, and child soldiers, to name but a few examples? This formed the starting point for the presentations and discussions for the conference.