Mine action entails more than removing landmines from the ground. It includes high impact efforts aimed at protecting people from danger, helping victims become self-sufficient and active members of their communities and providing opportunities for stability and sustainable development.
The objective of mine action is to identify and reduce the impact and risk of explosive hazards to a level where people are safe.
UNMAS coordinates the mine action work of the UN system as Chair of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action (IACG-MA), comprising the twelve UN offices, specialized agencies, funds and programmes.
The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is commemorated on 4 April each year. Events take place around the world including in UN missions, information centres and the UN offices in Bangkok, Geneva, Nairobi and New York.
On this day the UN reaffirms its commitment to a world free from the threat of mines, explosive remnants of war (ERW), including cluster munitions, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The theme of 2020 is “Together for Mine Action.”
Get involved and donate to the mine action work of the United Nations.
UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards
On 14 April 2015, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon designated the renowned actor Daniel Craig as the first UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The impact of landmines and explosive hazards (cluster bombs, other explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices – IEDs)
Landmines and explosive remnants of war kill or injure thousands of individuals every year. In addition to the human toll they:
- Close roads, prevent children from going to school, stop farmers from working the land
- Hamper economic and social development
- Rob people of their livelihoods
- Hinder reconstruction after war
- Block safe deployment of peacekeepers and the delivery of humanitarian relief
Landmines and unexploded cluster bombs don't discriminate, they are just as likely to kill a child as they are a soldier. And they keep on killing long after the guns of war have been silenced.
United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
Established in 1997, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) leads, coordinates, and implements projects and programmes to mitigate the threat posed by explosive ordnance.
In recent years, UNMAS has supported and continues to provide assistance in Abyei, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Colombia, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, the State of Palestine, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, the Territory of Western Sahara and Yemen.Visit the UNMAS website to find out more about its 21 operations.
Women in Mine Action
Mine action is a critical enabler of post-conflict stabilization, peacebuilding and development efforts. Through targeted measures – from the recruitment of women technical experts to the training of local women deminers and risk educators – UNMAS promotes gender equality, women’s empowerment and creates opportunities for livelihood generation. Led by the United Nations Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes (2019), UNMAS works to ensure the different needs of women, girls, men and boys are integrated.
Women represent more than 25 per cent of UNMAS field staff and at Headquarters it is more than 70 per cent. The United Nations and its partners, wherever they work on mine action, strive to include women and men in all aspects of the work with the aim of delivering high quality mine action services in response to the needs of all community members regardless of their gender.
The UN mine action work is guided by a solid framework of international law, including the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
UNMAS administers the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action, which was established in 1994 by UN Member States as a single entry point to fund mine action work. UNMAS continues to build new partnerships with traditional and non-traditional donors including individuals, private corporations and foundations.
Safe Ground Campaign
In 2019, the Secretary-General of the United Nations launched the five-year Safe Ground campaign to turn minefields into playing fields. Safe Ground is a global advocacy and fundraising campaign supported by an informal, voluntary Group of Champions, comprised of Member States of the United Nations, United Nations entities, civil society organizations, sports federations, private sector companies, and individual athletes.
The campaign tackles two essential and linked challenges: clearing explosive hazards to make the ground safe for people to return and rebuild their communities without fear of injury or death and raising awareness and resources to support those who have acquired a disability because of explosive hazards. Since its launch, Safe Ground projects have started in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Liberia, the State of Palestine, Somalia, and Viet Nam.