Mine Action Day 2014 - A Roundup of UNDP's Demining Efforts
New York - On Mine Action Day on 4 April, the UN will help raise awareness of the devastating toll that explosive remnants of war continue to exact upon communities, sometimes decades after conflicts come to an end.
This year, with Jordan and Uganda recently announcing that they are free of mine fields, Ethiopia and Mozambique expected to announce that they will soon follow suit, and other countries ridding themselves of cluster munitions, we are one step closer to a safer world.
“Left-over bombs, landmines and other unexploded ordnance create a double tragedy for post-conflict countries", UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said today. “These devices not only kill more than 3,600 people and maim tens of thousands people every year, but they also prevent countries and communities from developing to their full potential, including by impacting on food security, access to farmland, social services, and clean water and roads.
“This Mine Action Day, however, my message is a positive one. Decades of support to mine affected countries by UNDP and many other actors is resulting in making countries safer, and that is bringing direct benefits for poverty reduction too."
161 countries have now signed up for the Antipersonnel Mine-ban Convention, which prohibits the use of landmines. Many previously contaminated countries, like Uganda and Jordan have met most of their obligations under the Convention and are now considered free of mines. UNDP says continued programme support together with partner organizations is beginning to reap rewards in other countries as well.
In Cambodia, for example, intensive de-mining programmes over the past few years have contributing to a steady decline in the number of deaths caused by landmines and other explosive remnants of war – from 188 in 2006, to 48 in 2013. This has helped hundreds of thousands of farmers and impoverished families to improve livelihoods and reduce poverty. With UNDP support in 2013, approximately 19,000 households in Cambodia were able to benefit from land that was recently declared free of mines. 61 percent of this land is currently used for agriculture.
The focus for Mine Action Day in 2014 is the important role that women play in this sector. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by landmines. They have different needs when it comes to education about risks and different challenges when they or a family member is killed or injured. Around the world, from Laos to Ethiopia, UNDP is helping women to train as expert deminers.
In many societies affected by conflict or instability, unexploded remnants of war stand in the way of long-term peace and prevent the rehabilitation and reintegration of former combatants and people affected by conflict, such as returning refugees. That is why, in 2013 alone, UNDP-supported programmes helped more than 170,000 landmine survivors, many of whom were displaced by conflict, to find jobs and support themselves.
Other results for 2013 include:
- In Albania, UNDP helped clear more than 15,250 square metres of land, which benefited more than 25,000 people;
- In Lebanon, together with mine clearance organizations and other key partners, UNDP has now helped clear 66 percent of total contaminated areas in the country;
- In Yemen, 162,000 people who had been displaced returned to their homes in 2013, after the Yemen Mine Action Center cleared land around their homes;
- UNDP helped Albania, Chad, and Iraq to meet their obligations under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention;
- In Mozambique and Albania, UNDP helped the government to fulfill obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions and submit transparency reports.
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