Landmines continue to kill or maim more than 4,000 people yearly
United Nations appeals for $498 million to address the challenge in 29 countries
GENEVA — Mine action initiatives in 29 countries, territories or peacekeeping missions will cost $498 million in 2011, according to the 14th edition of the annual Portfolio of Mine Action Projects, released today by the United Nations in Geneva.
The portfolio is an annual snapshot of the impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war in countries or territories with mine action programmes. The portfolio also provides proposals for mine action projects and details their costs. Countries profiled in the 2011 edition of the portfolio have so far secured about 25 percent of the total funding needed for the coming year, leaving a funding gap of $367 million. The largest funding gaps in 2011 are in Iraq ($44 million) and Sudan ($71 million).
"Remarkable progress has been made in eliminating the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war," said Neil Buhne, Director of Geneva Liaison Office of the UN Development Programme's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery. "But more work is required."
Buhne pointed out that more than 65 countries are affected by landmines or explosive remnants of war, which together claimed nearly 4,000 casualties—a third of them children—around the world in 2009. "Landmines and explosive remnants of war also take a heavy toll on people's livelihoods, countries' economic and social development, and international peace-building efforts," he said.
United Nations support in this area ranges from building the capacities of national mine action institutions to backstopping humanitarian relief initiatives and ensuring the safe deployment of peacekeepers and UN political missions.
Maxwell Kerley, Director of the United Nations Mine Action Service said full donor support for these programmes will contribute to ongoing efforts to realize the Millennium Development Goals in those countries affected by the crisis. "With International Mine Awareness Day coming up on 4 April, the urgent and compelling need to protect civilians from landmines and explosive remnants of war is rightly attracting media attention. We must continue to raise awareness about the impact of these indiscriminate weapons," he said.
Many of the projects included in the Portfolio of Mine Action Projects 2011 will help remove and destroy cluster munitions, teach people how to stay out of harm's way, and assist the victims of these devices in countries such as Cambodia, Chad, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Tajikistan and Somalia.
Fourteen United Nations departments, programmes, agencies and funds are involved in mine action. The portfolio is published jointly by the United Nations Mine Action Service in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations' Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, UNDP and UNICEF. The 2011 edition includes 238 projects covering all five "pillars" of mine action: clearance and marking of hazardous areas, mine risk education, victim assistance, destruction of stockpiled landmines, and advocacy for international agreements related to landmines and explosive remnants of war, including cluster munitions.
Adam Rogers, Senior Advisor (Geneva)
Tel: +41.22.917.8541 or mobile +41.79.849.0679
Mariana Gonzalez Migueles (New York)
UN Mine Action Service:
Aaron J. Buckley (New York)
Rebecca Fordham (New York)