Man checking a mine

Addressing the humanitarian and development impact posed by mines, cluster munitions and explosive remnants of war

Addressing the humanitarian and development impact posed by mines, cluster munitions and explosive remnants of war



The Lebanese community and the refugee community are suffering from a legacy contamination in Lebanon where a significant number of lands in the Bekaa, South, Mount Lebanon and other areas of   Lebanon are still contaminated by landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). The issue of contamination has been further compounded in 2017 following the defeat of terrorist groups in the North-Eastern border region that was contaminated mainly with improvised explosive devices (IEDs).This proposed project focuses on empowering the Lebanon Mine Action Center (LMAC) - the responsible body for the execution and coordination of the Lebanon Mine Action Programme (LMAP) on behalf of the Mine Action Authority - and enabling it to sustainably manage and address the humanitarian and development impact posed by mines, Explosive Remnants of War and Cluster Munitions. The overall objective is to significantly attenuate the impact of contamination risks through the promotion of resilient adaptable government institutions.


The issue of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Lebanon has accumulated over four decades of internal and external conflict, resulting in the contamination of vast swathes of land. It is estimated that the contaminated land remaining to be cleared at the end of 2020 amounted to around 31 million square meters, of which an estimated 75% can be used for agricultural purposes. 

Contamination has a devastating impact not solely from a humanitarian perspective but also from a socio-economic perspective. In a study done by UNDP in 2019, the cost of ERW contamination was estimated to 600 million dollars in lost economic opportunities by 2027. This impact is translated in the inability of communities to use their lands for livelihood purposes including agriculture. This cost also include the loss of productivity of victims. 

Nevertheless, this same study estimated that every dollar invested in mine action generates 4.15 dollars in socio-economic benefits. Thus, supporting this sector leads to clearing the lands of deadly threats in addition to enabling the Lebanese communities to improve their socio-economic conditions.

During the last decade, the scope of mine action increased in Lebanon due to: (i) the developments in the North-Eastern Border; (ii) the Syrian refugee crisis; (iii) the Government of Lebanon (GoL) decisions concerning the Blue Line clearance operations and the (iv) severe economic crisis and social and political unrest, the Beirut port explosion and Covid19 crisis. 

The Syrian refugee crisis has influenced mine action in Lebanon through the refugees’ settlement pattern. Many refugees fleeing the war in Syria had no option but to live in makeshift camps near contaminated areas. This aggravated considerably the number of mine accidents and mine victims.  Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis about 30% of victims in Lebanon are refugees.

With reference to the North-Eastern border, the infiltration of terrorist groups including ISIS resulted in vast areas contaminated by ERW and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Following the clearance of the region from terrorists in 2017, IED clearance operations were initiated. 

In 2016 the Government of Lebanon decided to start clearance operations on the Blue Line, a stretch of land between Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories extending over 118 km. There are more than 1,000 mine fields along the Blue Line and their clearance demands significant resources from LMAC, including, inter alia, human resources for community liaison, quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) and information management. There are an estimated 240,000 remaining mines to be cleared.

Last but not least the severe economic and financial crisis and the subsequent social and political unrest leading to the 2019 demonstrations, and the Covid19 pandemic all affected LMAC’s work and its ability to implement its operations at a normal pace.  The severe economic and financial crisis followed by the serious currency devaluation gravely diminished the purchasing power of the Lebanese pound and thereby the value of the government’s contribution to Mine Action in terms of clearance and operational costs. 

The contextual changes described above have overstretched the capacities of the Lebanon Mine Action Center (LMAC). In practice, LMAC engages on fundraising and advocacy for the entire Lebanon Mine Action Program. On the operational level, LMAC manages operations through assigning tasks, overseeing and monitoring through quality control all operations from non-technical survey to clearance and releases of lands to civilian owners. LMAC is also responsible for Explosive Ordnance Risk Education Awareness and Survivors Assistance.

Since 2009, UNDP has been supporting LMAC to enable it to implement the LMAP and its strategy, while concurrently promoting the capacity of army personnel to adopt a humanitarian approach rather than a pure military approach. The support of an international body such as UNDP with experience in mine action and capacity building of Lebanese public institutions was necessary since local organizations and institutions had very little capacity to take on this responsibility. UNDP has provided assistance, inter alia, on the coordination with communities, the entry and aggregation of data, quality control and quality assurance of clearance operations (QA/QC), the development and update of national mine action standards, reporting in line with Lebanon’s international obligations, Mine Risk Education, Mine Victims Assistance and LMAC’s involvement in the Arab Regional Cooperation Program (ARCP). 

The EU generously funded UNDP’s support to LMAC for 10 years ending in 2019 with the following objective: “The LMAC empowered and enabled to sustainably manage and address the humanitarian and development impact posed by mines.” One of the most important results of this phase of the project included the opening of the Regional School for Humanitarian Demining in Lebanon (RSHDL). This school was accredited by the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) and is expected to cater to all Arab and Friendly countries in particular to the countries in the region affected by conflicts and the resulting landmine and ERW contamination. 

Moreover, a new 5 year strategy (2020 – 2025) was developed by LMAC with UNDP’s support for the entire Mine Action Program, in a fully participatory approach, involving the national and international implementing agencies, mine action NGOs, UN agencies, and donors. This strategy will enable the sector to progress through a systematic well-coordinated approach, and guide LMAC in developing its strategic implementation plan.

UNDP also recently engaged in several forms of assessments to support LMAC in improving its effectiveness and efficiency, to enable the institution to better serve its humanitarian and development cause. These assessments included: (i) an IT assessment to enable LMAC to be up to date on reporting and dashboard; (ii) a soft skills assessment to enhance communication, management and reporting skills of its officers; (iii) a socio-economic assessment to evaluate the long-term economic benefits of mine action and (iv) and an operational efficiency assessment.  

As part of its holistic humanitarian mine action approach (HMA), UNDP also invested resources in strengthening LMAC’s capacities in Mine Victims Assistance. Despite repeated advocacy efforts, there has been limited progress with the implementation of the law # 220/2000, which secured basic rights of the disabled, such as the right to education, health and employment. 

UNDP also supported the establishment of a Mine Action Forum also known as country coalition in early 2018 – a tailor-made, coordination and partnership mechanism geared to promote the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). The Mine Action Forum is made up of a series of interrelated progressive meetings. The Lebanon’s Mine Action Forum has convened several times with UNDP serving as a secretariat.

Major achievements

  • Declaring the Northern Governorate of Lebanon completely clear of mines
  • Victims of mines enabled to socially and economically reintegrate into their communities through income generated activities
  • Impacted communities empowered and equipped to deal with the residual risk of mines through Explosive Ordinance Risk Education (EORE)
  • LMAC’s institutional capacity strengthened to enable the LMAC to meet its national, regional, and international obligations as well as transfer its expertise to support stability, security, and territorial cohesion

Project outcome

Output 1: Core national capacity to document and prioritize clearance operations strengthened and land release supported

Output 2: LMAC’s compliance with international and national obligations maintained and its coordination functions strengthened

Output 3: LMAC’s communication and partnerships capacities strengthened

GESI Component: 

  • Strengthen LMAC’s information management system through training and other support activities and support the development of gender disaggregated data in terms of Mine Victim Assistance, Mine Risk Education and Prioritization 

  • Develop a livelihoods and socio-economic assessment for all remaining contaminated areas including the impact of such activities on women and vulnerable groups. The assessment will disaggregate data in terms of gender and promote and adopt the prioritization of women headed households in land clearance and release and advocate for gender inclusivity
  • Support LMAC in the development of a media communication strategy that among others, promotes human rights, gender inclusivity and the rights of people with disabilities
  • A livelihoods and socio-economic assessment for all remaining contaminated areas including the impact of such activities on women and vulnerable groups. The assessment will disaggregate data in terms of gender to the extent possible and promote the prioritization of women headed households in land clearance and release and advocate for gender inclusivity



May 2021


April 2024






Ministry of National Defense











Full Project information