Ukraine fast-tracks mine action efforts with advanced technology

New approach, supported through broad partnership, could boost crop production, contributing to greater food security

September 25, 2023
Photo credit: UNDP in Ukraine

Kyiv, 25 September 2023 – The State Emergency Service of Ukraine recently confirmed 5,000 sq km of land as mine-free in just six weeks after receiving advanced computers and AI software through a joint Croatia/UNDP initiative. The new verification process, which was also supported by the Kyiv School of Economics, could potentially save more than $2 billion in clearance expenses. 

This week, UNDP donated a second state-of-the-art computer, which should further double the amount of land that can be evaluated by early next year. Forecasts indicate that an additional 50,000 sq km of suspected territory could be deemed safe by year's end, translating to potential savings of up to $10 billion. The effort is seen as a boon to Ukraine’s farmers, who can now confidently cultivate their lands, sowing winter wheat and other essential crops in the upcoming seasons to meet both local needs and global demand.

UNDP Resident Representative Jaco Cilliers said this money can now be invested in clearing contaminated land, allowing Ukrainian farmers to help rebuild the economy and improve global food security. "Ukraine's pioneering use of cutting-edge technology, blending satellite imaging and Artificial Intelligence in mine action, not only holds the promise of a safer future for its citizens but also firmly places the nation as a global beacon of innovation in addressing mine contamination challenges," he said.

The computers and software are part of a long-standing partnership between UNDP, Croatia and SESU’s Mine Action Information Management Unit. In August, UNDP seconded four Information Management (IM) Specialists to the unit to oversee the implementation and upkeep of the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) and to support with data processing, analysis, and the dissemination of information to key stakeholders.

Anica Djamic, Ambassador of Croatia to Ukraine, highlighted the collaboration between Croatia, SESU, the Kyiv School of Economics, and UNDP as a powerful union of innovation and unity. “The rapid verification of 5,000 sq km of mine-free Ukrainian land showcases this success,” she said. “Enabling Ukraine’s farmers to get back to work is not just good for Ukraine, but is good for the world.”

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, Head of Communications at UNDP Ukraine; e-mail: 

Background information: Ukraine is now one of the world’s most heavily mine-contaminated countries. It’s estimated that about one-third of the country has been exposed to war—an area four and a half times the size of Switzerland. UNDP has been working with Ukraine’s government for 30 years and has led the UN’s mine action programme since 2016. UNDP is a lead partner supporting the State Emergency Services of Ukraine (SESU), ensuring that a strengthening of operational and logistical backing through international funds and expertise translates to a more efficient response to the risks posed by explosive remnants of war.

Laptop handover to SESU