UNDP-supported photo exhibition in Kyiv aims to raise awareness of landmine contamination in Ukraine

March 29, 2024

Deminers Patron and Mykhailo Iliev from the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, with photographer Giles Duley, and United Nations Global Advocate for people with disabilities in conflict and peacebuilding situations.

Photo: Giles Duley

KYIV, 29 March 2024 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine has opened a photo exhibition in Kyiv called “Defining Futures: People, Tech and Teams for a Mine-Free Ukraine” by photographer Giles Duley, the United Nations Global Advocate for people with disabilities in conflict and peacebuilding situations.

The exhibition, which is a joint project by the UNDP and the Legacy of War Foundation, is dedicated to the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance, which is marked on April 4. It aims to raise awareness about mine action and mine victim assistance in Ukraine through featuring a mosaic of experiences – from those of a professional deminer and a war veteran, to those of a medical worker and a technical innovator. 

The exhibition opening was held on 29 March 2024 at the Museum of the History of Kyiv (7 Bohdana Khmelnytskoho Street, Kyiv) in the format of a private viewing for the ambassadors of several of the countries that support mine action in Ukraine. It will then be open for public viewing until 7 April.

Thereafter, it will be held in an outdoor format from 4 April until 19 April, on St. Sophia's Square in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, photographer Giles Duley said its purpose was to inspire action to improve the mine-contamination situation in Ukraine.

“With this exhibition I hope to bring home the realities of landmine and unexploded ordnance contamination in Ukraine,” Duley said. “All I ask is that as governments, NGOs, business, and individuals, we all ask ourselves this question: Are we doing all we can to make sure the legacy for future generations is one of peace and safety in a landmine free Ukraine?”

“Honestly, no photograph can change the world – my hope is that it can inspire those who can change it. That is why I do it – to be the storyteller to those who can support these demining efforts.”

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Ukraine Yulia Svyrydenko said it was very important to look at the economic side of landmine problem as well – especially its impact on agriculture.

“Ukraine is an agricultural country, and almost 30% of its land is potentially contaminated,” Svyrydenko said.

“That's a huge loss. What we're trying to do now is to find a way to return land to production faster, by opening up the demining market and by innovating. I think that Ukraine will be able to find innovative approaches to speed up demining processes, and that we will be able to replicate that experience for other countries that faced the same challenge." 

The Head of the United Nations in Ukraine, Denise Brown, highlighted the need for urgent and strengthened collective action to tackle mine and other explosive remnants of war contamination in the country.

“This exhibition demonstrates the scale of the challenge the people of Ukraine is faced with,” Brown said. “The longer it takes to clear farmland, forests and ruined cities, the longer the people of Ukraine will be at danger and prevented from recovering from the devastation caused by Russia’s invasion. We are committed to support Ukraine to undertake this enormous task, with the help of the international community, and by the use of innovative technologies developed here in the country. It is one of the first steps to ensuring people can rebuild their lives.”

Roman Prymush, Deputy Head of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU) said, that the SESU and its partners aims to swiftly clear liberated areas of mines while prioritizing the safety of Ukrainians.

"Our sappers work tirelessly every day,” Prymush said. “However, the amount of work is enormous. Since the beginning of the war, we have received invaluable support from our friends and partners. I want to express my gratitude once again for the technical assistance our facility has received."


Photographer Giles Duley has for over 20 years been documenting the impact on landmines and UXOs globally on civilians, often decades after wars have ended, in countries such as Angola, Cambodia, Laos, Colombia, Lebanon, Iraq and Vietnam. Since 2015, he has been documenting the contamination of land in Ukraine. Duley founded Legacy of War Foundation, a charity working to support communities affected by conflict around the globe, including in Ukraine. He is a triple amputee, having lost both legs and his left arm to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in 2011. Duley was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2024 New Year Honours for his services to survivors of conflicts.

UNDP in Ukraine would like to express its deep gratitude to the national institutions (in particular the National Mine Action Authority, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, and the Ministry of Economy), embassies, NGOs (international and national), and individuals who contributed to making this photo exhibition possible. We are also grateful to the European Union, and the governments of Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom for their support for mine action in Ukraine.

Media enquiries

Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Head of Communications; e-mail: yuliia.samus@undp.org 

Photo exhibition “Defining Futures: People, Tech and Teams for a Mine-Free Ukraine” by photographer Giles Duley (Part 1)