Mine action makes it possible for peacekeepers to carry out patrols, for humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance, and for ordinary citizens to live without the fear that a single misstep could cost them their lives.
Mine Action Day 2015
The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is commemorated on 4 April each year. Events take place around the world including in UN missions, information centres and permanent UN offices in Bangkok, Geneva, Nairobi and New York.
On this day the UN reaffirms its commitment to a world free from the threat of mines and other remnants of war. This year the 12 UN entities working on mine action are promoting the work of women in mine action. The efforts of women make mine action work more efficient and effective.
Women's participation is crucial at all stages of mine action: from surveying mined areas, to deciding where to begin clearance, to conducting mine risk education and post-clearance development initiatives.
Women represent more than 20 per cent of UNMAS field staff and at Headquarters it is more than 40 per cent. The United Nations and its partners, wherever they work on mine action, strive to include women and men in all aspects of the work with the aim of achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The UN mine action community is marking this year's International Day by hosting a series of events in New York and across the globe including special photo exhibitions in Ethiopia (African Union), Mali, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Geneva and New York . In New York, UNMAS is partnering with Critical Mass to create a virtual mine field at the New Museum.
A female deminer at work.
The problem of landmines and explosive remnants of war, including cluster bombs, can be solved within our lifetime if everyone does their part.
The objective of mine action is to identify and reduce the impact and risk of landmines and explosive remnants of war, including cluster bombs, to a level where people can live safely.
Mine action entails more than removing landmines from the ground. It includes high impact efforts aimed at protecting people from danger, helping victims become self-sufficient and active members of their communities and providing opportunities for sustainable development and stability.
The impact of landmines
Landmines and explosive remnants of war kill or injure thousands of individuals every year. In addition to the human toll they:
- Close roads, prevent children from going to school, stop farmers from working the land.
- Hamper economic and social development.
- Rob people of their livelihoods.
- Hinder reconstruction after war.
- Block safe deployment of peacekeepers and the delivery of humanitarian relief.
Landmines and unexploded cluster bombs don't discriminate, they are just as likely to kill a child as they are a soldier. And they keep on killing long after the guns of war have been silenced.
UNMAS on the ground
Founded in 1997, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) is the focal point for the coordination of the UN effort to eliminate landmines and explosive remnants of war and to mitigate their impact on people's lives.
UNMAS has changed lives and protected livelihoods in conflict- torn communities in areas including Abyei area (Sudan/South Sudan), Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Nepal, Gaza in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and the region of the Western Sahara.
Hover over the pins on the map to find out about the work of mine action in 2012. You will discover information on the number of mines we have cleared, the amount of land we have made safe and the education programs we run.
UN Millennium Development Goals
Global mine action efforts make an invaluable contribution to humanitarian relief efforts and peace operations and development initiatives that are vital to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The mine action work of the UN is guided by a solid framework of international humanitarian law, including the new Convention on Cluster Munitions, and also by human rights treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
UNMAS administers the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action, which has received more than $780 million in contributions since its establishment in 1994. UNMAS continues to build new partnerships with traditional and non-traditional donors including individuals, private corporations and foundations.
Get involved and donate to the mine action work of the United Nations by visiting unmas.org