Demining projects in conflict ravaged Somalia received a million dollar lift from the Japanese government this month (May).
The support will, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) said, go to its humanitarian mine action to promote peace and safety in Somalia project. It aims to mitigate the threat posed by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) to vulnerable populations around the country.
The funding is earmarked for delivering explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) and non-technical survey (NTS) activities in Somalia.
“We are grateful for continued support from the government of Japan to build a peaceful and safe Somalia and protect its population from the dangers of explosive hazards. UNMAS is improving security for the Somali people and co-ordinating humanitarian mine action intervention in the country,” UNMAS Chief of Mine Action in Somalia, Justin Smith, said.
Landmines and ERW continue to endanger Somali lives, causing accidents – some severe – and injuries. Humanitarian mine action partners recorded 1 179 civilian casualties due to landmines and ERW incidents since 2004.
The explosive contamination not only impacts the safety of communities it also hampers economic development restricting access to land, resources and preventing socio-economic activities. Humanitarian mine action is critical for the safety of the civilian population and an essential enabler of humanitarian assistance and stabilisation according to Smith.
UNMAS will conduct key project activities in accessible districts of Federal Member State Galmudug, a priority area for mine action because of the high level of recorded explosive ordnance contamination and accidents compared with other parts of Somalia.
Verifying the extent of the contamination will allow for effective response to these threats. NTS will define the full breadth of explosive ordnance contamination in Galmudug while raising community awareness about contamination risks and how to deal with them through EORE sessions.
The Somali government, a State Party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) since 2012, was granted a five-year extension of applicable mine clearance obligations to 2027.
The extension should provide ample time to renew Somalia’s commitment to complete clearance of all known contaminated areas.
The humanitarian mine action to promote peace and safety in Somalia project is expected to assist by supporting the Somali Federal Government in building institutional and operational capacity to co-ordinate and oversee implementation of mine action activities and comply with international treaty obligations.