Over the past decade, the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments has been fully engaged in supporting demining actions across the world through its Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. These have brought tangible benefits for communities in affected areas, creating new opportunities for growth and stability. The EU funding was often the only source of financing to support:
Currently, a series of mine-action projects are on-going in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Burkina Faso, Somalia and Sri Lanka and are delivering positive results for people in the area.
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the EU-funded action contributed to the disposal of over 9 100 tons of ammunition, the equivalent to 26% of the total stockpile as of 2005. This has contributed to decreasing the threat of uncontrolled explosions posed by chemically unstable and highly hazardous ammunition and remnants of war in the country. Over the past two years, the EU-funding provided has helped to map the remaining contaminated areas and contributed to a ‘mine-free’ Bosnia-Herzegovina, in line with the Ottawa Convention. These programmes are implemented by UNDP in close coordination with the European Union Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina (EUFOR Althea).
In Ukraine, the EU supports a mine action programme to strengthen the resilience and stability in eastern Ukraine, including regions bordering the Sea of Azov. This addresses the critical issue of mine clearance and release of agricultural land in the southern Donetsk Oblast. Up to 800 000 square metres will be analysed and cleared of existing mines. The local population will thus have safe access to agricultural land to provide for their livelihoods. Also, a broad mine risk education campaign is ongoing to prevent any accidents or hazards caused by mines.
In Libya, the EU, through its support via the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, remains the leading donor for humanitarian demining. Currently three complementary actions are ongoing in the country.
In Sri Lanka, the EU supports a large-scale mine clearance project in the North of the country. 1 000 000 square metres of mine-contaminated land will be cleared as a result of the project, allowing rural development and resettlement of internally displaced persons and refugees. This will also contribute to peacebuilding and reconciliation in the area.
Key figures and main achievements to date:
In Syria, an EU-funded project aimed at Creating Safer Communities in North East Syria to Support Safe and Sustainable Returns and Stabilization is ongoing. It aims at creating safer communities, enable safe and sustainable returns, and thus encourage stabilization and early recovery through risk education and protection from explosive hazards (surveys and clearance). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, surveys and clearance activities were stopped for the moment, while risk education activities are ongoing.
In Lebanon, an EU-funded project provides capacity building on humanitarian demining, while in Somalia activities enhance peace and stability by building local capacities to mitigate security and safety risks posed by explosive hazards. At community level, the project engages with affected local populations, increasing their capacity to address explosive hazards found in their communities and thus saving lives.
In Burkina Faso, the EU financed the acquisition of specialized equipment to detect improvised explosive devices and provided training to the Burkinabe Military Engineers on the use of the detecting equipment.