A member of the Portuguese Formed Police Unit takes part in an improvised explosive device (IED) exercise to destroy six grenades. © UN Photo/Martine Perret

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Improvised Explosive Devices

Funded through the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Mine Action, UNMAS draws from its unique experience and exposure to IED threat mitigation in asymmetric UN working environments, as well as its partnership with recognized international expert entities. In the area of IED threat mitigation, UNMAS provides expert assistance and comprehensive support to the whole UN system, and upon request, to regional arrangements and affected countries.

UNMAS achievements include a wide variety of actions deriving from its coordination of IED threat mitigation measures and activities in the areas of internal UN policies, guidelines and standards as well as coordination of operational measures and specific activities, such as:

  • Situation-specific risk education material as well as mobile safety apps in several languages; 
  • Online IED Hub 
  • IED Lexicon 
  • Chair of the IMAS Review Board and its IED sub-committee 
  • Coordination of safety and security documents as well as Internal guidelines and other internal authoritative documents 
  • Coordination of internal UN and external working groups 
  • Threat assessments and information management 
  • Clearance of remnant IEDs 
  • Training of humanitarian / NGO personnel on IED awareness, recognition, and reporting   
  • Training of peacekeepers in IED awareness, recognition and reporting  
  • Coordination of IED risk awareness training to at-risk civilians 
  • Support to African Union mine action strategy as well as capacity building efforts through the mentorship of AMISOM IEDD teams

Challenges

IEDs are an extremely dangerous weapon system due to their versatility, adaptability and method of employment.  IED incidents often result in large numbers of civilian casualties, widespread destruction of infrastructure, and the economic disruption of entire communities. The scope and effect of improvised explosive device disposal training, and subsequent equipping of staff, provides immediate tangible benefits to the safety and security of affected States.  It is vital that countries are able to effectively counter IEDs to ensure public and government security, thus enabling the progression of political, social, and economic stability.  UNMAS expertise is ideally placed to assist States in the development and training of a national capacity capable of mitigating the threats posed by IEDs.  UNMAS capacity building efforts have directly contributed to nations taking ownership of the safety and security of their civilian populations against the threat of IEDs.