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Western Sahara (MINURSO)

Photo: UNMAS Western Sahara

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Both sides of the 1,465 km berm that divides the Territory of Western Sahara remain heavily contaminated with landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) as a result of 16 years of conflict. Explosive hazards continue to endanger the lives of UN military personnel who monitor the ceasefire, international staff who provide logistical support east of the berm, and vulnerable nomadic and local populations and the livestock on which they are dependent.

In February 2008, UNMAS established a Mine Action Coordination Center (MACC) within the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). To date, the MACC has played a critical role in facilitating the Mission’s mandate to monitor the ceasefire. By clearing minefields and cluster munition strike areas as well as route verification and clearance, the MACC has enabled safe passage for MINURSO military observers and civilian logistical support. With funding from bilateral donors, the MACC also engages in activities supporting humanitarian mine clearance, mine risk education (MRE), capacity enhancement, landmine safety trainings and assistance to survivors of mine/ERW accidents.



The UNMAS Programme in the Territory of Western Sahara is funded primarily by the UN peacekeeping Assessed Budget (USD 3.265 million) through June 2019. The Governments of Germany (EUR 3.85 million) and Spain (EUR 45,000) are also supporting the UNMAS Programme through contributions to the VTF through December 2018 and June 2019 respectively. Additional funding is sought in the areas of humanitarian mine clearance, victim assistance, and capacity enhancement of local organisations to independently manage mine action related activities in the future.

Updated: July 2018

Programme of:



From the inception of the UNMAS programme in 2008 in the Territory of Western Sahara east of the berm to date:

  • 139,096,031 square meters of hazardous areas released (minefields and cluster munition strike areas)
  • 8,577 km of routes verified or cleared for UN military observers’ patrols (479 km verified since 1 July 2015)  
  • 7,798 landmines removed and destroyed
  • 8,295 unexploded ordnance destroyed
  • 23,240 sub-munitions destroyed
  • 3,060 MINURSO personnel received Landmine Safety Training
  • 69,502 local and nomadic people received mine risk education
  • 167 individuals (18 survivors of mine accidents and 149 of their dependents) received victim assistance