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In Gao region, UNMAS, with its implementing partner MAG, delivers risk education sessions on the danger of ERW to promote safe behaviors. Photo: UNMAS/Sonia Pezier

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Following the outbreak of conflict in 2012, explosive hazards became a new threat in Mali, with a broadranging, detrimental impact on the safety and freedom of movement in the central and northern parts of the country. This contamination hampers the delivery of humanitarian assistance, access to livelihoods and economic recovery of the population, return of refugees and displaced persons, in addition to threatening the lives of civilians. The use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by perpetrators of violence in Mali also impedes stabilization efforts. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) is mandated by the UN General Assembly resolution 70/80 (2015) on Assistance in Mine Action. In Mali, UNMAS is also mandated by UN Security Council resolution 2364 (2017) which prioritizes the protection of civilians and stabilization efforts, as well as the enhancement of national capacities in explosive ordnance disposal and weapons and ammunition management.


UNMAS vision for Mali: The Government of Mali, Malian civil society and the United Nations are able to mitigate and respond to explosive threats to significantly reduce the impact of landmines, ERW and IEDs, at which point UN Mine Action assistance is no longer requested.

As the national coordinator for mine action, UNMAS implements, supports and coordinates humanitarian activities which include: survey, marking and clearance of prioritised dangerous areas; explosive hazard risk education; victim assistance and armed violence reduction. UNMAS also ensures that international partners work in compliance with International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) through quality assurance from its field offices in Gao, Kidal, Menaka, Mopti, Timbuktu and Tessalit.

UNMAS assists the national authorities in developing technical capacity to safely manage explosive threats, coordinate the response and comply with IMAS through the provision of training, technical equipment and support, and the mentoring of MDSF personnel. UNMAS also provides advisory support and training to the Malian authorities in weapons and ammunition storage and management, in addition to advising the Permanent Secretariat to Counter the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons on Mali’s international obligations regarding mines, ERW and weapons and ammunition.

UNMAS provides explosive threat mitigation support to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), through technical advice and delivery of in-country and pre-deployment training, in order to facilitate freedom of movement for civilian and peacekeeping personnel, and improve resilience and safety for the delivery of the mission mandate. Specialized support is also provided to the MINUSMA EOD companies.


UNMAS Programme in Mali is primarily funded through the MINUSMA Assessed Budget and bilateral donors: Japan and donors contributing to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in Mali, as well as Benin, Switzerland and the United States of America through in-kind support.


Explosive Threat Mitigation Support

Following the outbreak of conflict in 2012, explosive hazards became a new threat in Mali, with a broadranging, detrimental impact on safety and freedom of movement in the central and northern parts of the country. The use of IEDs by perpetrators of violence particularly impedes stabilization efforts and the delivery of the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Since July 2013, UNMAS has recorded 442 IED incidents leaving 247 people dead and injuring 763 more. While MINUSMA troops and Malian Defence and Security Forces (MDSF) are severely impacted, civilians are also affected.

In Mali, UNMAS is an integral part of MINUSMA and is mandated by the UN Security Council resolution 2364 (2017).

Since 2013, UNMAS has played a vital role in mitigating explosive threats through (i) humanitarian mine action, (ii) capacity building in support of national authorities and (iii) support to MINUSMA in mitigating the impact of explosive threats.

IED threat mitigation is key to the implementation of the MINUSMA mandate since terrorist activity has intensified and the number of IED incidents and victims may continue to rise. UNMAS has been providing extensive support to MINUSMA since 2013, to support the Mission’s resilience, mobility and self-sustainability of IED threat mitigation. A first in UN peacekeeping, UNMAS pre-deployment training, provision of specialized and protective equipment to MINUSMA EOD companies and the infantry battalions have proven indispensable for the delivery of the mandate.


UNMAS advisory support to the Mission since 2013 led to the development of a counter-IED governance framework and of standard operating procedures (SOPs). The development and implementation of a selfsustaining approach for IED threat mitigation has been an innovative achievement for both UNMAS and the Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).

A large range of training is provided to MINUSMA personnel, starting with the provision of explosive hazard awareness and first aid training to all United Nations personnel expected to travel in central and northern Mali, as part of United Nations mandatory training.

UNMAS also ensures all infantry troops are trained in IED awareness and immediate safety response prior to their deployment in Mali, in addition to refresher training and specialized training in IED search and detection, once in-country. To enhance mobility of the troops, UNMAS also provides training designed for Convoy Commanders. In parallel, UNMAS supports MINUSMA EOD companies with the provision of EOD and IED disposal pre-deployment and in-country training as well as training on specialized equipment.

For TCCs to reach self-sustainability, UNMAS now focuses on providing training of trainers to MINUSMA infantry battalions and EOD companies in their home countries, as well as mentoring support to all contingents deployed in Mali and during the pre-deployment preparation phase of the TCCs.

Specialized equipment has been provided to both infantry troops and to the EOD companies, such as mine-protected vehicles (MPVs), mine detectors, specialized explosive ordnance disposal and IED disposal equipment, individual first aid kits (IFAKs), ground alert system (GA- 10), electronic countermeasures (ECM). To complement services the Mission does not have internally, UNMAS provides explosive detection dogs in five locations and is currently mobilizing an EOD team for Timbuktu.


UNMAS IED threat mitigation support to MINUSMA is primarily funded through the MINUSMA Assessed Budget and in-kind support from Benin, the Netherlands and the United States of America.

Updated October 2017

Programme of:



Since 2013, UNMAS Mali has contributed to:

  • Protection of Civilians, with a marked decrease in the number of victims of explosive remnants of war (ERW). In 2012: 53; 2013: 54; 2014: 38; 2015: 37; 2016: 23; 2017: 16 victims.
  • Improved access to livelihoods, freedom of movement and economic recovery for the population.
  • Increased safety for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
  • National authorities have a basic explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) response capacity, including following the establishment of an EOD Operations Coordination Centre (CCO).

4,347,169 square meters of land released to communities, 1,817 villages surveyed, 1,721 items of ERW and 101,006 items of small arms ammunition destroyed. Training of 539 Malian Defence and Security Forces (MDSF) personnel in explosive threat mitigation.

More than 205,000 people reached with UNMAS-funded risk education; awareness messages broadcast in five national languages through local radio stations; and over 500 humanitarian workers attended explosive hazards awareness sessions.

341 tons of obsolete, unsafe and unserviceable ammunition, including 85 obsolete surface-to-air missiles (2014), and nearly 11,000 fire arms safely destroyed in support to the Malian authorities. This represents the world’s largest ammunition stockpile disposed of by a national authority with UNMAS assistance.

24 armouries and ammunition storage areas have been rehabilitated, and more than 257 MDSF personnel trained in safe and secure weapons and ammunitions management (WAM).


Explosive threat mitigation support

Despite nearly double the number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) since 2013, MINUSMA casualty rates have not followed suit.

8 MINUSMA explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams are now primary responders to IEDs, with UNMAS training, equipment and mentoring support. The rotation of MINUSMA EOD companies from Nepal and Cambodia accredited to operate effectively and independently within only four months of arrival in Mali.

MINUSMA Infantry troops’ confidence for explosive search and detection is steadily increasing, with UNMAS training, equipment and mentoring support. So far 43 platoons have been trained in IED search and detection and 83 military personnel received the UNMAS convoy commander course.

MINUSMA has the capability to gather information on 100 per cent of accessible IED incidents.

An IED threat mitigation structure within MINUSMA has been developed to include specific procedures and personnel enhancing the coordination of MINUSMA IED threat mitigation assets and training requirements.

For safety, resilience and freedom of movement for the Mission, UNMAS provided relevant levels of training to more than 11,000 MINUSMA personnel (civilian and uniformed) in 2016/17 alone.



UNMAS Mali Flickr (Latest Photos from UNMAS-Mali)


Armed Violence Reduction in Mopti Region (September 2015)

Mine Action Emergency Response in Mali July 2015


Security Council Resolutions

S/RES/2100 (2013)


Press Release

UNMAS Mali finalises the demolition of 85 obsolete SA 3 missiles (6 June 2014) 

UNMAS au Mali finalise la démolition de 85 missiles SA 3 obsolètes (le vendredi 6 juin 2014)

Government of Japan Provides more Support to UNMAS Humanitarian Mine Action Work in Africa (22 May 2013)