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UNMAS provides trainings to mine action sector on use of mine-detection dogs. Photo: UNMAS Colombia

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As a result of more than fifty years of conflict involving various non-state armed actors, Colombia suffers from widespread landmine and explosive remnant of war (ERW) contamination. Despite a declining trend in the number of mine and ERW victims, Colombia still registered 89 new casualties in 2016 and 18 during the first half of 2017. In 2016, the Government and non-state armed group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) ratified a peace deal. Mine action is now both benefitting from the accord and playing a major role in its implementation. A ceasefire between the Government and a second armed group, the People’s Liberation Army (ELN), was declared on 1 October 2017. Peace talks between the two are ongoing. Since 2010, UNMAS has assisted Descontamina Colombia and humanitarian demining organizations to expand the mine action sector and develop its coordination and regulatory frameworks.


UNMAS provides technical assistance to mine action authorities and state entities more broadly, supporting the Government’s efforts to meet its 2021 Ottawa Treaty deadline to clear antipersonnel landmines. Assistance is focussed on sharing international best practices, strategic and operational planning, sector coordination, the development of national mine action standards and accreditation capacity, as well as the institutional strengthening of Descontamina Colombia.

UNMAS also promotes the capacity development and growth of humanitarian demining organizations. With a particular emphasis on supporting Colombian civilian organizations, UNMAS provides assistance on the development of standard operating procedures, training of personnel and compliance with accreditation processes. In addition to technical assistance, UNMAS also funds demining organizations to implement survey and clearance operations.

In the Government–FARC-EP peace accord, demining is recognised as a pre-requisite for post-conflict rural development, as an occupation for reintegrated ex-combatants and as a method for their provision of victim reparations. UNMAS supports Descontamina Colombia in coordinating with Government and UN stakeholders to achieve these planned mine action contributions to the accord, as well as efforts to build confidence in peace talks with the ELN through pilot demining projects.


UNMAS Programme in Colombia’s planned activities for 2018 are fully funded. Additional activities could be defined, requiring further funding. For 2019, UNMAS is seeking USD 1.8 million to fund its core activities.

Updated: October 2017

Programme of:



Through the provision of technical assistance to national mine action body Dirección Descontamina Colombia, UNMAS has contributed to the following results:

  • National Mine Action Strategic Plan 2016-21 and operational demining plan launched in 2016.
  • Sector regulation improved with 13 new national mine action standards adopted and a further 12 under development.
  • 150 impacted municipalities assigned to demining organizations.
  • Demining capacity expanded through the accreditation of 9 civilian organizations.
  • Progress on the reintegration of ex-combatants through mine action, including the accreditation of Humanicemos DH, formed entirely by ex-combatants.
  • 94 mine-affected municipalities targeted by demining operations since the establishment of the UNMAS Colombia Programme in 2010.
  • 1,704 landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) destroyed since 2010.
  • 2.8 km2 of landmine/UXO contamination cleared since 2010.


Press Release