Since independence in 1960, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been locked in a spiral of armed conflicts resulting in nationwide contamination of landmines and ERW, including cluster-munitions. Ongoing armed conflicts and proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) in eastern DRC pose a significant risk to civilians on a daily basis and to overall stabilization efforts. UNMAS is present in the DRC since 2002 and has offices in Kinshasa, Goma, Bunia, Bukavu and Mbuji-Mayi to coordinate and implement activities country-wide in support of the GoDRC, MONUSCO and the UN Country Team (UNCT). In compliance with the UN Security Council Resolutions 2098 (2013) and 2277 (2016) and as part of the Protection Cluster, UNMAS implements activities aiming at mitigating the impact of the explosive hazard contamination on civilians through explosive ordnance disposal, risk education and ammunition management support to the national authorities, in line with international standards.
UNMAS embeds the guiding principles of national ownership, gender mainstreaming and conflict sensitivity in all its activities, namely:
UNMAS has commenced a number of WAM capacity enhancement projects in support of the PNC, with a focus on weapons marking/control and training in basic WAM. UNMAS is supporting the GoDRC in the development of a national action plan on SALW which aims to reduce the risks posed to civilians by the proliferation of weapons and ammunition, and continues to actively engage with the donor community to widen its scope of support.
UNMAS, in collaboration with the National Mine Action Authority (CCLAM), has coordinated the survey, clearance and release of SHAs throughout the DRC. To date, 65 per cent of the SHAs identified have been cleared and handed over. If the current pace of clearance is maintained, the DRC may become free from the known effect of mines, and thereby Ottawa Treaty compliant, before the target date of 01 January 2021 subject to availability of adequate funding to clear the remaining areas.
To promote community safety, safer behaviour around weapons and ammunition, and to raise awareness on the dangers of ERW and SALW, UNMAS and its implementing partners carry out RE in conflict-affected communities. Channels for conveying RE messages include organized RE sessions, radio broadcasting in local languages, SMS campaigns, public events and the distribution of leaflets with information on how to identify and report ERW.
In 2017, UNMAS programme in the DRC implements humanitarian mine action activities within the framework of the UN Country Team and in support of the GoDRC with a budget of USD 2.45 million, thanks to the generous contributions from the Governments of Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, in addition to the in-kind support from Switzerland.
In support of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (GoDRC), the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) conducts joint operations with the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) to neutralize armed groups that continue to destabilize the country. Ongoing armed conflicts and proliferation of SALW in eastern DRC pose a significant risk to civilians and to overall stabilization efforts.
The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) is present in the DRC since 2002, with offices in Kinshasa, Goma, Bunia, Bukavu and Mbuji-Mayi to coordinate and implement activities country-wide in support of the GoDRC, MONUSCO and the UN Country Team. In compliance with the UN Security Council Resolutions 2098 (2013) and 2277 (2016), UNMAS conducts activities aiming at mitigating explosive threats, including though supporting the national authorities in safely storing and managing national weapons and ammunition stockpiles, in line with international standards.
UNMAS contributes to the achievement of MONUSCO’s mandated objectives under the following Mission’s pillars:
UNMAS mitigates the threat posed by ERW to civilians before, during and after MONUSCO Force operations against armed groups through EOD operations and risk education and awareness activities. UNMAS is also on emergency standby for rapid assessment and clearance interventions to respond to immediate threats posed by the presence of ERW, when requested by national authorities and civilians.
In order to facilitate MONUSCO Force operations, UNMAS destroys obsolete, abandoned or surrendered weapons and ammunition and provides technical advice to the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) component and other Mission sections on the safe handling and storage of weapons in their operations, as required.
In support of the MONUSCO exit strategy and SCR 2277, UNMAS encourages national institutions to increase weapons, ammunition and stockpile safety to reduce the risks of misappropriation, theft and misuse. UNMAS supports security state actors through training in safe weapons and ammunition management, and the provision of safe storage solutions in the Mission’s area of responsibility.
For the 2016/2017 fiscal year, UNMAS received USD 2.8 million from the UN Assessed Budget to provide EOD support to the Mission. UNMAS is providing further support to the Mission in weapons and ammunition stockpile management and EOD through additional USD 999,400 from MONUSCO underspend 2015/2016.
Updated: March 2017