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Special event "Afghanistan 2023 - Mine Free" on the occasion of the International Mine Awareness Day. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

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Collectively known as the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA), 52 humanitarian and commercial organisations comprise one of the largest mine action programmes in the world, providing employment for over 8,000 Afghans. In 2002, the Government of Afghanistan entrusted interim responsibility for mine action to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the coordination body it manages - the Mine Action Coordination Centre for Afghanistan (MACCA). In January 2008, the Government designated the Department of Mine Clearance (DMC) under the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) to work collaboratively with MACCA and UNMAS to address the problems of landmines and explosive remnants of war and to assist the Government in meeting its obligations under the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Treaty (APMBT). 


While 81% of minefields have been cleared, the 19% that remain qualify Afghanistan as one of the countries most affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war. In spite of significant achievements, an average of 39 civilians each month were injured or killed in 2013. Nearly one million Afghans (3% of the total population) live within 500 meters of landmine contaminated areas while 1,578 communities remain affected in 246 districts across the country. Over 131 square km of minefields impact on national development infrastructure projects (highway and road networks, airports, mines, transmission lines, new settlements, etc.), delaying their delivery until the minefields are cleared.

There is an emerging challenge of unexploded ordnance contamination in former international military facilities and firing ranges coming from the withdrawal of international military forces. Another challenge that needs to be addressed is the new contamination resulting from on-going fighting. 


MAPA has now delivered mine action projects for 25 years. Much has been achieved in this time: 22,995 hazardous areas cleared; 2,067 square km of land released; 16,543,765 items of unexploded ordnance destroyed; 682,353 anti-personnel mines destroyed; 30,850 anti-tank mines destroyed, and 739 abandoned improvised explosive devices destroyed. Civilian casualties from mines and explosive remnants of war dropped from 16 casualties per day in 1998 to 39 per month in 2013.

During 2012 and 2013, UNMAS provided technical assistance to the Afghan Government to request a ten year extension to its deadline for meeting its APMBT commitments. As part of this request, a detailed work plan to achieve mine-free status by 2023 was developed (the Ottawa Plan). This is currently managed by MACCA. The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) was also ratified by the Government in 2012 with the support and counsel of UNMAS.

In addition to these achievements, the roles of UNMAS and MACCA were separated in 2012, leaving MACCA now staffed entirely by Afghans. Steps to transfer full responsibility for mine action coordination from the UN to the Afghan Government are in progress, with the DMC strengthened through the appointment of a senior MACCA staff member as its director and through the drafting of mine action legislation.

MAPA is achieving excellent results in Afghanistan but funding cuts by donors threaten this progress. It is imperative that focus is maintained so gains made are not lost and Afghanistan becomes mine-free.


The APMBT extension request presents a work plan to deliver 308 projects. The target for the first year was achieved on 31 March 2014. In order to reach the second year’s target, the programme needs US$76.9 million. A short proposal describing the needs for the next two years can be found through this link:


Sustained donor support is critical to the success of MAPA and its ability to declare Afghanistan mine-free by 2023. Achieving this goal would be a truly historic success story for Afghanistan and the world. If funding is not secured, Afghanistan will not fulfill its international obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty and mine-affected communities will continue to live with the presence of mines and explosive remnants of war. 

UNMAS thanks the following donors for their support to MAPA through the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action in 2012 - 2014: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Netherlands, Oman, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America and the European Union.

FUNDING NEEDED FOR 1393 (April 2014 – March 2015)


1393 (April 2014 – March 2015)






Funding needed





VTF - Existing





Bilateral - Existing





NEEDED for 1393





Updated August 2014


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