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Afghanistan

Afghanistan celebrated the International Mine Awareness Day 2015. Photo: Fardin Waezi/UNAMA

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ABOUT UNMAS IN AFGHANISTAN

Forty-six humanitarian and commercial organizations comprise one of the largest mine action programmes in the world. Collectively known as the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA), mine action in Afghanistan provides employment to over 9,000 Afghan citizens. In 2002, the Government of Afghanistan delegated responsibility for mine action to UNMAS and subsidiary body, the Mine Action Coordination Centre for Afghanistan (MACCA). In 2008, the Government assigned the Directorate for Mine Action Coordination (DMAC), under the Afghan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), to work with MACCA and UNMAS to address the problem of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) and assist the Government in meeting its obligations under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty (APMBT).

ACHIEVEMENTS

MAPA has achieved a great deal during its 26 years: 23,806 hazardous areas cleared/cancelled; 2,120 square kilometres of land released; 17,930,606 items of unexploded ordnance destroyed; 697,520 anti-personnel mines cleared; 28,798 anti-tank mines safely removed and disposed of; and 739 abandoned improvised explosive devices destroyed. Civilian casualties from mines and ERW dropped from 16 daily in 1998 to 1 daily in 2015.

Over the last three years, UNMAS provided technical assistance to the Afghan Government, which requested a 10-year extension to its deadline for meeting APMBT commitments. The strategic plan, required to achieve mine-free status by 2023, involves 308 projects and is now managed by MACCA. The target for the first year was achieved on 31 March 2014; however, in year two, only 61% of the projected target was achieved as a result of the funding shortfall. Last year, MAPA received USD 33.98 million to clear mines and ERW, amounting to less than 54 per cent of the budget required for clearance.

The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities was also ratified by the Government in 2012 with UNMAS counsel.

The roles of UNMAS and MACCA split in 2012, leaving MACCA staffed entirely by Afghan nationals, an achievement in and of itself. Additional steps to transfer responsibility for mine action from the UN to the Afghan Government are in progress, with the DMAC strengthened by appointing a senior MACCA staff member as Director and drafting mine action legislation.

While MAPA has seen excellent results in Afghanistan, funding cuts threaten further headway. Additional allocations are imperative so recent progress is not wasted and Afghanistan becomes mine-free by 2023.

CHALLENGES

Although 83 per cent of minefields (66.5 per cent of total hazardous area in the country) have been cleared, the remainder is enough to classify Afghanistan as one of the most contaminated in the world. An average of 33 civilians were injured or killed each month in 2015. 1,612 communities remain affected in 258 districts across the country. Over 107 square kilometres of minefields impede upon national infrastructure projects (highway and road networks, airports, coal mines, transmission lines, new settlements, etc.), delaying implementation until clearance.

While an ongoing challenge involves new contamination from continued conflict, new challenges are emerging as a result of unexploded ordnance contamination in international military bases and firing ranges following the withdrawal of forces. One remarkable achievement this past year was the expansion of the largest ever ERW clearance operation in the world, that of the abandoned international military firing ranges. UNMAS continues to advocate for a solution to the remaining battlefields as a result of the conflict since 2001, as well as the ERW and pressure-plate IED contamination, which are now causing an increasing number of civilian casualties.

FUNDING OVERVIEW 

To reach the third target under the APMBT, the programme needs an additional USD 36 million. Sustained financing is critical for MAPA to declare Afghanistan mine-free by 2023. Achieving this goal would be historic for Afghanistan and the world, given the scope of the problem there. If funds are not secured, Afghanistan will not fulfill its international obligations under the APMBT and mine-affected communities will continue to live under the threat of mines and ERW. 

 

A short proposal for support over the next two years can be found here:

http://www.macca.org.af/macca/proposals-requiring-funding/

 

UNMAS thanks the following donors for their generous support to MAPA through the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action this year: Canada, Finland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States of America.

FUNDING NEEDED 

 

(April 2015 – March 2016)

 

Coordination

VA

Demining

MRE

Budget

7,800,000

1,336,800

65,893,570

1,665,000

VTF - Existing

6,618,057

0

7,033,867

333,720

Bilateral - Existing

0

456,157

23,410,370

688,508

Needed funds

1,181,943

880,643

35,449,333

642,772

 

Updated: August 2015

Programme of:

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LINKS

MACCA Website

UNAMA Website

Press Releases

The Clearance of International Military High Explosive Training Ranges Decreases Civilian Casualties in 2015


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