As a result of more than fifty years of conflict involving various non-state armed actors and criminal groups, 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 222 new victims in 2015 and 74 during 2016. In November 2016, peace negotiations between the Government of Colombia and FARC-EP, the country’s largest non-state armed group, culminated with the ratification of a peace deal. Mine Action is set to both benefit from the accord and play a major role in its implementation. Peace negotiations with the ELN, Colombia’s second largest non-state armed group, began in February 2017. Since 2010, UNMAS has assisted the national Mine Action body DAICMA and humanitarian demining organizations to expand the Mine Action sector and develop its coordination and regulatory frameworks.
UNMAS provides technical assistance to Colombian 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 DAICMA.
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.
Under the Government–FARC-EP peace accord, demining will represent a pre-requisite for planned post-conflict rural development, support the substitution of illicit crops, provide an occupation to demobilised ex-combatants and constitute a form of victim reparation for those sanctioned by the newly established Tribunal for Peace. UNMAS supports DAICMA in coordinating with Government and UN stakeholders to plan for the implementation of these agreements, efforts to reintegrate ex-combatants, and pilot peace projects based on demining.
UNMAS is seeking USD 1.6 million for 2017 to enable its technical assistance, of which approximately USD 1.4 million has been committed. A similar budget is required for 2018, with no funds confirmed to date.
Updated: March 2017