In the context of an on-going internal armed conflict, Colombia is one of the most affected countries in the world with more than 10.000 victims since 1990.
Since 2010 UNMAS has been assisting PAICMA in its operational transition to integrate civilian humanitarian demining organizations into the national mine action framework with emphasis on international and national standards, operational coordination systems, capacity to regulate the planning, tasking, recording and promoting the implementation of a quality management system for the sector including the military humanitarian demining battalion. By mid-2013 the final steps allowing the deployment of civilian demining operators were concluded with UNMAS participating actively throughout the process providing its international expertise. UNMAS continues to work with PAICMA and the OAS on the implementation of the national accreditation system and on the improvement of the external monitoring of operations.
To strengthen the national technical and operational coordination framework with a focus on reducing and eliminating the impact of landmines on communities and mobilize more resources for the sector to boost the capacity of the humanitarian demining operators.
To support as a priority the deployment of NTS teams in support of land release and land restitution plans. In order to identify the scope of the mine problem in a systematic survey of all the suspected areas down to hamlet and farms in prioritized municipalities.
UNMAS will be involved in the following activities:
Colombia has been impacted by a deadly internal conflict for decades creating one of the most complex landmine problems in the world. Since 1990 Anti-Personnel Mines, IEDs functioning as mines, and other explosive ordnance have been used by non-state armed groups and paramilitary forces. The precise nature and extent of contamination remains unclear. Information in the national database indicates that 31 of the 32 Departments/Provinces in Colombia may be mine-affected.
Since 2005 a military battalion has been dedicated to the mine clearance of army bases and since 2007 to humanitarian mine clearance tasks following their own standards. The Mine Action Centre (PAICMA) was established in 2007 under as a Presidential Programme to coordinate mine action.
Since then only limited technical survey work has been undertaken by NGOs to enhance the availability of information and to help inform planning. This is set to change, as The HALO Trust, the first accredited operator will imminently begin non-technical survey and demining operations followed by other operators. The battalion clearance capacity has increased but much remains to be done to address and comply with needs and obligations. Mine risk education and victim assistance projects have been taking place in various locations where security permits. Implementing a wide spread non technical survey program to define better the scope of the problem is a priority requiring more civilian capacity and a strong support from the international community. Non technical survey operations will directly impact the Land Restitution program of the government in the context of the Victim’s Law.
Current peace negotiations between the government and non-state armed groups further intensify the urgency to develop a strong demining sector in anticipation of an increased demand for mine action capacity and a possible participation in a DDR process
The UNMAS total provisional budget for the period January 2013 – May 2014 is US$ 1,658,000
This budget is funded though the VTF from the following sources :
European Union US$ 1,224,000
The Netherlands US$ 276,000
New Zealand US$ 124,000
Spain US$ 34,000
There is no funding shortfall for UNMAS until May 2014 but there is a requirement now to attract additional funding also to the UN VTF to support the sector and increase the needed humanitarian Mine Action activities in Colombia with more civilian operators ready to operate in humanitarian demining but also to support other pillars of mine action.
In the case of a successful Peace and Ceasefire agreement, funding requirements may dramatically change for the sector in order to address the monitoring of the agreement implementation, returnees, demobilization and integration of ex-combatants in humanitarian demining activities.
A projection for a US$ 5,000.000 initial resource mobilization requirement is anticipated yearly from 2014 onwards.
Updated August 2013