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UNMAS implementing partners searching and clearing explosive hazards in Mosul’s Old City. Photo: UNMAS

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Extensive conflict in Iraq to retake cities from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has displaced more than 5.8 million people since 2014, with the associated military campaigns having significantly contaminated areas with explosive hazards including IEDs.

3.2 million people have since returned home and the Government of Iraq, supported by the UN, is working to facilitate the safe, dignified and voluntary return of the remaining 2.6 million people.

The presence of explosive hazards in liberated areas impedes urgently needed humanitarian response efforts and prevents civilians from safely returning home. The explosive hazards problem is complex, extensive, and exceeds the capacity of the existing resources to address it. The Government of Iraq, the UN, and other national and international stakeholders have prioritized the clearance of EH as the essential ‘first step’ before any rehabilitation or reconstruction work can be carried out.


UNMAS addresses the threat posed by explosive hazards in Iraq in through three pillars of work:

A blended approach, combining national and international commercial companies and NGOs, enables survey and clearance response in areas liberated from ISIL in direct support of the Government of Iraq/UN stabilization plan and humanitarian response. As soon as areas are declared liberated, UNMAS will first deploy risk assessment teams, followed by specialized teams including: survey, high-risk search, battle area clearance, mechanical assets, and/or debris management.

UNMAS supports a nationally led and implemented response. Building on existing capacities, UNMAS focus is to provide training and technical advice to the Government of Iraq in various ministries: mine action authorities, Ministry of Interior (police and civil defence), and government operations coordination centres to support the management, regulation and coordination of response to EH. The “National Strategy and Executive Plan for Mine Action 2017-2021” was launched in December 2017 with support from UNMAS.

Coordinated with the UN Protection Cluster and DMA, RE is provided to IDPs, returnees and resident communities. Efforts are specifically targeting communities living in, or returning to, liberated areas known or suspected to be contaminated with IEDs and explosive hazards. UNMAS has provided national authorities with management training to improve coordination and management of RE in Iraq. Risk Awareness is provided to humanitarian and stabilization partners.


UNMAS Iraq is seeking $250 million to support operations in Iraq in 2017 and 2018. Of this $250 million, $103.25M has been secured and pledged, leaving a shortfall of $146.75 million for the remaining period. UNMAS Iraq has received contributions from Australia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Portugal, Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom and negotiations are underway for in-kind contributions from New Zealand and Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) / Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Updated: January 2018

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UNMAS Achievements in 2017

  • About 37 million square meters were surveyed and cleared, resulting in rendering safe 44,376 explosive hazards, including 748 IEDs.
  • In support of high priority stabilization and humanitarian interventions, UNMAS teams conducted survey and assessments in 622 priority sites in Al-Anbar, Salah al-Din and Ninewa governorates, removing life-threating explosive hazards from prioritized areas.
  • To support the Government to respond to explosive hazards, UNMAS trained over 300 Government personnel at various levels. In addition UNMAS trained 124 UN personnel in IED search and awareness.
  • 5,905 Risk Education (RE) sessions were delivered primarily in and around IDP camps, schools and other high priority areas in Al-Anbar, Salah ah-Din and Ninewa governorates.
  • RE was provided to over 414,587 beneficiaries assisting high-risk populations on how to behave safely in areas with suspected explosive hazards. In addition, social media RE video campaigns reached almost 3,000,000 views.
  • UNMAS delivered training sessions for a total of 683 humanitarian staff from UNAMI, UN agencies and NGOs in Iraq and provided RE to 495 UNDP cash-for-work employees in support of stabilization initiatives.



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