Mandated by Security Council resolution 2164 (2014) UNMAS contributes to the following objectives
Recent and on-going armed conflict in Mali has created a problem of weapon and explosive hazard contamination which negatively impacts the civilian population as well as impedes stabilization efforts. This impact includes the potential loss of life and injury of people within affected communities but also the safe return of refugees and IDP's. Explosive remnants of war (ERW), improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and landmines also adversely impact livelihoods, freedom of movement and economic recovery, as well as the safe deployment of national and international forces and extension of state authority. Since January 2012, 129 civilian casualties have been confirmed as a result of ERW, of which more than half are children. Since early 2013, 325 Malian forces, peacekeeping troops, French forces, civilians and others have been killed or injured by IEDs
UNMAS is helping the Malian Defence Security Forces (MDSF) to develop its technical capacity to safely manage explosive threats. In addition to having delivered explosive hazards awareness training to 2,078 MDSF personnel, UNMAS has provided EOD training for 89 personnel from the MDSF. The last EOD level 1 courses have been delivered by the Humanitarian Demining Training Centre (CPADD) in Benin.
Ammunition Safety Management training has also been delivered for 57 MDSF personnel. In parallel, UNMAS has conducted initial assessments of 16 weapon and ammunition storage areas. As a result, a number of immediate hazards were identified, and stockpiles of obsolete and un-serviceable ammunition and weapon systems, including 85 unserviceable SA 3 missiles, and over 62 tons of obsolete ammunition and expired explosives destroyed during 2014. UNMAS is now helping the Malian army with the destruction of over 200 tons of additional ammunition; the largest stockpile to be disposed of by UNMAS and national authorities have to date. Technical support is also being provided to the National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons to enhance its capacity to coordinate mine action activities and to comply with regional and international treaty obligations.
UNMAS provides explosive threat mitigation support for MINUSMA, facilitating freedom of movement for peacekeeping and civilian personnel, and ensuring safety for the delivery of the mission mandate. Given the ongoing and steady drawdown of French troops, the mitigation of explosive threats in northern Mali has become an intrinsic mission requirement to ensure stability.
Thus far, UNMAS has delivered practical IED response training to 3,046 uniformed UN personnel and explosive awareness training for 8,388 people (MINUSMA, MDSF, UN staff and NGO’s). In 2014, UNMAS also trained 2,745 peacekeepers in the use of individual first aid kits (IFAK).
Specialized training, technical assistance and equipment have also been provided to the MINUSMA EOD companies deployed in the North. In addition, UNMAS provides technical expertise to MINUSMA contingents for safe handling, storage and disposal of weapons and ammunition during the course of disarmament initiatives.
As coordinator of humanitarian mine action activities and partners, UNMAS is tasking and supporting the deployment of international mine action operators to accessible priority areas with a view to survey, mark and clear dangerous areas, as well as to provide risk education and victim assistance to affected communities. UNMAS further ensures that international partners work in compliance with International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) through the deployment of Quality Assurance Officers in all areas of deployment from its field offices in Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal.
To date, 1,326 villages have been surveyed, leading to the safe destruction of 1,371 items of UXO’s from priority contaminated areas. In addition, more than 27,000 people have been reached with risk education.
UNMAS in Mali thanks its bilateral donors: Estonia, France, Japan, the UK, and the USA, and the in-kind assistance from Benin, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Updated December 2015