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Western Sahara (MINURSO)

Photo: UNMAS Western Sahara

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Both sides of the 1,465 km berm that divides the Territory of Western Sahara remain heavily contaminated with landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) as a result of 16 years of conflict. Explosive hazards continue to endanger the lives of UN military personnel who monitor the ceasefire, international staff who provide logistical support east of the berm, and vulnerable nomadic and local populations and the livestock on which they are dependent.

In February 2008, UNMAS established a Mine Action Coordination Center (MACC) within the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). To date, the MACC has played a critical role in facilitating the Mission’s mandate to monitor the ceasefire. By clearing minefields and cluster munition strike areas as well as route verification and clearance, the MACC has enabled safe passage for MINURSO military observers and civilian logistical support. With funding from bilateral donors, the MACC also engages in activities supporting humanitarian mine clearance, mine risk education (MRE), capacity enhancement and assistance to survivors of mine/ERW accidents.



UNMAS Programme in the Territory of Western Sahara is funded primarily by the UN peacekeeping Assessed Budget (USD 3.265 million) through June 2019. The Governments of Germany (EUR 3.85 million) and Spain (EUR 45,000) are also supporting the UNMAS Programme through contributions to the VTF through December 2018 and June 2019 respectively.

UNMAS is seeking USD 2.915 million to clear all known mine and ERW contamination in the Territory of Western Sahara, east of the berm, by 2021 (excluding the buffer zone). Funding is also sought to support victim assistance, MRE and capacity enhancement of local mine action organisations.

Updated: September 2018

Programme of:



Since its inception in 2008 until today, the UNMAS Programme in the Territory of Western Sahara has achieved:

  • 139,402,081 square meters of hazardous areas released (minefields and cluster munition strike areas)
  • 8,577 km of routes verified or cleared for UN military observers’ patrols (479 km verified since 1 July 2015)
  • 7,798 landmines removed and destroyed
  • 8,295 unexploded ordnance destroyed
  • 23,309 sub-munitions destroyed
  • 3,089 MINURSO personnel received Landmine Safety Training
  • 69,897 local and nomadic people received mine risk education
  • 208 individuals (23 survivors of mine accidents and 185 of their dependents) received victim assistance




Saving lives and livelihoods in the Territory of Western Sahara

In the southeastern part of the Territory of Western Sahara, people as well a