The Focal Point For UN Mine Action
UNMAS collaborates with 11 other UN departments, agencies, programmes and funds to ensure an effective, proactive and coordinated response to the problems of landmines and explosive remnants of war, including cluster munitions.
UNMAS was established in 1997 to serve as the UN focal point for mine action and to support the UN’s vision of “a world free of the threat of landmines and unexploded ordnance, where individuals and communities live in a safe environment conducive to development, and where mine survivors are fully integrated into their societies.”
UNMAS coordinates the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action, which brings together working-level representatives of UN organizations involved in mine action to develop or revise policies and strategies, set priorities among UN players and share information. UNMAS also coordinates meetings of standing committees, which were created when the Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Treaty went into effect in 1999, and the Steering Committee on Mine Action, which brings together UN mine-action, nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Coordinating Capabilities In The Field
UNMAS sets up and manages mine-action coordination centres in countries and territories as part of peacekeeping operations and humanitarian emergencies or crises. In these situations, UNMAS may plan and carry out mine-action projects, orchestrate the work of local and international mine-action service providers, and set priorities for mine clearance, mine-risk education and other aspects of mine action.
Mine-action coordination centres managed by UNMAS are also responsible for public information and community liaison operations, victim assistance initiatives; collection of landmine and casualty data, provision of technical advice on destruction of landmine stockpiles, quality management for mine-action operations, and destruction and removal of explosive remnants of war, which comprise unexploded ordnance (bombs, mortars and other explosives that do not detonate on impact but remain volatile and dangerous) and abandoned explosive ordnance, which are unused explosives left behind by armed forces. As a fundamental contributor to peacekeeping and peace operations, UNMAS continues to implement traditional mine action activities as well as develop new areas to extend the reach of mine action in contributing to early peacebuilding by working on ammunition management, weapons management and IED threat mitigation.
UNMAS provides direct support and assistance to 18 programmes in Afghanistan, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI), Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), Lebanon (UNIFIL), Liberia (UNMIL), Libya (UNSMIL), Mali (UNOM), oPt, Somalia (UNSOA) (UNSOM), Sudan, Abyei (UNISFA), Darfur (UNAMID), South Sudan (UNMISS), Syria, Western Sahara (MINURSO), and the rapid response S-MAC programme.
Advocacy and Strategic Communications
UNMAS coordinates overall UN advocacy in support of treaties and other international legal instruments related to landmines and explosive remnants of war, including cluster munitions, and in support of the rights of people affected by these devices.
The success of UNMAS is the product of the generous support provided by UN Member States through funds allocated by the UN General Assembly for the mine action components of peacekeeping operations, and by considerable extra-budgetary donor funding support.
UNMAS administers the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action. The Fund primarily pays for coordination and operation of UNMAS-managed programs, and missions to assess the scope of a countries’ problems with landmines and explosive remnants of war. Contributions to the Fund have totalled over US$760 million since the inception of the Voluntary Trust Fund. The fund has also been used by donors to support national programmes and NGOs, often through UNDP or UNICEF, in Cambodia, Chad, Lao PDR, Mozambique and Pakistan.
In the spirit of the UN vision of a world free from the threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war, UNMAS seeks to secure voluntary donations from existing partners and to expand the Voluntary Trust Fund by partnering with philanthropic foundations, endowment funds, private donations and gifts.
How is UNMAS Funded?
UNMAS programmes in the field and UNMAS HQ coordination activities are funded in a number of ways:
- UN General Assembly Appropriations: In 2012, appropriations were made by the UN General Assembly for the mine action components of nine peacekeeping missions, namely UNSOA (Somalia), MINURCAT (Chad), MINURSO (Western Sahara), MONUSCO (DR Congo), UNAMID (Darfur), UNIFIL (Lebanon), UNISFA (Abyei), UNMISS (South Sudan), and UNOCI (Cote d’Ivoire);
- Governments and Individuals to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action: Contributions to the VTF are critical for life-saving mine action programming around the world.
- Assessed Budget: Funds allocated to UNMAS HQ coordination activities within the UN Peacekeeping Support Account; and
- Humanitarian Financing from UN trust funds such as the Common Humanitarian Funds for Sudan.