The core role of the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Lebanon is to support and enable UNIFIL in implementing its mandate and to provide assistance to the Lebanon Mine Action Center (LMAC) in the form of resource mobilization for humanitarian mine action activities. UNMAS Lebanon is responsible for supporting UNIFIL demining operations and make sure that these activities along the Blue Line are conducted in accordance with International Mine Action Standards (IMAS).
UNMAS Lebanon, formally known as the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC), handed over its responsibility of coordinating humanitarian mine action activities to LMAC in 2009. Following the transfer of the responsibility, UNMAS Lebanon significantly reduced its footprint in the country, bringing down the number of its staff to the current level of 10.
The threat of unexploded mines still remains a challenge in southern Lebanon. Since 2006, UNIFIL demining teams have contributed to clearing approximately 4.8 square kilometres of affected land and destroying more than 34,000 unexploded ordnances and mines in south Lebanon. However, an estimated 425,000 landmines continue to pose threat to Lebanon’s communities and more than 18 square kilometres of land remains contaminated by cluster bombs.
As part of UNIFIL’s mandate to restore international peace and security and to assist the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority in southern Lebanon, the UN Mission regularly conducts mine clearance activities. Supported by UNMAS, UNIFIL also undertakes humanitarian mine action activities.
UNIFIL carries out de-mining activities along the Blue Line and the Battle Area Clearance activities in the UNIFIL Area of Operations, in accordance with its mandate and to ensure the safety and secure movement of UNIFIL military and civilian staff. UNMAS Lebanon continues supporting in order to ensure that the activities are conducted in accordance with the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), relevant National Mine Action Standards (NMAS) and the Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) of the military contingents.
UNIFIL’s combat engineers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams clear areas that were contaminated by cluster munitions and other UXOs like aircraft bombs, rockets and missiles. Cleared land is then handed back to the owners. Combat engineers also conduct Blue Line demining. So far, 314 such points along the Blue Line have been demined.
UNIFIL de-mining and EOD experts are from Cambodia, France, Italy. There are such experts also from Ghana, Malaysia and South Korea but they are responsible for clearing explosive remnants of war (ERWs) only within their camp vicinity. They also regularly conduct activities aimed at raising public awareness to the dangers of explosive remnants of war to other troop contributing countries (TCCs) within the mission.
UNMAS support to UNIFIL in a nutshell:
UNMAS Lebanon, while working in partnership with UNIFIL, aims to ensure all mine clearance, Battle Area Clearance and EOD in the most effective, safe and time efficient manner. Its support to UNIFIL are in the following areas:
- Clearance activities of UNIFIL TCCs within their Area of Operations.
- Working in partnership with LMAC and UNIFIL Combat Engineering Section (J3-CES) in planning, coordination, training and ensuring quality assurance capabilities.
- Working with international and national NGOs whenever required and possible in relation to tasks in the UNIFIL area of operations and in close coordination with the LMAC.
Last updated: 11 May 2016