More than 1,200 areas in the UNIFIL Area of Operations are contaminated with landmines or other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). This deadly threat, which covers more than 6.9 million square metres of land, negatively affects the lives and livelihoods of an estimated 200,000 people and United Nations personnel in the UNIFIL Area of Operations.
The worsening economic situation has resulted in people engaging in high-risk activities that expose them to explosive hazards. In 2022, 11 civilians were victims of explosive ordnance in South Lebanon. The impact of the accidents is amplified by a lack of funds for victim assistance including medical, rehabilitative, and psycho-social care.
As an integral component of UNIFIL, UNMAS works with UNIFIL military demining contingents from Cambodia and China that mark and clear minefields to enable UNIFIL and Observer Group Lebanon (OGL) operations in accordance with Security Council resolutions, and enable livelihood activities.
In 2022, UNIFIL deminers cleared 25,479 square meters of land and destroyed 5,571 anti-personnel mines. UNIFIL demining contributes to a stable and secure environment in southern Lebanon and helps ensure the mobility and safety of UN personnel.
In 2023, the Government of Lebanon and the United Nations renewed a memorandum of understanding enabling UNIFIL to continue humanitarian demining in the UNIFIL Area of operations. The collaboration enables UNIFIL to contribute towards Lebanon’s vision for “Lebanese communities to prosper, free from the threat of explosive ordnance”.
Safety and security for peacekeepers: “Action for Peacekeeping Plus” (A4P+)
Consistent with the aim of the United Nations Secretary-General's A4P+ initiative, UNMAS provides technical guidance and post-deployment confirmatory training and validation / accreditation assessments for UNIFIL demining units. The units facilitate UNIFIL’s efforts to mark the Line of Withdrawal between Lebanon and Israel, also called the “Blue Line”.
In 2022, UNMAS carried out more than 297 Quality Assurance / Quality Control oversight monitoring inspections which helped ensure the teams conducted operations in line with National Mine Action Standards and relevant International Mine Action Standards. This is a pre-requisite for Lebanese authorities to release the land as safe for safe civilian use. The clearance provides an immediate contribution towards the UNIFIL mandate to help achieve a stable and secure environment in southern Lebanon.
UNMAS also provides landmine / ERW and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) safety and awareness trainings to soldiers rotating into OGL/UNTSO, other UN personnel, military drivers supporting UNIFIL patrols, and assists the United Nations Department of Safety and Security with United Nations safety briefings and training. In 2022, UNMAS-supported educational sessions reached 404 military and civilian personnel, including 59 women.
Supporting national mine action capacity
Through the provision of materials, collaboration, coordination and planning, UNMAS UNIFIL supports the LMAC in delivering explosive ordnance risk education to local communities which encourages increased safe behaviour. Using virtual reality headsets provided by UNIFIL, the LMAC, in coordination with the Ministry of Education and national and international non-governmental organizations, used this exciting new way to engage children at school on the dangers of mines and ERW. In 2022, UNMAS support to the LMAC-coordinated activities reached more than 1,000 people.
Summary of UNMAS UNIFIL support:
Working in partnership with the LMAC and UNIFIL Combat Engineer Section for planning, coordination, training, and quality assurance, the key UNMAS task is to ensure that UNIFIL demining is conducted in an effective, safe, and efficient manner in accordance with approved standards and procedures.
UNMAS activities include:
- Provision of technical guidance and refresher training to UNIFIL demining and EOD teams.
- Supporting the LMAC for coordination of UNIFIL demining operations to contribute towards humanitarian clearance in the UNIFIL Area of Operations.
- Conducting Quality Assurance / Quality Control of UNIFIL demining and EOD teams through training support, validation, and monitoring to ensure they are operating safely and in accordance with approved standard and procedures.
- Provision of mine / ERW and IED safety and awareness trainings for UNIFIL, OGL, and other United Nations personnel.
- In line with UNIFIL’s Protection of Civilians Strategy, providing support to explosive ordnance risk educaiton events and school engagement activities.
Last updated: 4 April 2023