Wednesday, July 24, 2024

UNDP and Belgium strengthen partnership for mine action in Ukraine

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine has signed a financing agreement worth EUR 1 million with the Government of Belgium for the implementation of the UNDP’s Mine Action Project in Ukraine.  

This significant contribution, running until 31 December 2025, will bolster efforts to address the pressing issue of explosive remnants of war in the country. Ukraine is deemed the most mine contaminated country in the world, with one quarter of its territory potentially contaminated.  

Belgium’s contribution to the Mine Action Project will be pivotal in enhancing the safety and security of communities affected by explosive ordnance, supporting humanitarian mine action, and fostering a safer environment for economic and social development in Ukraine. 

The financing agreement with Belgium marks a significant step forward in the collaborative efforts between the UNDP and international partners to address the critical issue of landmines in Ukraine. The support will help create safer environments, enabling communities to thrive and contribute to the country’s overall development. 

Belgian Ambassador to Ukraine Peter Van De Velde said the financing agreement demonstrated his country’s commitment to support Ukraine: “Belgium is committed to supporting Ukraine in its efforts to mitigate the dangers posed by landmines and explosive remnants of war,” Van De Velde said. “This contribution underlines our dedication to humanitarian aid and fostering long-term peace and stability in the region.” 

UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine Jaco Cilliers thanked the Belgian government for the expansion of mine action cooperation in Ukraine under the agreement: “We’re grateful for this generous support from the Government of Belgium,” Cilliers said. “This funding will enable us to expand our mine action activities, ensuring that affected communities can rebuild their lives safely and securely.” 

“The partnership with Belgium is a testament to the collective effort required to tackle the challenges posed by explosive remnants of war.” 

The UNDP Mine Action Project in Ukraine aims to reduce the threat and impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war through a range of activities, including survey and clearance operations, risk education, victim assistance, and advocacy for mine action. The project also focuses on capacity building for national authorities to enhance their ability to manage and coordinate mine action efforts effectively. 

The project will be implemented simultaneously at the national and oblast level for integrated planning, coordination, and operational efficiencies across the five pillars of mine action –survey and clearance, explosive ordnance risk education (EORE), victim assistance, advocacy, and stockpile destruction (when able).  

The project builds upon the work of the UN system as a whole and seeks to complement the work of other actors working in this domain through partnership, collaboration, and coordination. 

The contributors to the UNDP Mine Action Project are the governments of Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, France, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 

Background: 
The UNDP is playing an important role in supporting Ukraine’s government as it tackles the effects of mine contamination. The UNDP’s focus is on ensuring concerted efforts, advising on the preparation and implementation of national strategies and standards, and facilitating safe returns through explosive ordnance surveying and disposal to enable demolition and debris removal for reconstruction and recovery. 

Through the provision of specialized equipment, technical assistance, and expertise, and by leveraging innovative technologies such as satellite imagery, remote sensing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, the UNDP is assisting in rapid land release, significantly reducing the amount of potentially contaminated areas, and aiding the return of agricultural land to productive use. 

Through initiatives like the Model of Victim Assistance, the UNDP is working to enhance immediate and life-saving medical care, ongoing rehabilitation, mental health and psychosocial support, and supporting those affected by landmines to discover new opportunities for a fulfilling and dignified socio-economic life. 

Over the past three decades, the UNDP and its partners have worked in over 50 countries to help them tackle the challenges posed by landmines and other explosives, aiding them in becoming free of mines and cluster munitions, and supporting their recovery and sustainable development. 

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, UNDP Ukraine Head of Communications; e-mail: yuliia.samus@undp.org

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