The European Union is funding two additional projects to support mine clearance in BiH and enhance strong partnership among responsible institutions and key actors in this sector.
Chargé d’Affairs a.i. of the EU Delegation to BiH, Khaldoun Sinno, signed today contracts for two new mine action projects in BiH, funded under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) in the total amount of EUR 1.1 million.
“These two new mine actions are long-awaited and represent a turning point. Let us not underestimate the importance of mine action to the people of BiH, especially those in rural areas whose everyday life and movements are threatened,” noted Sinno.
The European Union provided more than EUR 46 million for the mine action programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1996. The two additional projects will enable accurate mapping of suspected mine-contaminated areas, which is a key input to the design of more effective demining projects in BiH, as well as the development and implementation of an improved mine action strategy.
“If well managed, the reassessment can lead to a comprehensive application of the Land Release methodology, successfully tested in previous EU-supported pilot projects in 2014, and could lead to a mine-free BiH by 2025, thus fulfilling the requirements of the Ottawa Convention,” said Sinno, who underlined that success can be guaranteed only through leadership, good governance, coordination and cooperation of the relevant institutions.
The first mine action project, signed with the Norwegian People’s Aid, the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Defence, supports a new country assessment of all remaining mine suspected areas in BiH. The second contract, signed with UNDP, will support the creation of a modern Information System Web Platform, which will store updated information collected through the country assessment and enable efficient and effective planning of mine action.
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in BiH, Sukhrob Khoshmukhamedov, stated that UNDP will provide important support to BHMAC in achieving positive change, resulting in the overall increased safety and security of BiH citizens, “However, there is still hard work to be done and for this reason, the project was prepared in coordination and cooperation with BHMAC, building upon the extremely good partnership between the European Union, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, BHMAC and UNDP,” said Khoshmukhamedov.
The Norwegian People’s Aid Regional Director for South East Europe, Sven Jonas Zachrisson, thanked the European Union for the grant awarded for these projects. “Landmines pose a serious social, economic and environmental threat to Bosnia and Herzegovina,” noted Zachrisson, and added that successful implementation of the projects will enable the successful realisation of the new BiH Mine Action Strategy.
The European Union is the largest donor in support to mine action in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Besides mine clearance, the EU has provided significant assistance to the country in supporting landmine victims and returnees.