United Nations Mine Action Service
UNMAS collaborates with 11 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, by the General Assembly, 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 provides direct support and assistance to 18 countries/territories/missions including Afghanistan, Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI), Cyprus (UNFICYP), Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), Haiti (MINUSTAH), Lebanon (UNIFIL), Libya (UNSMIL), Mali (MINUSMA), Palestine, Somalia (UNSOA) (UNSOM), Sudan, Abyei (UNISFA), Darfur (UNAMID), South Sudan (UNMISS), Syria, Western Sahara (MINURSO), and the rapid response and technical support.
UNMAS in Sudan
Since its independence in 1956, Sudan has suffered a number of long-lasting conflicts that have contaminated the country with anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). Mines and ERW were used by all parties during the conflicts, contaminating large swathes of land and causing death and injury to civilians. Today, 10 of 18 states are reported to be affected by landmines and ERW. The highest level of mines and ERW contamination remains to be in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Kassala states.
UNMAS directly and through UNMIS has been the UN mine action lead in Sudan since 2002, except for 2014 when UNDP took the lead. Following a request from the Sudanese Government dated January 2015 and UNDP, UNMAS re-established its presence in Sudan as of April 2015.
The UNMAS programme in Sudan is focused on:
- Providing coordination, technical advice and assistance to the National Mine Action Center (NMAC), UN entities, and partners;
- Reducing the number of deaths and casualties caused by mines/ERWs among the Sudanese population and humanitarian field workers through clearance operations, survey, ERW/mine risk education and assistance to the victims of landmines and ERW;
- Serving as the UN focal point and sub sector lead for Mine Action;
- Facilitating mine action through resource mobilization and support to implementation;
- Strengthening the capacity of the National Mine Action Center to deliver quality assurance and project management resulting in increased national ownership.
In addition to the provision of technical assistance, UNMAS and its supporting partners implement humanitarian assistance initiatives that support the safe return of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs). These initiatives help create a more secure and stable environment from which Sudan will be able to recommence essential economic activities in the affected areas.
The Republic of the Sudan is State Party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) since 2004 and obtained, in 2014, a five-year extension to comply with its obligations to clear all known anti-personnel landmines by April 2019. The Government of Sudan remains committed to meeting this deadline and has dedicated budget and personnel to NMAC to achieve it. However, donor support from the international community is necessary to provide technical assistance and fund the Mine Action activities.