The European Union is funding two new projects to support the country assessment of all remaining mine suspected areas in BiH and improve the information management system used by BiH Mine Action Centre (BHMAC).
Chargé d’Affairs a.i. of the EU Delegation to BiH, Khaldoun Sinno, signed on 24 September 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, will be implemented by Norwegian People’s Aid in collaboration with the BiH Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Defence. The project will perform a countrywide assessment and identify with precision the remaining mine threat in BiH. The second project, will be implemented by UNDP and will help install a new information management system, to improve the planning of mine action and the transparent share of information with the public.
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 and for the collaboration. “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 implementation of the new BiH Mine Action Strategy.
The European Union is a key 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.