Since 2015, 4 April has been the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
In the week leading up to it, the mine action community, led by UNMAS, will roll out activities across the globe to raise awareness and to seek assistance for mine action work.
In 2020, despite the pandemic:
- thousands of explosives were found and destroyed
- hundreds of thousands of square meters of land were made safe and put to productive use
- millions of people living in, or returning to, contaminated areas, were provided with explosive ordnance risk education, incorporating, in many cases, lifesaving World Health Organization COVID-19 prevention guidance
This year, the United Nations will promote mine action by highlighting how "Perseverance, Partnership, and Progress” have carried the sector through this challenging year.
Visit a digital exhibit of the same name on the UN Exhibits website, which displays the exceptional photography and videography.
Events at UNHQ
A number of events took place between 18 March and 16 April 2021 to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized a high-level event on mine action titled “Beyond Square Meters Cleared: Mine Acton and Development.”
- Mourad Wahba, Associate Administrator a.i., UNDP
- Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein, Special Envoy for the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, Convention, President of the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
- Ilene Cohn, Director, a.i, UNMAS
- General Jihad Bechelany, Director, LMAC, Lebanon
- Wolfgang Bindseil, Head of Division for Business and Human Rights, German Foreign Office
- Ambassador Stefano Toscano, Director, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining
- Nick Beresford, Resident Representative, UNDP Cambodia
Watch the event here.
Noon Briefing of Spokesperson of the Secretary-General
31 March from 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. (EST)
The leadership of UNMAS were the guests at the Noon Briefing of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General. The statements of the Secretary-General and Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards were shared. The press conference launched the exhibit “Perseverance, Partnership, Progress”, as well as the UNMAS Annual Report 2020.
- Ms. Ilene Cohn, Deputy Director and Officer in Charge
- Ms. Abigail Hartley, Chief of Policy, Advocacy, Communication and Resource Mobilization
- Mr. Stephen Pritchard, Chief of Programmes, Planning and Management
You can watch the recording on UN Web TV.
On 4 April, UN officials and other leaders marked the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action through ceremonies and speeches.
On 8 April, the Security Council, under the Presidency of Viet Nam, will hold an open debate to consider “Mine action and sustaining peace: Stronger partnerships for better delivery". The debate, which will include an intervention by the Secretary-General António Guterres and the Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards Daniel Craig will put the spotlight on mine action at the highest level. To follow the debate live go to UN Web TV on 8 April.
On 16 April, from 10:30 am to 11:30 a.m. (EST), Civil Society organizations and the United Nations will participate in the United Sates Congressional Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)/ Demining Caucus event to mark the International Day. This Caucus works to inform Members of the U.S. Congress and their staff about the humanitarian dangers of explosive ordnance and successes of U.S. demining programmes around the world. The caucus advocates for the support of life-saving demining that protects communities and serves U.S. security, economic, and political interests abroad. The United States is the world’s largest funder of humanitarian demining. This important event will express appreciation for this support and highlight needs in the coming years. Register to virtually attend this event.
Events Around the World
- The national mine action authority in Afghanistan will host an event for 4 April.
- In mid-April, a banner will be installed in Kabul to honor the deminers who have lost their lives working for a mine-free Afghanistan over the last decades.
- An all-female panel of women deminers will hold a roundtable highlighting some of the accomplishments of the mine action community in 2020.
- A marathon and 10 km race will be organized in a northern province to bring attention to the survivors of mine accidents after Ramadan.
- The United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), UNMAS and the African Union will hold a virtual event on the 8th April to mark the International Day. Connection details TBC. Listen to the UNOAU podcast discussion with the head of the UNMAS office and vist the UNOAU website to see how mine action is being promoted. Please see the concept note for the Day.
- The UN mine action community in Burkina Faso will hold public events on Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Awareness.
- An Op-Ed written by Rho Hyunjun the Country Director of KOICA in Cambodia and Nick Beresford, the UNDP Resident Representative, will be published in the The Phnom Penh Post [English], and on the UNDP Website [English and Khmer] on the 5th of April. The Op-Ed, describing the positive impact clearance has on communities and one family in particular, will also be promoted through social media, as will the statement by the Secretary-General.
Central African Republic
- The UN mine action community will hold a press conference on 2 April with the National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the peacekeeping operation MINUSCA will deliver a message on 4 April that will be broadcast on UN radio, filmed and posted on the UNMAS and MINSCA websites.
- Banners about the National Commission and mandate will be produced and displayed in the capital.
- Live radio interview with the Programme Manager of the UNMAS programme in Colombia.
- Message from the UNMAS Acting Director will be broadcast through radio stations in the country.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
- UNMAS and the Congolese Mine Action Center (CCLAM) are co-organizing a national event in Kinshasa to celebrate the day. The national theme for this year is: “Towards Zero Mine objective in the DRC: Challenges and Prospects,” and “Assistance of mine and ERW victims in the DRC.”
- The event will be held on Monday 5 April at the premise of the Ministry of Interior in Kinshasa.
- The UN in Iraq will support the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency (IKMAA) with the printing of maps/awareness deliverables that will be distributed to affected communities.
- UNMAS will support the Iraqi Directorate of Mine Action (DMA) in hosting an event with limited attendees from I/NGOs and UN agencies on 4 April to bring attention to the challenges still faced by Iraqis.
- Official ceremony with the mission.
- IED threat mitigation demonstrations.
State of Palestine
- The Director of the Palestinian Mine Action Center (PMAC) will bring attention to the challenges of demining in the State of Palestine, and a campaign for Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) women trainers will be promoted.
- The Special Representative of the Secretary-General will issue a press statement.
- Three radio shows will be broadcast in cooperation with the Somalia Explosive Management Authority (SEMA).
- Awareness material will be distributed.
- Banners will be installed around the UN Base, and there will be education material shared with peacekeepers and AU soldiers.
- The UN and SEMA will hold a ceremony at a school in Mogadishu.
- Interview sessions, quiz, and broadcast of pre-recorded messages will be organized across eight radio stations (led by different partners) from 29 March to 4 April.
- Fifty "Blue Messenger Bicycles" with sound systems installed will roll around Juba to promote messaging for the International Day.
- A special interview will air on South Sudan TV and public servicing messaging will be shown between 3 - 5 April.
- A special article will be published in the Juba Monitor newspaper on 4 April.
- Billboards promoting mine action messaging are on display from 11 March to 15 April.
- Special sensitization kits with mine action messaging on preventive items like masks and sanitizers containing will be distributed by active Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) teams from 29 March to 10 April.
- UNMAS will organize a ceremony to mark the International Day and invite partners in Aleppo Governorate.
- An SMS and social media campaign with key awareness messages will be widely distributed to affected populations (through a local company).
- A youth art competition will be organized in partnership with UNFPA in Damascus.
UN in Geneva
The UN mine action community in Geneva will hold a virtual roundtable to showcase achievements of the sector through very short live interventions. Each speaker will present two strengths and one future opportunity from their perspectives or that of their organizations.
There will be two one-hour events held on Wednesday 7 April.
The first will be held at 11:00 a.m. (Geneva time Link: Click here to join the meeting) in French, and the second at 02:00 p.m. (Geneva time Link: Click here to join the meeting) in English.