In 2020, UNMAS in Burkina Faso established the Mine Action Area of Responsibility in partnership with the National Commission for the Control of Arms (CNCA), promoted full integration of humanitarian mine action into the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021, and initiated the first ever humanitarian risk education campaign for more than 107,000 people living in regions affected by the crisis.
UNMAS contributes to the national priority aimed at reforming security institutions and promoting stability and rule of law in regions impacted by the conflict by ensuring that law enforcement and security personnel are able to safely deploy in high-risk areas. UNMAS has provided risk awareness, IED threat mitigation training, and first responder medical kits to over 2,200 members of law enforcement, in addition to training instructors as part of an initiative to promote national ownership and sustainability.
UNMAS builds on the successes achieved to date, to meet the identified needs through an expansion of the areas of operation and improving capacity of both humanitarian mine action stakeholders and the Ministry of Security.
UNMAS Burkina Faso contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions” and the Strategic Objectives of the UN Mine Action Strategy 2019-2023: “SO 1. Protection of individuals and communities from the risks and socio-economic impacts of explosive ordnance strengthened”, and “SO 3. National institutions effectively lead and manage mine action functions and responsibilities”.
UNMAS first deployed to Burkina Faso in 2019 as part of the UN Secretary General’s Emergency Task Force for Burkina Faso, and then established a presence following a request from the Government of Burkina Faso and the UN Resident Coordinator. UNMAS aims to provide national institutions and affected populations the knowledge, tools, and capacity to reduce the threat posed by explosive ordnance in high-risk areas and, when support is no longer required, hand over responsibilities to national mine action counterparts.
Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are a growing and complex threat in a context already compounded by mass displacement, armed conflict, and lack of access to basic services. IEDs are hard to detect and are indiscriminate in nature. They require specialised equipment and knowledge to mitigate, which are currently lacking in the country. Their presence risks compounding existing vulnerabilities, hindering freedom of movement, and increasing instability, in addition to posing a direct threat to civilians and humanitarian operations. An estimated 1.2 million men, women, boys, and girls are living in areas impacted by the explosive threat and over 764,000 of them are considered to be especially in need due to existing protection vulnerabilities.
An increasing number of civilians have been directly affected by IEDs in recent years. Since 2017, 457 people have been killed or injured in explosive ordnance accidents, almost all of which were caused by IEDs (98 per cent). While members of the defense and security forces were originally the primary targets, civilians accounted for 50 per cent of victims in 2020, and 47 per cent as of August 2021. Explosive ordnance, IEDs in particular, are inadvertently triggered by the victims, thus increasing the threat to those unaware of the danger. Most explosive accidents occurred along roads, placing IDPs, returnees, and other migrant populations, at great risk. More generally, explosive hazards contamination hinders economic recovery and development.
Enhancing national ownership of mine action:
UNMAS works with the Burkinabe Ministry of Security and the CNCA to enhance mine action capabilities to develop a sustainable, long-term capacity. UNMAS provides advisory services, technical support, training and equipment, as well as assistance in developing national strategies and norms to help improve the management of IED mitigation activities.
Risk education for communities and aid workers:
Preserving the sanctity of life for communities and humanitarians with tailored knowledge and awareness is the foundation for mitigating explosive threats. UNMAS undertakes risk education campaigns in regions affected by the crisis, utilising gender and diversity sensitive materials developed in collaboration with the CNCA.
Train and equip against the explosive threat:
In collaboration with the Ministry of Security, UNMAS provides IED threat mitigation training and equipment to law enforcement officers and cadets so they are able to deploy safely and serve their communities in high-risk areas. UNMAS provides risk awareness, first aid, and basic search and detect trainings, with integrated human rights and gender modules, and will be expanding to more advanced training to tackle emerging needs in Burkina Faso.
Understanding the threat:
UNMAS is developing a consolidated IED incident database and provides analysis on the trends and impact of the explosive threat. Since the spread of the armed conflict in Mali to Burkina Faso in 2016, there have been persistent armed attacks in the northern and eastern regions, with an increase in the frequency of the use of IEDs. These incidents are threatening peace and security in the country and in the sub-region.
Advocacy and coordination:
UNMAS leads the Mine Action Sub-Cluster and contributed to the development of the 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plan, fully integrating mine action within the wider humanitarian response.
UNMAS has received generous support from the Government of Canada, and the Kingdoms of the Netherlands and Denmark through the UNMAS unearmarked funding pool, and the OCHA Central Emergency Relief Fund allowing UNMAS to maintain the successes achieved in 2020 and continue providing support where it is needed most.
An estimated 2 million USD is needed to effectively provide support the Ministry of Security and provide a solid Humanitarian Mine action response, through increased risk education activities, and expanded capacity development and strategic efforts in 2021.
Data as of August 2021