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(Fact Sheet in English, Arabic)

  • More than one million explosive remnants of war (ERW) and approximately 54 tonnes of Small Arms Ammunition have been cleared in Libya since 2011.


  • More than 245,164 Libyans have received risk education including 190,154 children and 55,010 adults, to help them live more safely with the threat of ERW.


  • Since 2015, UNMAS Libya has developed the capacity of more than 200 nationals in all aspects of mine action.




UNMAS deployed to Libya in March 2011 and was integrated into the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) as the Arms and Ammunition Advisory Section in July 2012. When major hostilities resumed between rival political factions in 2014, the UN temporarily relocated the majority of its staff to Tunisia. UNMAS managed its operational activities and coordination support remotely until January 2019, when most UN staff returned to Tripoli. Due to the hostilities that commenced in April 2019 and the deterioration of security, most UN staff are operating remotely from Tunisia again, with a limited number of personnel in Tripoli.


More than four years of recent fighting has been concentrated predominantly in urban areas. The level of violence and destruction has far surpassed that experienced during the nine-month revolution in 2011. The ongoing conflict has resulted in significant ERW contamination in numerous cities and has impacted public infrastructure such as schools, universities and hospitals. The number of Internally Displaced Persons and returnees in Libya is estimated to be 268,629 and 444,760[1], respectively.


There is little prospect of safe return until Non-Technical and/or Technical Surveys, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) spot-tasks, and/or Battle Area Clearance are carried out. UNMAS has continued operations in Libya since its arrival in 2011 and its support continues to be important to assist communities, UNSMIL, and humanitarian partners to mitigate the threat from explosive devices. UNMAS activities contribute to humanitarian operations, stabilisation activities, and the Sustainable Development Goals.


[1] IOM-DTM Round 25, Apr – May, 2019




UNMAS contributes to  the achievement of UNSMIL mandated objectives and those of the UN Country Team through three pillars of activities:


Protection of Civilians

ERW contamination is severe in many urban areas, impacting civilians even after violence abates. Additionally, the contamination impacts humanitarian actors working to provide or restore basic services. UNMAS works with partners to mitigate the threat posed by ERW for civilians by liaising with the Libyan authorities to implement Mine Action activities and to facilitate coordination with various stakeholders. In 2019/20 UNMAS is providing NTS, Risk Education and EOD response in various locations across Libya, including in Tawergha, Tripoli and Benghazi, to facilitate humanitarian activities, early recovery, and to prepare for the safe return of displaced people. In addition, UNMAS has conducted workshops and research on Victim Assistance in order to provide strategic guidance for future engagement on the subject.


Arms and Ammunition Advisory Role

Unsafe and insecure storage of arms and ammunition, as well as their illicit proliferation, continues to pose a serious challenge to stabilization. As the Arms and Ammunition Advisory Section of UNSMIL, UNMAS completed the collection and disposal of approximately 200 tonnes of ERW from ammunition storage areas in Misrata in 2019; and provided technical advice, project management, and construction to prepare a field site in Gharyan for future liquid missile fuel disposal. To help mitigate the threat from improvised explosive devices, UNMAS trained Forensic Police in Device Scene Incident Management. Building on similar previous projects, UNMAS will carry out a series of trainings to empower Libyan women to deliver Small Arms and Light Weapons risk awareness to assist in strengthening community resilience and to help reduce gender-based violence.


Capacity enhancement of national mine action actors

UNMAS prioritises capacity enhancement of Libyan mine action actors and supports the Libyan Mine Action Centre (LibMAC) in establishing processes for the accreditation of mine action actors and coordination with Implementing Partners. Since 2015, UNMAS trained over 70 National Safety Authority (NSA) operators and Military Engineers in advanced EOD; 30 officers from eastern Libya in Non-Technical Survey; provided advanced medical first responder training to 72 EOD operators from Benghazi; and trained several operators to address the threat from explosive hazards in Sirte. UNMAS also provided EOD equipment to national actors and assisted the LibMAC in developing the Libyan Mine Action Standards which are now being implemented in Libya.



UNMAS faces a significant funding shortfall for arms and ammunition management activities and humanitarian mine action projects. UNMAS aims to support the implementation of humanitarian mine action interventions, assessments, and capacity enhancement, in close cooperation with local and international implementing partners. Furthermore, UNMAS seeks to re-initiate training and implementation of surveys at ammunition storage area, which were halted due to security conditions.


Updated:  August 2019