UNMAS Syria Response Programme (SRP) UNMAS SRP aims to ensure that the “Syrian population benefits from safe access to basic services and livelihood opportunities,” by enabling “humanitarian and early recovery partners to deliver free from the risk of EO contamination”. Under this vision, UNMAS SRP will operate as an enabler of the humanitarian and early recovery response in the country.
2023 (January - May):
25 risk education facilitators and public service providers were trained to deliver explosive ordnance risk education sessions. In addition, 20 humanitarian focal points were trained to deliver the Explosive Ordnance awareness message to their colleagues. UNMAS and partners also provided briefing to about 106 humanitarian workers on explosive ordnance risk awareness in support of safe humanitarian access.
Since the start of the explosive ordnance clearance activities in December 2021, UNMAS Implementing Partner has cleared and released around 2.3 million sqm of land, which was deemed safe to access for communities and identified 663 and disposed of 488 items.
UNMAS collects evidence on victims of explosive ordnance accidents, and has provided victim assistance (VA) services to 8,131 people in need across Syria in that 744 survivors. More than 1,222 services, including medical referrals, provision of prosthetics and rehabilitation support, and multipurpose cash assistance were delivered.
Mine action is a humanitarian need in Syria. The scale, severity, and complexity of the explosive ordnance threat in Syria remains a major protection concern, compounding the humanitarian crisis and the vulnerability of civilians in affected areas. The UN Mine Action Service estimates that since 2013, an average of six people per day have been killed or injured by explosive ordnance.
According to the 2023 Humanitarian Needs Overview, 11.5 million men, women, and children are at risk from explosive contamination including items such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). Approximately one third of communities are estimated to be potentially contaminated. The destruction and contamination of residential areas and critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools and roads, hinders civilian access to basic services and the safe return of displaced persons. Explosive ordnance is a lethal barrier to movement, the delivery of humanitarian aid, and endangers those seeking refuge from violence.
In July 2018, UNMAS signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Syrian Arab Republic. With its deployment in October 2018, UNMAS started positive engagement toward the expansion of humanitarian mine action activities across all of Syria, prioritising the communities most in need.
UNMAS aims to enable humanitarian and early recovery partners to deliver free from the risk of EO contamination. As a result , all Syrian population will benefit from safe access to basic services and livelihood opportunities. In the absence of a national mine action authority, UNMAS SRP will continue to act as a Mine Action centre and provide technical and operational support to the humanitarian mine action (HMA) actors, including through quality assurance and accreditation. UNMAS SRP will continue coordinating the Mine Action Area of Responsibility as well, ensuring the integration of the HMA needs into the UN strategic plans and advocacy documents, and disseminating relevant EO data and analysis.In line with the humanitarian response, UNMAS provides financial and technical support for survey, risk education and victim assistance activities and projects.
As the lead agency for Mine Action and coordinator of the Mine Action Area of Responsibility within the Global Protection Cluster, UNMAS ensures that humanitarian mine action (HMA) is integrated within the humanitarian coordination mechanisms, and that the Explosive Ordnance threat is understood and taken into consideration during strategic planning.
UNMAS leads the HMA cluster/sector at the Whole of Syria (WoS) level, which is the overarching coordination structure for the Syria response. Under this structure, UNMAS established the Mine Action Sub-Cluster (MASC) in northwest Syria in August 2015, and the Mine Action Sub-Sector (MASS) in Damascus in October 2019. Central to its coordination functions, UNMAS established and manages the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) for Syria.The data is collated in IMSMA to generate custom-made information products to analyses HMA related data and estimate the contamination level, to enable needs-based prioritisation to inform HMA partners and the wider humanitarian response. A Technical working group dedicated to services mapping and referral pathways supports the development of the Victim Assistance pillar.
Explosive Ordnance Risk Education
Risk education (RE) is a life-saving component of the humanitarian and early recovery response, as it helps communities and humanitarian and early recovery actors adapt their behaviour to minimise EO risks to their safety.Through direct sessions, UNMAS provides people in EO-affected communities with life-saving information to reduce the likelihood of EO incidents. UNMAS trains the EORE facilitators and develops EORE education materials and messages that are tailored to age, gender, profession, social responsibility and localised threats. To maximise reach, a risk education mobile phone application and online training platform will be launched soon.
Survey, Marking and Clearance
Thanks to UNMAS advocacy efforts, surveying, marking and clearance of explosive ordnance are identified as priorities in the 2022-23 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). Survey and clearance are the only way to define the extent of contamination, identify, mark and fully remove the EO threat. The non-technical survey (NTS) includes desk assessments, analysis of historical records, and community liaison to collect and verify information about EO contamination, as precursor to technical survey and clearance. Through technical surveys (TS), UNMAS confirms physically the absence/presence of EO, marks and records the areas where EO contamination is found. It is the only way to fully remove the EO threat, as it ensures the removal and/or destruction of EO in a specified area, to a specified depth and other agreed parameters, and releases the decontaminated land to the community. Clearance has multiple methods and techniques; including manual, mechanical, and battle area clearance (BAC).
To ensure sustainability of VA interventions and that no one is left behind, UNMAS connects between authorities and humanitarian actors, maps services for persons with disabilities, establishes specialised referral pathways, and promotes VA and disability concepts and standards. In 2020, UNMAS developed a VA framework as a foundation to initiate VA within Syria; including: 1) collection and analysis of data on EO incidents and victims, 2) analysis and release of reports and factsheets, 3) establishment of a referral system in coordination with the health, protection and other sectors, and 4) establishment of the Victim Assistance Working Group.
The Syria Response Programme currently seeks around 52 million USD for the coming two years (2023/2024) to fulfil its role as an enabler of the humanitarian and early recovery response in Syria, through the deployment of integrated and multitasking teams in each of the UN Hubs, of Damascus, Sweida, Aleppo, Homs, Tarotus, Al-Qamishli and Deir Ezzor. In the absence of a national Mine Action Centre (MAC) in Syria, sustained funding is critical to maintain UNMAS SRP's capacity as the de-facto Mine Action Center in the country, providing advisory support to local capacities and technical and operational support to HMA actors, including quality assurance and accreditation. UNMAS will also continue coordinating the Mine Action Area of Responsibility, ensuring the integration of humanitarian mine action needs and gaps into strategic plans and advocacy documents.
Data as of June 2023