The Government of Sweden extends its support to explosive hazards management activities in Iraq
Baghdad, 2 October 2023: The Government of Sweden contributed an additional 10 million Swedish Krona (SEK) (USD 898,133.84) to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in support of the humanitarian mine action sector endeavors to reduce the risks of explosive ordnance contamination and protect the lives of vulnerable communities in Iraq.
Since UNMAS programme inception in 2015, the Government of Sweden, through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), has contributed SEK 135 million (over USD 14 million) to address the needs of explosive ordnance affected populations and support humanitarian and stabilization efforts in Iraq.
Iraq is one of the most explosive ordnance contaminated countries in the world. The national mine action authorities estimate that there is more than 2.942 million square kilometers of explosive ordnance contamination including conventional landmines and victim operated improvised explosive devices, cluster munitions and other types of explosive remnants of war in Iraq. Explosive ordnance threatens public safety, hinders the safe return of displaced communities and prevents access to infrastructure and livelihood activities.
With this additional funding, UNMAS will survey and clear explosive hazards left from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) war, which includes improvised explosive devices scattered on agricultural land and in residential communities and will deliver explosive ordnance risk education to communities in Ninewa governorate. Clearance of explosive contamination will enable the safe and dignified return of Internally Displaced Persons and enable reconstruction, and rehabilitation projects. UNMAS will also be able to continue to provide support for national mine action NGOs to enable them to autonomously lead and manage the humanitarian mine action response.
“UNMAS work in Iraq has been crucial for re-integration, social security and livelihood support and is an integrated part of sustainable development after years of contamination of explosives. The support is also aiming to strengthen the national capacity to enable the work in agriculture, water and safe returnes to high explosive risk areas.” says Swedish Ambassador to Iraq, Her Excellency Ms. Jessica Svärdström.
“UNMAS Iraq greatly appreciates the additional contribution from the Government of Sweden. This timely contribution will be used to continue implementing life- saving activities through the removal of explosive weapons and this will facilitate the safe use of the land and enable the safe and dignified return of displaced populations. The fact that we will be able to continue strengthening the national mine action capacity is also critical to ensure a sustained national and localised mine action response in Iraq,” stated Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq Chief Mine Action Programme.
Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq, Chief Mine Action Programme: firstname.lastname@example.org