UNMAS wins UN-wide award for project in Haiti

United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) colleagues receive the Innovation award at the annual UN 21 Awards ceremony in New York.

The UNMAS project, delivered through UNOPS support, 'Development of a Mobile Weapons Cutting Shear' was presented with the Innovations Award at the 14th annual UN 21 Awards at UN Headquarters on 24 October, which coincided with UN Day – the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations.

"Destroying weapons is more than a symbolic gesture in the peace-building process, it is instrumental to national recovery and the healing of wounds, and as such the capacity to implement weapons cutting on a nationwide basis enable communities to participate in a meaningful way in the recovery and peace-building process," said UNMAS Director Agnès Marcaillou.

The project's focal points were Richard Boulter and Takuto Kubo.  Mr. Kubo was on hand for the ceremony and was presented with the award by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Under-Secretary General for Management, Yukio Takasu.

The Innovation award was one of five award categories this year.  'Development of a Mobile Weapons Cutting Shears' was among three other finalists in this category, including another UNMAS project, 'Rightsizing the UNMAS Afghanistan Programme'.

Across the UN only 15 projects were shortlisted for this year's awards. UNMAS was also nominated in the Outstanding Vision category for 'Emergency Response Staff Training in Afghanistan', which was won by the African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur's 'Community-Based Labour-Intensive Projects'.

The UN 21 Awards were established in 1996 by the Secretary General and pay tribute to outstanding staff initiatives that promote innovation, efficiency and excellence in the delivery of the Organization's programmes and services. This year, over 75 submissions were received for the five categories: Efficiency; Innovation; Outstanding Vision; Services beyond the Call of Duty; and UN Values.

"It is a great honour to see that our operational support to partners in procurement and infrastructure has translated into tangible results with life-changing impact in Haiti, while supporting long-term peace and security", said UNOPS Executive Director, Grete Faremo.

In 2014, UNOPS Peace and Security Cluster assisted and supported the mine-action work of UNMAS and partners in 17 countries and territories. UNMAS is UNOPS main partner and helps deliver a range of results, including humanitarian rapid response and technical support deployments to countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Libya, Mali, Somalia, and South Sudan.