The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
High-Level International Donors’ Conference on humanitarian demining in Ukraine
UNOPS UN Mine Action Project Manager in Ukraine, delivered a statement on behalf of UNOPS Executive Director, Jorge Moreira da Silva, at the International Donors’ Conference on humanitarian demining in Ukraine – Zagreb, 11 October 2023
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Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, I stand before you on behalf of UNOPS to address an issue of paramount importance: the absence of momentum in the removal of landmines and explosive remnants of war, which continues to profoundly affect the safety and security of Ukrainians since the invasion by the Russian Federation on February 24, 2022.
UNOPS has been at the forefront of efforts to address the global crisis of landmines for twenty-five years, implementing countless projects for the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), UNDP and other partners worldwide. Our commitment to support our partners with mine action activities such as landmine clearance,operational capability building, and victim assistance in regions like Somalia, Sudan, and Palestine, to name a few, has laid the essential first step in the foundations of safe and secure development initiatives. Our support contributed to making Nepal a mine-free country. UNOPS' technical expertise in the procurement of mine action-related goods and services has been instrumental in achieving this remarkable milestone.
As of today, Ukraine is one of the most contaminated countries in the world. We acknowledge and recognize the commitment of the Ukrainian people in addressing the casualties caused by landmines and pledge our support to empower Ukrainian institutions to confront this struggle. The humanitarian-development nexus is clear - demining is a precursor for recovery and reconstruction. The situation in Ukraine exemplifies this, and we are committed to providing concrete assistance tailored to the exact needs of Ukrainians.
As Croatia knows all too well, the menace of landmines can have devastating consequences. We recognize the government of Croatia, as well as all de-miners on the ground, for their paramount efforts in building a safer future. It is crucial to continue our efforts in clearing these deadly devices. In Iraq, UNOPS managed contracts producing various activities of underwater demining, allowing for safe passage in waterways. In South Sudan and elsewhere, our technical experts pioneered the use of land release techniques, enabling the safe return of land to communities. With a proven track record, we have the capacity, platforms, and ability to deliver a targeted approach. Our focused delivery allows partners to concentrate on their core competencies while ensuring transparency, anti-corruption measures, and fair competition in procurement processes.
In Ukraine, we have already cultivated relationships with manufacturers of specialized demining equipment to collaborate on cutting-edge methods such as drone technology alongside UNDP. As members of the Mine Action Area of Responsibility, we are dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by a difficult security climate, including the use of explosives in urban environments, a challenge we have met head-on in bomb clearance in Gaza, Iraq, Syria. Our pool of experts, vetted and ready to deploy at a moment's notice, allows for the rapid organization of experienced mine action companies, which can partner with local entities to enhance effectiveness.
With the largest operational mine action capacity within the UN system, UNOPS is ready to assist the government of Ukraine and its committed partners within the European Union, the international community, and the UN country team in delivering an efficient mine action program. We stand with the tools and platforms necessary to make a difference, just as we have done around the world for twenty-five years. It is our collective responsibility to address this challenge with unwavering determination. Together, we can build a safer Ukraine.