The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Message on the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

Message on the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action by Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director Jorge Moreira da Silva.

We mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action in a world that has become more violent and fragile.

More areas are contaminated by mines, making communities more vulnerable.

Every year, thousands of people - many of them children - are killed or injured by mines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices.

These deadly devices are a hindrance to humanitarian response, to healing, and to a peaceful way forward.

They hamper sustainable and inclusive development.

The path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals needs to be cleared of explosive ordnance. And this requires collective efforts.

UNOPS is committed to supporting the UN and all partners in this work.

From Gaza to Ukraine, from South Sudan to Afghanistan, my colleagues work to mitigate the risks of explosive ordnance and provide assistance to those affected.

In this, we build on nearly 30 years of experience in implementing complex mine action projects in partnership with the UN Mine action Service (UNMAS), UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR and others.

In fact, UNOPS has the largest operational mine action capacity within the UN, the expertise we will continue to make available to the UN and all partners needing our support.

Mine action is also a space where we innovate and push for profound societal shifts, from using the latest technological tools to make better informed decisions and manage risks, to promoting gender parity, diversity and inclusion.

The rise in conflicts is a key challenge - but so is the impact of a changing climate on demining efforts. In Yemen, for example, seasonal flooding has led to the migration of mines. In South Sudan, my colleagues responded rapidly to clear contaminated land when communities displaced by flooding had settled in a minefield.

Now more than ever, our work in mine action needs to go hand in hand with efforts to build climate resilience.

On this international day, let’s renew our resolve to rid the world of this deadly legacy of conflict, and to support communities to return to their homes, recover and rebuild, for a safe, peaceful and prosperous future for all.

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