For the International Day of Mine Action, UNDP reflects on 2019 and celebrates significant changes in mine action in Yemen.
Since the late 1990’s, in partnership with our national counterparts, UNDP has supported Yemen’s mine action operations primarily through institutional and technical support, capacity development, resource mobilisation and procurement of equipment. Activities have focused on restoring livelihoods, capacities and building resilience by: a) creating jobs and livelihoods; b) strengthening national institutions that work to help Yemen continue to develop; and, c) assisting Yemeni organizations to implement mine action convention obligations.
Mines and unexploded ordnance contamination erode the social structures of communities, damages livelihoods and the wider economy. Additionally, there is also the ever-present fear that the presence of these create in communities and the obvious personal impact upon victims.
This is why the work of our partners, the Yemeni Executive Mine Action Centre (YEMAC), is so important. In 2019 alone, they removed over 66,000 pieces of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) throughout Yemen positively impacting the lives of 126,000 people. They cleared 3,487 square meters of land in 11 governorates, allowing people the safety and security to farm and live a freer life. And by clearing the Hodeidah Red Sea Mills, 51,000 tons of grain were able to be disseminate to Yemenis in need.
Last year, the mine action sector witnessed more partners becoming involved in the mine action efforts in Yemen. For example, the international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) HALO Trust and Humanity and Inclusion deployed staff to Aden to join the Danish Demining Group who were already present in country. And – in collaboration with UNDP – the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining became is helping reestablish the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) and support the development of the national mine action standards. As part of its three-year extension to its commitments under the Anti-Personal Mine Ban Convention, these actions will help prepare the Yemen mine action sector to conduct a survey intended to reset the baseline of contamination.
All of this work is contributing to several key humanitarian and development elements that will help ensure Yemenis remain able to live a life of dignity. Specifically, these actions enable: (a) the improvement of humanitarian access; (b) the safe movement of populations and goods; and, (c) the expansion of non-governmental (NGO) presence, both in number of NGOs and size of their projects.
It also helps Yemen meet its international Mine Action obligations the revision and development the National Mine Action Standards (NMAS) and for YEMAC to comply with the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS). Additionally, as the Yemeni Mine Action Coordination Centre establishment is progressing, it presents a major change in the mine action structure and enables a coordinated response to the contamination in the country.
To ensure we are able to continue to assist whenever and where ever possible – and to better support the mine action sector and partners – UNDP has established several Mine Action offices throughout Yemen. With the support of our donors, we will continue to focus our mine action efforts upon:
Completing the development of the National Mine Action Standards
Completing the establishment of Mine Action Coordination Centre
Further advancing the expansion of the INGO’s footprint in the country
Supporting YEMAC in achieving International Mine Action Standards in its operations
Further developing a broad spectrum of activities countering the proliferation of Improvised Explosive Devices.