Libyan Mine Action Center to develop country-wide strategy with UNSMIL support

UNSMIL Mine Action Section Chief Fatma Zourrig addresses the audience at an event marking International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance on 9 May 2024.

14 May 2024

Libyan Mine Action Center to develop country-wide strategy with UNSMIL support

The Libyan Mine Action Center announced plans 9 May to develop a country-wide mine action strategy in collaboration with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya’s Mine Action Section

The announcement came during a Tripoli event LibMAC organized, with support from UNSMIL’s Mine Action Section and seven nongovernmental organizations, to commemorate International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance.

The event, themed “Protecting Lives and Building Peace”, launched with speeches from key sector players before moving to a panel discussion and exhibition about demining efforts and activities to raise awareness about the danger of mines and unexploded ordnance. About 200 people attended, including representatives from the Presidential Council and ministries of defense, interior and health; mayors of municipalities and victims affected by landmines and remnants of war; the Ambassador to Libya from the Netherlands; and military attachés from Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy.

In her remarks, Fatma Zourrig, Chief of UNSMIL’s Mine Action Section, gave an overview of how the Mission acts in an advisory capacity, supporting Libyan institutions to clear explosive ordnance to protect civilians and secure and manage weapons stockpiles to prevent proliferation and unplanned explosions.

While Libya has managed to clean up about 36 percent of the hazardous land identified in Libya, about 436 million square meters remain contaminated, Zourrig said.

In the last five years, more than 400 people have been injured or killed in explosive ordnance related accidents, she said. Thirty-five of those happened in the last year. Twenty-six of those victims were children.

“These figures not only highlight the grave challenges we face, but also underscore the vital importance of international partnerships,” she said. “By collaborating, we can strengthen the capacities of the mine action sector, ensuring a safer future for all.”

Developing the Libya Mine Action Strategy will help the country to clarify needs and priorities and identify opportunities and risks, she said. This will guide collaboration between national and international governmental and non-governmental actors, maximizing the impact of mine action efforts and minimizing the risks to communities.