Clearance Projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Progress Towards Mine-Safe Communities
We are thrilled to share the remarkable progress being made in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) through our land release, mine clearance and technical survey projects, thanks to the invaluable support of the U.S. Department of State and the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement. BIH continues to face the daunting challenge of being one of the most mine-contaminated countries globally. Mines and unexploded ordnance pose grave threats to personal security, hinder socio-economic development, and impede post-conflict reconstruction efforts. However, through the collaborative efforts we are making significant strides in rendering municipalities in BIH mine-safe.
During our site visits together with the donor representatives of U.S. Department of State Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement to Hodbina/Mostar, Visoko, and Doboj BiH, we had the privilege of witnessing the significant strides made in the land release projects. We express our sincere appreciation to the implementing partners for their dedication and expertise. Their tireless efforts, supported by the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre (BHMAC), are instrumental in achieving the goal of a mine-safe Bosnia and Herzegovina. These projects not only alleviate the immediate threat to personal safety but also pave the way for long-term socio-economic development and post-conflict reconstruction.
The magnitude of the mine contamination issue in BIH is staggering. As of 2022, the suspected mine area covers approximately 956 square kilometers, representing over 1.96% of the country's territory. The total population residing in impacted communities exceeds 845,000. According to the BHMAC, approximately 79,000 mines and explosive remnants of war still pose a grave threat to the lives of these residents. Tragically, since 1996, mine and unexploded ordnance accidents have claimed the lives of 618 individuals, leaving 1,766 locals as mine/ERW victims.
The impact of our clearance projects is immense. Not only do they save and improve lives, but they also contribute to the economic recovery of numerous municipalities. By making these areas safe and accessible, the clearance projects create opportunities for communities to flourish and thrive. Moreover, the successful implementation of these projects sparks interest in clearance activities, fostering a collective commitment to declaring all of Bosnia and Herzegovina mine-safe.
As we continue our collaborative efforts, we emphasize the importance of recognizing the pivotal role played by the United States of America in this endeavor. Their support has been instrumental in our progress towards making BIH mine-safe. We extend our deepest gratitude for their sustained commitment, resources, and belief in our mission.