International Mine Awareness Day
It is important to acknowledge the increasing contamination with landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) in a number of countries around the world. It is estimated that 55 million people still live in fear from the threat of landmines. A number which is alarming, especially since armed conflicts continue and contamination with ERW increases. The need to enhance efforts in ridding the world of landmines and ERW is now more important than ever.
The most vulnerable are those attempting to rebuild their lives or returning home after conflict, where food is in short supply and medical services are often limited. Families trying to meet their basic needs for survival – growing crops, gathering wood, or collecting water – are facing unacceptable risks in their daily lives. To support and uplift those, who have been the most affected by mines, we continue with our activities around the world to reach our goal and to rid the world of landmines.
We have reached an important milestone last year by completing the Mine Free Sarajevo project during which we cleared the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina from mines. We are proud to announce the work in the country continues as this year we plan to reach the mine free status in municipality Tešanj.
Clearing the land is essential, but our aim is to support communities and create opportunities for mine victims’ lives to return to normality with several mine victim assistance projects. Our goal is also to prevent the children, farmers, shepherds, and locals from becoming mine victims by educating them on how to act when they face the danger of landmines and ERW. We support the initiative the NGO Spirit of Soccer started in cooperation with Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) on this important day in Ukraine. The hybrid training initiative will combine lifesaving Explosive Ordnance Risk Education training (EORE) and football serving both children and adults.
And it is on us, to make sure players will have playing fields, where they can test their new tricks. It is crucial to link mine action with broader development efforts, so that we can restore agriculture surfaces, hospitals, schools, and the rest of the infrastructure.
Today is the day to celebrate the progress, which has already been made, thanks to the difficult and dangerous work of the field teams, the dedication of all those who support them and the tremendous financial support of donors. But it is also the day to remember the tremendous work that yet needs to be done. 2020 was the sixth year in a row to continue the trend of a high number of mine victims – over 7000 people were injured or killed due to mine/ERW. It is crucial to increase assistance in mine action.
Collectively we have the knowledge, skill, and resources to achieve it, so let's make future generations proud.