ITF Marks Mine Awareness Day
In 1998, ITF was founded with the purpose of helping Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) with their mine action efforts. 20 years later, BIH remains one of ITF’s key priorities. ITF wanted to honor the work of the past two decades by marking 4 April, International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, in Sarajevo, where ITF began its activities, with the opening of a photo exhibition “Imagine Tomorrow Free of Mines”. The exhibition, organized in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in BIH, will be on display until 14 April 2018 at the National Gallery of BIH in Sarajevo.
The two decades of ITF’s work are represented by the twenty photographs displayed in honor of all who have been assisting in rehabilitation programs for mine survivors; of all who educate children and adults through mine risk educational programs; of all who have been working as deminers and risking their lives on a daily basis; of all who have invested time, energy and know-how in advancing the cause of landmine clearance; and of all who have suffered due to the presence of mines. Finally, the photographs are displayed in honor of all who have prioritized the goal of making BIH a mine-free country, in which future generations will have a safe place to live.
At the opening, the guests were addressed by Ambassador Lovrenčič, ITF Director, H.E. Ms Maureen Cormack, Ambassador of the United States in BIH, H.E. Ms Zorica Bukinac, Ambassador of Republic of Slovenia in BIH, and Mr Suvad Džafić, Representative of the BIH Demining Commission.
Ambassador Bukinac reiterated its support to ITF and stressed the importance of peace and solidarity: “This great joint venture started while Slovenia was still considered to be eligible for international assistance itself. It should be noted, we offered assistance to others just as we have received it ourselves before that. Today, BIH is doing the same. Not only is a donor itself, but it also contributes to the best of its abilities to peace and stabilization in less fortunate countries. And this, ladies and gentlemen, this is the essence of it. This is the value to be observed, solidarity with those in need, a seal I hope never gets broken.”
Ambassador Lovrenčič thanked all the donors that contributed to ITF projects in BIH and remained optimistic: “BIH was always at the heart of our attention and our effort for donor mobilization. Today, the final objective is visible, on the horizon, closer than ever. It seems feasible that, if donor countries, local authorities and ITF join forces,we can finally achieve the noble goal of turning BIH in a mine-free country. Let’s re-double our efforts now that the end is in sight!”
To shed further light on past mine action activities in the country and most importantly the current needs of the mine action community, Ambassador Lovrenčič talked to several media outlets and reporters.
In order to reflect on past achievements, current project and future needs, the ITF team visited a project site in Ilidža near Sarajevo where land release works are currently implemented by Mine Detection Dog Center BIH. The project site is the last one in the municipality before it is declared as mine-free. Since there is still a long way to go regarding mine action in BIH, the ITF team used the opportunity and talked about the future, brainstormed on the vision and mission of ITF and its programs. Despite the daunting task to reach a mine free world, ITF remains dedicated and committed to the common goal of a safer future.