Mine Awareness Day
Amidst rising economic and public health as well as other humanitarian and global challenges, mine action continues to save lives in countries, regions, cities and villages affected by explosive hazards contamination. Through mine action, we often ensure the preconditions for the safe and secure conduct of everyday lives. Explosive hazards continue to block access to water, which is making it hard for people to respect public health guidelines during a pandemic. Contamination also prevents access to other economically valuable resources, such as agricultural land or forests. Explosives limit access to residential areas, preventing the safe return of displaced populations to their homes.
These and other negative impacts of landmines and explosive remnants of war can be mitigated by bringing demining together with other aspects of mine action and making sure that all stakeholders act in the spirit of partnership to help build resilient communities. It is important to educate children and adults, local populations, displaced persons and humanitarian workers alike on how to behave and react when they approach explosive hazards. With innovative methods, this is possible even in times of social distancing. Risk education may reduce the number of lives and limbs lost as well as the pressures of already strained medical facilities.
In addition, we should focus our strengths on completely removing the threat of landmines and other explosive remnants of war. Because they will not go away unless we physically remove and destroy them. By failing to do so, or by failing to destroy their surpluses, we risk them being transformed into future weapons.
At ITF, we believe in a compassionate approach to the communities with which we are partnering to make them safer and more resilient. To continue doing so, we encourage governments, organizations and private donors as well as individuals to join us on our mission and extend their support to mine action, which – sadly – continues to be desperately needed. As we keep on building and expanding on ways that will lead to lasting peace and sustainable practices, and in light of ongoing and new armed conflicts, mine action may become even more relevant in the future.
Ambassador Tomaž Lovrenčič