Mine Free Sarajevo Field Operations Completed
The Mine Free Sarajevo project was launched in April 2019 and is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most important land release projects of the last decade. Since Bosnia and Herzegovina remains the most mine-contaminated country in Europe, many residents of Sarajevo had to live their lives along mine warning signs and active minefields. We are proud to announce that at the end of May 2021, all land release activities of Mine Free Sarajevo project were completed. The area of Sarajevo and its municipalities Vogošća, East Stari Grad, Stari Grad and Novi Grad have been cleared of all known landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) and the Sarajevo region will now finally become mine-free and safe for the local population.
The project, implemented by ITF in partnership with the Mine Detection Dog Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina (MDDC) and the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), is a major step towards freeing the country from the deadly legacy of war and allowing citizens to finally live freely. This will also enable social and economic growth and the development of infrastructure projects, many of which have been on-hold for years.
Land release methodology used in this project is a cost-effective and safe way to release large areas by combining technical and non-technical methods. During the project, 841 explosive devices were found and destroyed on seven land release tasks, out of which there were 445 mines and 396 unexploded ordnances (UXO), and more than 6 million square meters of previously inaccessible land is in the process of being returned to local communities. As Sarajevo slowly progresses to become a mine-free community, numerous development opportunities will open, ranging from boosted economy in the old industrial zone to tourism in rural areas. Above all else, thanks to brave deminers, citizens and tourists who will visit this beautiful and culturally rich city will be able to finally walk freely and safely after more than 20 years.
None of this would be possible without the funding and support of the United States as well as the assistance and support of local authorities, especially BHMAC, Armed Forces of BiH and Federal Administration of Civil Protection, the mayors of individual municipalities, the mayor of the City of Sarajevo. This project is an example of the strong partnership with a common goal, to clear Bosnia and Herzegovina from mines.