“The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is a timely reminder that clearing land of explosive remnants of war saves lives and protects livelihoods “ said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on the occasion of the International Day of Mine Awareness which falls on the 4th of April of every year.
Ban Ki-moon also called for universal adherence to important treaties, increased support for mine awareness and mine action, and greater global solidarity in support of this crucial element in our drive to build a safer and more prosperous world for all.
This occasion was an opportunity for The Lebanese Mine Action Center (LMAC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Lebanon to renew the international support to mine action in Lebanon and to continue achieving the progress in clearing lands. The LMAC and the UNDP organized a field visit to mine clearance sites in Nabatieh and Marjeyoun area on Friday, 8th of April.
H.E. Mr. Johan Verkammen, Ambassador of Belgium in Lebanon, Mr. Robert Watkins, UNDP’s resident representative and a delegation from the Embassy also visited the Regional Mine Action Center in Nabatieh to witness the mine action activities executed by the Lebanon Mine Action Center (LMAC).
Brigadier General Mohamed Fehmi, Director of the Lebanon Mine Action Center briefed them on the Lebanese Mine Action Center activities, on the current mines and cluster munitions situation in South Lebanon.
During the field visit, The Belgium Ambassador declared that his Government donated a Million Euros to UNDP’s project “Support to Lebanon Mine Action Programme – Phase II”, undertaken in partnership with the Ministry of Defense and LMAC.
This grant is a part of UNDP’s current support to the Lebanese Mine Action Programme that was initiated since 2001, with a view to strengthening the capacity of the LMAC to effectively manage mine clearance operations.
Mr. Watkins explained that through this grant, and with the partnership of LMAC, support will be provided to strengthen a national clearance NGO, in order to decrease the dependency on international organizations and to supplement the Lebanese Armed Forces humanitarian clearance teams.
A key objective of this programme, under the leadership of the LMAC, will be to develop a partnership with international clearance NGOs to work in conjunction with a fully licensed Lebanese national clearance NGO, in order to build local clearance capacity.
The meeting at the Lebanese Mine Action Center (LMAC) was followed by a field visit to the cluster munitions clearance sites in Houla and Nabatieh El Fawka.
The Lebanese mine Action Center (LMAC) manages the Humanitarian Mine Action activities according to the National and International Standards through: clearance, mine-risk education,mine victim assistance, advocacy and resource mobilization.