Libya

Mine Action Appeal 2012

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UN joins Government and NGOs to launch urgent Libya mine action appeal

TRIPOLI, Libya (15 December 2011) – Life-saving mine action work in Libya will be forced to reduce in size in 2012 whilst the threats continue to be discovered unless the international community steps forward with greater contributions. That is the message of the Mine Action Appeal that was launched today at the United Nations Information Centre in Tripoli. Organized by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) on behalf of the Joint Mine Action Coordination Team (JMACT), the Appeal is a call for greater support towards reducing the contamination of mines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Libya.

The conflict in Libya may be over, but families across the country are still suffering from its effects, namely the leftover landmines and unexploded ordnance in their farmlands, on the school routes, and in their backyards. While the country’s new National Transitional Council has demonstrated the political will to solve the problem, its capacity to do so, along with the JMACT, a partnering of the United Nations and International NGOs to present a coordinated response to this threat, is far from sufficient.

Since April 2011, the JMACT and its partners have cleared almost 100,000 Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), and provided Risk Education to over 26,000 people. But the message of today's Mine Action Appeal was that this important work will come to a stop unless more funds start to flow.

In 2012, the JMACT estimates that $18.6M will be required to ensure that clearance and ammunition management activities can not only continue at their current capacity in the East and West of the country, which were among the hardest hit during the war, but can expand to meet the increasing demands. Without those funds, the country will not be able to rebuild as it should, and mines and other ERW will continue to take the lives and limbs of innocent victims.

There is also continued concern over the free and easy access to large amounts of ammunition, a problem that persists throughout Libya. This ammunition not only threatens the successful stabilisation of the country in the immediate aftermath of the conflict but also has the potential to be illegally proliferated and thus poses an international security threat.

Max Dyck, Programme Manager for the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) said, “If we, the people and nations of the world do not assist Libyans now in trying to get to grips with this problem, it will spread. It will be a threat against all of our countries in very little time.”

The Mine Action Appeal was endorsed by JMACT partners, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, and the newly formed Libya Mine Action Authority.

For further information or to request an interview, please contact:
Max Dyck | Programme Manager | United Nations Mine Action Service| +218 919357712 | maximilliand@unops.org
Karen McClure | Programme Officer | United Nations Mine Action Service | +218 919411834 | karenm@unops.org
Stefanie Carmichael | Communications Officer | United Nations Mine Action Service | +218 919471003 | stefaniec@unops.org
Amy White | Programme Officer | United Nations Mine Action Service | +1 917 3673953 | white9@un.org