UNITED NATIONS MINE ACTION SERVICE (UNMAS)
Established in 1997, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) leads, coordinates and implements projects and programmes to mitigate the threat posed by explosive hazards to the benefit of millions of people world-wide. UNMAS provides Member States, the United Nations system and its leadership, as well as the mine sector at large, with authoritative, impartial expertise and experience acquired through its humanitarian, development, peace operations and peacebuilding assistance to affected countries, as well as through its participation in, and contributions to, treaty-related and diplomatic processes.
In July 2018, UNMAS signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Syrian Arab Republic to establish a presence in the country and to deliver humanitarian mine action activities, as prioritized in the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). After years of crisis, Syria potentially faces extensive explosive hazard contamination, varying from a wide range of devices, such as improvised explosive devices and abandoned or unexploded devices. It is estimated that millions of people are at risk of exposure to explosive hazard contamination in their communities. Mine action is a humanitarian imperative to enable safe and timely humanitarian interventions and recovery efforts, in addition to ensuring the protection of civilians and the longer-term support to people with disabilities, including survivors of explosive hazards incidents. The need for explosive hazard risk education, survey and removal, as well as victim assistance are highly prioritized in the HRP 2018.
While the needs are dire, UNMAS in Syria has started positive engagement toward the development of humanitarian mine action activities in the country.