Press Release

The Government of Belgium Provides Additional Contribution to UNMAS in Support of the Iraqi Mine Action Sector

01 July 2024

Baghdad, 1 July 2024  The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq welcomes a new contribution of EUR 750,000 (approximately USD 813,075) from the Government of Belgium, in support of humanitarian mine action endeavors in Iraq. Belgium has been a consistent supporter of UNMAS Iraq activities in support of sustainable and efficient explosive hazard management as well as technical and advisory support for Iraqi national mine action authorities. This is the sixth consecutive annual contribution from Belgium bringing the total contribution to EUR 7,000,000 (approximately USD 7,400,000).

Iraq is one of the most explosive ordnance contaminated countries in the world. According to data from the national mine action authorities, more than 2.700 square kilometers are contaminated with landmines, cluster munitions, improvised explosive devices, and other types of explosive remnants of war across Iraq (federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq). Explosive ordnance poses a concern to public safety and restricts access to livelihood opportunities and infrastructure.

The additional funding from the Government of Belgium will support the continuation clearance of explosive ordnance in the areas liberated from ISIL through its national mine action operators. Survey and clearance operations will contribute to enabling the safe and dignified return of internally displaced people, and will allow for development efforts to go forward. Furthermore, this contribution will support explosive ordnance risk education efforts delivered to raise awareness and protect civilians. The new contribution will also support UNMAS Iraq’s technical advisory and support to the national mine action authorities. 

Remarking on the contribution, Mr. Serge Dickschen, Ambassador of Belgium, stated “Belgium is pleased to continue its long-standing support to UNMAS in Iraq. Despite significant progress, contamination from landmines and other explosive remnants continue having an impact not only on the immediate safety of children, women and men, but also on their access to services and livelihood, on reconstruction and on sustainable development (education, health care, etc.). Mine action therefore also remains crucial to ensure the safe and dignified return of internally displaced people. Belgium particularly welcomes UNMAS commitment to strengthening the capacities of local organizations and authorities, with the aim for mine action to be more sustainable and efficient. In addition, the integration of women into mine action and UNMAS's management structure is very much valued for its benefits on the entire community”

Mr. Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Iraq, Chief Mine Action Programme, expressed his gratitude: “UNMAS Iraq deeply appreciates the generous contribution from the Government of Belgium. This support enables us to continue assisting the Government of Iraq and national operators in creating a safe environment free from explosive hazards for all Iraqis.”

Pehr Lodhammar

Pehr Lodhammar

Chief Mine Action Programme
Mr. Pehr Lodhammar is the Chief Mine Action Programme in Iraq, managing all international and national staff in the program, in addition to donor relations and resource mobilization. As a key advocate for the mine action sector in Iraq, he is often involved with coordination with the highest levels of the Iraqi government, and represents UNMAS at international venues and conferences. Mr. Lodhammar holds a Master’s Degree in International Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, and has more than 31 years of military and humanitarian mine action experience.

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