Twenty years of cooperation between ITF and Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre

On the ocassion of marking 20 years of mine action activities of ITF in Bosnia and Herzegovina and cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre, BIH Presidency Chairman Željko Komšić and BIH Presidency Member Šefik Džaferović have made official visit to ITF headquarters in Ljubljana on December 4, 2019.

ITF was honored to welcome the esteemed guests together with its partners from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ambassador Tomaž Lovrenčič, ITF Director made an official address, followed by brief descriptions of mine action activities by Mr Saša Obradović, Director of BIH Mine Action Center (BHMAC), Mr Mirsad Mirojević, Director of OKI FANTOMI, Ms Svjetlana Pavlović, Director of Posavina bez mina, Mr Željko Volaš, Director of UDAS, and Mr. Nermin Hadžimujagić, Director of Mine Detection Dog Center in BIH (MDDC).

Bosnia and Herzegovina is considered one of the most heavily mine-contaminated countries in the world, and is the most contaminated country in Europe, with mine suspected area still making up about 2% of its total territory (1,007 km2 in mid-2019), with about 60,000 to 70,000 mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). In 1996, mine suspected or contaminated sites were estimated at spanning across 4,200 km2.

ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF) has been present in BIH since 1998. To date, more than 180,000 children and adults participated in ITF mine awareness programs, 917 mine victims received health rehabilitation, and over 5,000 mine victims from BIH received socio-economic support through sports and peer help, almost 90 square kilometers of mine suspected and contaminated territory has been cleared, released, and returned to the population. For all projects in BIH, ITF has raised over 200 million USD in 20 years. The aim of the mine action community in BIH, including ITF, is to reduce the size of mine suspected and contaminated areas below 1,000 km2 by the beginning of 2020.

This year, ITF launched a project ‘Mine Free Sarajevo 2020’ together with its partners MDDC and Marshall Legacy Institute, and that is financially supported by the United States of America. Through the project, it is expected that over 8 square kilometers of mine-contaminated and mine-suspected land of Sarajevo and the surrounding municipalities will be released, and with that the lives of more than 250,000 residents as well as countless additional visitors to the region will be saved and improved. The project will enable declaring the capital of BIH mine-free by 2020. It will allow the critical development and use of land that is currently mine-contaminated. In addition, the project aims to reignite local interest and support within the international donor community to contribute to landmine clearance and land release projects elsewhere in BIH.

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