Denmark supports demining in Ukraine

Ukraine demining
Destruction in Ukraine

 Denmark has announced a contribution of US$1.6 million to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to strengthen Ukraine’s coordination of demining and the removal of unexploded ordnance.

Ukraine refugees. © IOM Photos
Ukraine refugees © IOM Photos

The project will help ensure existing national institutions are able to effectively respond to, lead and manage the complex challenges of making the lands safe again for human habitation and agriculture.

The project is being implemented jointly with the Government of Ukraine’s National Mine Action Authority and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in collaboration with UN sister agencies and mine action partners.

Serious threat

Manal Fouani, UNDP interim Resident Representative in Ukraine, said the timely investment of Denmark in the Mine Action sector in Ukraine will be used to design and implement an effective a nationally led mine action response for Ukraine based on international best practices, and to thoroughly assess the nature and extent of the explosive ordnance contamination and its impacts on the local populations.

“The current situation is seriously challenging decades of human and economic development in Ukraine across an increasing area of the national territory,” said Fouani. “Any economic activity to return these lands to productive use will have to take this into account.”

Although the Government has been involved with clearing landmines across eastern Ukraine (Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts) since 2015, it now has a much larger area to contend with.

Danger to the breadbasket of the world

Photo: Olga Subach/Unsplash

Ole Egberg Mikkelsen, Ambassador of Denmark to Ukraine, said strengthening Ukraine’s ability to respond to the unfolding crisis is of paramount concern. “Ukraine’s future ability to grow food will for the most part depend on its ability to return its lands to productive use as soon as conditions allow,” he said. “Otherwise what was once the breadbasket of the world could become a net importer if its fields become too dangerous to cultivate.”

The project, which is part of UNDP’s larger mine action programme in Ukraine, will also strengthen the capacities of mine action authorities across the country, and will target outreach and communication to ensure the general public and local authorities are well informed of risks and safety measures when approaching contaminated lands.