In 2020, UNMAS in Burkina Faso established the Mine Action Area of Responsibility in partnership with the National Commission for the Control of Arms (CNCA), promoted full integration of humanitarian mine action into the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021, and initiated the first ever humanitarian risk education campaign for more than 107,000 people living in regions affected by the crisis.
UNMAS works to ensure that law enforcement and security personnel are able to safely deploy in high-risk areas, contributing to the national priority to reform security institutions and promote stability and rule of law in regions impacted by the conflict. UNMAS provided risk awareness, IED threat mitigation training, and first responder medical kits for over 2,200 members of law enforcement, in addition to training instructors as part of an initiative to promote national ownership and sustainability.
UNMAS builds on the successes achieved to date, to meet the identified needs through an expansion of the areas of operation and enhancing both humanitarian mine action stakeholders and the Ministry of Security.
UNMAS Burkina Faso contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal 16 “Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions” and the Strategic Objectives of the UN Mine Action Strategy 2019-2023: SO 1. Protection of individuals and communities from the risks and socio-economic impacts of explosive ordnance strengthened, and SO 3. National institutions effectively lead and manage mine action functions and responsibilities.
UNMAS deployed to Burkina Faso in 2019 as part of the UN Secretary General’s Emergency Task Force for Burkina Faso and established a presence upon request from the Government of Burkina Faso and the Resident Coordinator. UNMAS aims to provide national institutions and affected populations the knowledge, tools, and capacity to reduce the threat posed by explosive ordnance in high-risk areas and, when support is no longer required, hand over responsibilities to national mine action counterparts.
Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) are a growing, complex threat in a context already compounded by mass displacement, armed violence and lack of access to basic services. Harder to detect, indiscriminate, and requiring specialized equipment and knowledge to mitigate, which are currently lacking in the country, their presence risks compounding existing vulnerabilities, hindering freedom of movement, and increasing instability, in addition to posing a direct threat to civilians and humanitarian operations. 1.2 million men, women, boys, and girls are estimated to be living in the areas impacted by the explosive threat. Over 764,000 of these are considered to be especially in need due to existing protection vulnerabilities.
Since 2017, 382 people have been killed or injured in explosive ordnance accidents, almost all of which were caused by IEDs (98 per cent). While members of the defense and security forces have been the primary targets since 2017, civilians accounted for 50 per cent of victims in 2020, up from 36 per cent in 2019. Explosive ordnance, IEDs in particular, can be inadvertently triggered by the victims, thus increasing the threat to those unaware of the danger. The majority of explosive accidents occurred along roads, placing IDPs, returnees, and other migrant populations, at great risk.
Enhancing national ownership of mine action:
UNMAS works with the Burkinabe Ministry of Security and the CNCA to enhance mine action capabilities with the view to a sustainable, long-term capacity. UNMAS provides advisory services, technical support, training and equipment, as well as assistance in developing national strategies and norms to help improve the management of IED mitigation activities.
Risk education for communities and aid workers:
Preserving the sanctity of life for communities and humanitarians with tailored knowledge and awareness is the foundation for mitigating the explosive threat. UNMAS undertakes risk education campaigns in regions affected by the crisis, utilizing materials gender and diversity sensitive materials developed in collaboration with the CNCA.
Train and equip against the explosive threat:
With the Ministry of Security, UNMAS provides IED threat mitigation training and equipment to law enforcement officers and cadets in training centers to help them deploy safely in high-risk areas and serve their communities. UNMAS provides risk awareness, first aid, and basic search and detect trainings, with integrated human rights and gender modules, and will be expanding to more advanced training to tackle emerging needs in Burkina Faso.
Understanding the threat:
UNMAS is developing a consolidated IED incident database and provides analysis on the trends and impact of the explosive threat. Armed groups operating in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have a regional capacity for the knowledge-transfer of IED techniques, tactics, and procedures, threatening peace and security in the country and in the sub-region, and as such, the frequency of the use of IEDs in Burkina Faso is increasing.
Advocacy and coordination:
UNMAS leads the Mine Action Sub-Cluster and contributed to the development of the 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plan, fully integrating mine action within the wider response.
UNMAS has received generous support from the Government of Canada, and the Kingdoms of the Netherlands and Denmark through the UNMAS unearmarked funding pool, allowing UNMAS to maintain the successes achieved in 2020 and continue providing support where it is needed most.
An estimated 2 million USD is needed to effectively provide support the Ministry of Security and provide a solid Humanitarian Mine action response, through increased risk education activities, and expanded capacity development and strategic efforts in 2021.
Data as of June 2021