Since 1st January 2016, UNMAS has supported the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in the achievement of its mandate of Protection of Civilians (PoC) and supporting the stabilisation and strengthening of state institutions and key governance and security reforms. Currently, UNMAS MONUSCO supports the MONUSCO PoC mandate by responding to explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) requests from civilians, FARDC and MONUSCO. The number of beneficiaries from these activities are estimated at 1,022,600 civilians who now have safe access to key infrastructures and land in the provinces of North Kivu, Ituri, South Kivu, Tanganyika, Haut Katanga, Haut-Ulele, Kasai, Kasai-Central, Manima and Tshopo), from which a total of 199,000 explosive items and 1,943,500 Small Arms Ammunition (SAA) have been removed. In order to support the progressive transition of mine action activities to national counterparts, UNMAS MONUSCO has nationalised all EOD operations in support of MONUSCO POC mandate since November 2020.
UNMAS is working to ensure the protection of civilians through its improvised explosive devices (IED) disposal team based in Beni to enhance MONUSCO’s IED disposal capabilities, preparedness and readiness to protect civilians and UN staff in emergency situations. UNMAS MONUSCO also supports the Congolese Mine Action Center (CCLAM) in developing national standards on IED. Since 2019, UNMAS provides the secretariat of the internal MONUSCO Working Group on IED mitigation measures and supports national authorities in the establishment of a national IED working group (GoDRC IED WG). A workshop to validate the terms of reference of the GoDRC IED WG is being prepared with the CCLAM.
With funding from MONUSCO, UNMAS has assisted the national authorities in enhancing their capability to safely manage, store state-owned weapons and ammunition.
UNMAS will continue building on the success attained so far and enhance support to both humanitarian mine action and complete transition of the remaining humanitarian mine action activities to national counterparts.
Since independence in 1960, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has had several armed conflicts resulting in nationwide contamination by explosive hazards and illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons. UNMAS MONUSCO has been present in the DRC since 2002 and currently has offices in Beni, Bukavu, Goma,Kalemie and Kinshasa, to coordinate and implement its country-wide activities in support of the Government of the DRC, MONUSCO and the UN Country Team.
In compliance with Security Council Resolutions 2098 (2013), 2409 (2018), 2463 (2019), 2502 (2019), 2556 (2020), 2612 (2021), 2641 (2022) UNMAS conducts explosive management activities to protect civilians and contribute to the safety and security of UN personnel, as well as weapons and ammunition management activities, to reinforce the current capacity of national security and defense institutions to safely store and manage their weapons and stockpiles, in line with international standards.
Addressing Explosive Ordnance (EO) threats resulting from conflict in the east:
UNMAS MONUSCO conducts EOD spot tasks to remove the threat posed to civilians by landmines and ERW, delivers awareness sessions on the risks posed by explosives to MONUSCO’s civilian and uniformed personnel, and staff from UN agencies, funds and programmes, and supports the Mission’s military and police units in the disposal of obsolete and unserviceable ammunition as well as in clearance critical to ensure safe camp closures prior to handover to civilian use. These tasks enable increased access to key infrastructure such as roads, housing, farmland, hospitals, and facilitate the resumption of income-generating activities.
DRC security sector and national NGOs responds appropriately to EOD tasks:
The 2019 MONUSCO’s Independent Strategic Review recommended that UNMAS MONUSCO strengthen the national security forces’s capacity to clear mines and dispose of explosive ordnance. UNMAS MONUSCO will continue to work towards developing a sustainable national capacity, supporting the national security forces and national NGOs in enhancing their explosive hazard management capacity after the exit of MONUSCO. UNMAS liaises with the Protection Cluster and with mine action operators to advocate for representation of mine action within the UN and at national level, as well as for resource mobilisation efforts. Through policy and advocacy efforts, UNMAS supports CCLAM in complying with article 5 of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC).
DRC national security institutions effectively manage and secure weapons and ammunition stockpiles in accordance with international standards:
In accordance with resolution (2612) (2021) 'OP 29 (ii) and the revised MONUSCO concept in 2022, UNMAS MONUSCO continues to develop a national capacity within security forces to mark, register and safely manage their weapons and ammunition stockpiles to avoid human rights violations with state-owned weapons and diversion to armed groups. As such, UNMAS MONUSCO supports the National Commission for Small Arms and Light Weapons control (CNC-ALPC) through (1) training to FARDC and PNC to destroy obsolete, abandoned and surrendered weapons and ammunition; (2) provision of equipment to safely store state-owned weapons and ammunition; and (3) policy and framework development advice to CNC-ALPC to develop strategies, standard operating procedure (SOPs), guidelines, a monitoring and evaluation framework for the 2018-2022 National Action Plan for SALW control and reporting capacity against relevant international frameworks and development of the next NAP 2023-2027.
Explosive Threat Analysis and Response:
In 2020 and 2022, UNMAS MONUSCO conducted two IED threat assessments and provided analysis on the trends and impact of the explosive threat. Given the increase of IED related incidents and as per ISR recommendations on IEDs, UNMAS MONUSCO focuses on the need to strengthen the Mission’s preparedness to respond to IED threats by providing capacity building in explosive hazard assessment training (EHAT) to MONUSCO troops and FARDC.
Advocacy and Coordination:
UNMAS acts as the provider of last resort for the mine action AoR and contributed to the development of the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plan, fully integrating mine action within the wider response. On 22 November 2022, UNMAS signed a grant agreement with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for a 24-month project starting on 1 December 2022, to support the Congolese government's efforts to achieve its goal of zero mines on its territory.
UNMAS is currently funded by MONUSCO Assessed Budget. The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has also recently approved a 2 years project to support the Government of the DRC in achieving its AntiPersonnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) article 5 compliance and its goals to being declared mine free. In the past, UNMAS was also supported financially in the past by the Central Emergency Relief Fund, the Governments of Japan, Cyprus, Netherlands, Denmark as well as and the United Nations Association of Sweden. Additionally, the Government of Switzerland provided in-kind personnel, including explosive ordnance disposal, information management, security and logistics experts, contributing to achieving UNMAS objectives in the DRC.
Data as of November 2022