- More than 588,089 explosive remnants of war (ERW) and approximately 54 tonnes of Small Arms Ammunition have been cleared in Libya since 2011.
More than 107,271 Libyans have received risk education since 2016, helping them to live more safely with the threat of ERW.
- Since 2015, UNMAS Libya has developed the capacity of more than 200 nationals in all aspects of mine action.
UNMAS and international partners rapidly deployed to Libya in March 2011 to respond to the ERW emergency throughout the initial stages of the conflict. In July 2012, UNMAS integrated into the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) as the Arms and Ammunition Advisory Section. In July 2014, major hostilities resumed, fuelled by the political struggle between the House of Representatives and the General National Council. The political division is the focus of the UNSMIL peace dialogue.
As a result of the extreme volatility of the security and political situation, the United Nations temporarily relocated to Tunisia and managed activities remotely until January 2019. The Mission and UNMAS have relocated to Tripoli, Libya and have a permanent presence.
More than three years of recent fighting between rival groups has been concentrated predominantly in urban areas. The level of violence and destruction has far surpassed that experienced during the nine-month revolution in 2011. The ongoing conflict has resulted in significant ERW contamination in numerous cities and has impacted public infrastructure such as schools, universities and hospitals. The number of Internally Displaced Persons and returnees in Libya is estimated to be 187,423 and 403,978, respectively. There is little prospect of safe return until Non-Technical and/or Technical Surveys, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) spot-tasks, and/or Battle Area Clearance are carried out.
UNMAS focuses on the achievement of the UNSMIL mandated objectives and those of the UN Country Team, under the following pillars:
Protection of Civilians
ERW contamination is severe in many urban areas, impacting civilians after violence abates. Additionally, the contamination impacts humanitarian actors working to provide or restore basic services. UNMAS works with partners to mitigate the threat posed by ERW for civilians and returnees by liaising with the Libyan authorities to coordinate and implement EOD and risk awareness activities and to facilitate coordination with stakeholders.
Arms and Ammunition Advisory Role
Unsafe and insecure storage, as well as the illicit proliferation of arms and ammunition, continue to pose a serious challenge to stabilization. As UNSMIL’s Arms and Ammunition Advisory Section, UNMAS:
- Developed a Technical Framework for Arms and Ammunition Management and technical operating procedures for high threat search and high-risk clearance to assist national institutions address the management of arms and ammunition stockpiles and the threat from improvised explosive devices.
- Facilitated stockpile destruction of 203 tonnes of ERW in Misrata and continues to coordinate the destruction of another 200 tonnes.
- Provided extensive technical support to enable the UN Guard Unit to improve ammunition storage safety and expand existing storage areas.
- Facilitated coordination and technical meetings between national mine action stakeholders and the international community for the explosive hazard response in Sirte.
Furthermore, UNMAS conducted a series of gender-based trainings to empower Libyan women to deliver Small Arms and Light Weapons risk awareness. The trainings assisted in strengthening community resilience and helped reduce gender-based violence. UNMAS is seeking funding to commence a third training involving women and men. In addition, a train-the-trainer course is planned to create a multiplier effect and provide technical support to ensure the training is sustainable in the long term.
Capacity enhancement of national mine action actors
UNMAS has prioritised the capacity enhancement of Libyan mine action actors and continues to support the Libyan Mine Action Centre (LibMAC) in establishing processes for the accreditation of mine action actors and coordinating with Implementing Partners for the humanitarian mine action response. Since 2015, UNMAS has trained over 70 National Safety Authority (NSA) operators and Military Engineers in advanced EOD; 30 officers from eastern Libya in Non-Technical Survey; and provided advanced medical first responder training to 72 EOD operators from Benghazi and several operators addressing the threat from explosive hazards in Sirte. UNMAS has also provided EOD equipment to national actors, including the LibMAC, NSA, Military Engineers, and the mine action NGO, “Free Fields Foundation”. UNMAS assisted the LibMAC in developing the Libyan Mine Action Standards which are now being implemented in Libya.
UNMAS faces a significant funding shortfall for arms and ammunition activities and humanitarian mine action projects. UNMAS aims to support the implementation of and continue progress on technical frameworks, assessments and training packages that have been developed between 2015 and 2017, alongside local and national counterparts, and humanitarian mine action interventions. Furthermore, UNMAS seeks to re-initiate training and implementation of ammunition storage area surveys, which were halted due to security conditions.
Updated: February 2019