iMMAP Iraq Launches New Project for Humanitarian Mine Action Coordination

iMMAP Iraq focuses its efforts by supporting the humanitarian mine action (HMA) program in Iraq through a new project on improving coordination between HMA implementing partners (IPs) and government stakeholders to ensure a more targeted response throughout the country

Meeting with the national authorities in early October

iMMAP Iraq is proud to announce the launch of the Humanitarian Mine Action Coordination project, funded by the US Department of State Office for Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA). The one-year project officially commenced on October 1, 2020 and will focus on establishing improved coordination channels between the Iraqi Directorate of NGOs (DNGO), Directorate of Mine Action (DMA) and the HMA NGO implementing partners (IPs) in Iraq.

The primary objective of this project is to ensure IPs receive optimal support from the Iraqi government, and the implementation of HMA activities are coordinated and delivered in a cost-effective manner to protect affected populations from the risk of explosive ordnance (EO) and enable the safe use of the contaminated land again.

The HMA coordination project will help reinforce the coordination capacity of the DMA, DNGO and HMA IPs through different communication fora, which will ultimately translate into effective use of the limited funding available to the HMA programs. This is especially important at a time when available resources from the donors, the government and other stakeholders are increasingly limited, while the challenges and priorities are on the rise.

In line with iMMAP’s mission in Iraq, the project further aims to raise the profile of the HMA program within the broader government sphere and promote a better understanding of HMA stakeholders, their capabilities, requirements, accomplishments, and the risks involved in HMA activities. In doing so, the project will support the sector's advocacy for clearance, risk education, victim assistance, and stockpile destruction activities in Iraq, all of which are in line with Iraq's obligations under the international mine action-related treaties.

DNGO director-general, Mr. Al-Tamimi awarding iMMAP Iraq the Shield of Excellence

Early support efforts by iMMAP Iraq that lasted until May 2020, led to the successful planning and resumption of HMA activities after a five-month suspension due to the COVID-19 related movement restrictions and lockdowns. iMMAP provided coordination support to the DMA and DNGO to devise an HMA priority list and improve DNGO regulations. These efforts resulted in broader and longer-term access granted to HMA IPs and in the confirmation by the DNGO's of iMMAP as its main HMA focal point in Iraq.

HMA situation in Iraq

According to the national mine action database, 3,223 sq km or close to 1% of the land in Iraq, is recorded as contaminated by explosive ordnance (EO), dating back to the 1980s minefields up to the more recent scourge of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that saturate areas once occupied by ISIS. This level of EO contamination poses a deadly threat to the lives of millions of Iraqis on a daily basis. To date, over 45,000 Iraqi men, women and children have been killed or injured by these explosive hazards with an additional 1,299,987 currently displaced from their homes as a result of the armed conflict with ISIS.

The government of Iraq, through its network of HMA IPs, consisting of national and international NGOs, commercial companies, UNMAS, and with the support of the Ministry of Defense and Civil Defense, works to eliminate mines, cluster munitions and unexploded or abandoned ordnance to improve the lives of vulnerable populations across Iraq.