Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mr Gregor Sančanin
Head of ITF Representative Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina
T: +386 1 4796 572
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is one of the most mine-contaminated countries in the world and remains the most mine-affected country in Europe. The presence of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), even though reduced each year, remains a major problem for personal security of residents, hinders socio-economic development and prevents steady and continuous post-conflict reconstruction.
By the beginning of 2015, the mine suspected area in BiH amounted to 1,176.5 sq. Kilometres, representing some 2.3 % of the country’s territory. According to the estimations, there are still 120,000 mines and UXO left in the ground throughout BiH (on approx. 9,200 locations). Currently, there are more than 538,000 people in BiH living in 1,417 mine/UXO affected communities. Since 1996, there were 1,721 mine/UXO victims, 603 with fatal outcome/death. In 2014, there were 9 mine/UXO accidents (16 victims; 10 injuries and 6 deaths).
The latest figures on mine contamination and the impact it has on people still remains devastating. According to national mine action strategy, it has been predicted for BiH to achieve mine-free status until 2019. However, considering various external and internal factors, inter alia, lack of funding and emergence of new suspected areas, it is projected that the mine-free status could be achieved in 2024/25.
Not least, BiH has significant amount of aged, unstable and various type of ammunition stored in non appropriate conditions.
What we do
ITF was established by the Government of Slovenia in March 1998 with the goal to assist BiH in implementing the Mine Action Programme by raising funds, providing services and managing mine action projects, thus also supporting BiH in its implementation of obligations under Mine Ban Treaty on five major areas of mine action:
- Removing and destroying landmines and explosive remnants of war and marking or fencing off areas still affected,
- Mine-risk education (MRE),
- Medical assistance and rehabilitation (MVA) of survivors, (skills training and employment opportunities),
- Advocating for a world free from the threat of landmines (encouraging countries to participate in international treaties and conventions),
- Helping countries destroy their stockpiles of mines as required by international agreements.
By the end of 2014 ITF has with its donor partners cleared over 69.9 million sq. meters of land (through demining and technical survey operations), thus removing and destroying over 36,938 mines/UXO.
Through ITF, 826 mine victims from BiH were rehabilitated and more than 80 MVA projects were implemented (including around 5,000 direct beneficiaries).
For the last 10 years, ITF has been supporting also MRE projects in BiH in order to ensure the ultimate goal, no more mine/UXO casualties. More than 150,000 children and more than 37,000 adults were including in MRE programs in BiH (approximately 20 MRE projects were implemented in BiH through ITF).
In 2014, there have been devastating floods in BiH having a negative impact on mine affected areas. These areas need to be urgently re-surveyed, re-marked and re-mapped. Many of the already cleared areas would also need re-clearance. Local population in the flooded areas needs to be urgently and constantly informed of the mine and UXO risk. In this regard, ITF has immediately issued an appeal to donors to support all these activities in BiH.
As far as demilitarization process in BiH is concerned, the main scope is to ensure operations and develop national capabilities and infrastructure in this regard, utilizing both, government and private industrial facilities as necessary in support of a long-term life cycle stockpile management and to contribute to a long-term conventional weapons destruction (CWD) plan of defense modernization in BiH. Sterling International, as implementing partner, continued operations of ammunition and explosives destruction on the Barbara range in BiH. In 2012 a total of 60,969 items were destroyed within the project.