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Second donation of Federal Republic of Germany in 2009

24.09.2009

The International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) has received for the second time in 2009 an important contribution from Germany which will be used for demining activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A Memorandum of Understanding for the donation in the amount of 350,000 EUR was signed by H. E. Matthias von Kummer, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Slovenia, and Mr Goran Ga?nik, Director of the ITF on September  24, 2009 at the German Embassy in Ljubljana.

Germany is one of the most important supporters of the ITF in its endeavor to tackle the mine problem in SE Europe. Since the establishment of the ITF in 1998, Germany has contributed on annual basis, its total contributions reaching more than 18.8 million until now (in 2009 1,089,985.55 EUR). The contributions were mainly used for demining activities in SE Europe, notably in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Serbia. The present donation will be used for the demining action program of the NGO »Norwegian People's Aid« for the clearance of more than 500,000 square meters of mine contaminated land in local communities Brvnik and Omerbegova?a (District Br?ko) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Demining remains one of the key preconditions for socio-economic development of mine contaminated countries, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is among the most mine contaminated countries in the world. At the same time, the economic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina does not allow own funding for mine action, and therefore still needs assistance from the donor community and organizations such as the ITF. Germany is among the most important and active donors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, since more than 12.5 million EUR that enabled the clearance of more than 10.7 million square meters of territory were committed so far.

A long-time support of Germany to ITF confirms that the ITF with its good results strengthen the confidence of its donors and became a reference institution in the field of mine action. During the 11 years of ITF presence in the region of SE Europe, ITF with the widespread community of its donors raised more than 255 million EUR, cleared more than 99 million square meters of land, rehabilitated almost 1000 mine victims and enabled mine risk education to more than 150.000 children in the region of SE Europe.

The result of ITF’s success is also a new ITF strategy for period 2009-2013, which expanded the operation to other geographical and subject areas. ITF recognizes that as the impact from landmines and UXO in SE Europe becomes less severe, there is a growing need to address other post-conflict challenges (such as Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programs), and to combat violence and terrorism stemming from the illicit ownership and use of small arms and light weapons (SALW). Such challenges pose a potential threat to human security just as serious as the danger from landmines and UXO. Despite the new strategy, the primary task for the ITF is still raising and managing funds from public and private donors and their implementation in mine action programs focusing on the successful completion of the work in the region of SE Europe.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.