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This year again, Belgium is contributing (1.5 million euros) to the activities of the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq and Syria. In recent years, Belgium has supported demining in Iraq and Syria for more than 9.5 million euros.
Why is it important to contribute to demining in Syria and Iraq?
The need for demining in Syria and Iraq remains very high. Contamination from landmines and other explosive residues continues to have an impact not only on the immediate safety of boys and girls, women and men, but also on their access to humanitarian aid, on the possibility of reconstruction and stabilisation and on sustainable development (education, health care, etc.).
This assistance also consolidates the success of the international coalition against Islamic State.
In Iraq, UNMAS supports demining authorities through capacity building and technical assistance. UNMAS is committed to strengthening local capacity by facilitating knowledge transfer between international NGOs and national and local organisations for sustainability and efficiency.
In Syria, UNMAS plays an important role in the coordination of the mine clearance sector and enables other humanitarian actors to safely provide humanitarian assistance where necessary.
A gender-sensitive approach
Belgium welcomes the attention that UNMAS gives to gender mainstreaming and gender equality. Taking into account differences between men and women and how the presence of mines and explosive remnants impacts their lives helps prevent casualties and provide an adapted response for survivors. The deployment of female deminers and the integration of women into UNMAS's management structure shows local communities how gender barriers can be broken down for the benefit of the entire community.
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