In Colombia, FSD advises the national Mine Action Centre on the implementation of an effective Mine Action strategy. A project for the socio-economic reintegration of mine victims is also being implemented.
Almost six decades of civil war have left Colombia littered with improvised mines and unexploded ordnance.
In 2015, as part of the peace negotiations, the government and the FARC armed group reached a ceasefire agreement. This agreement helped to contribute to the development of a national mine action strategy.
Significant efforts have since been made with several thousands of deminers deployed throughout the country. The goal is now for the country to be completely free of mines by 2025.
To achieve this objective, many challenges still have to be overcome, particularly in relation to the topography and vegetation in contaminated areas, and due to persistent insecurity.
In July, following national elections, an interim team was put in place at the Colombia national mine action authority, awaiting a new administration in 2023.
Improvised mines are still used by the remaining armed groups to protect coca plantations. In 2020, 167 mine victims were recorded in the country.
What motivates me is knowing that I can reduce the number of mine victims and bring them better life conditions.
FSD Data analyst technical advisor
FSD in Colombia
Given the complex political and conflict history in Colombia, the importance of land release is paramount in land restitution efforts and overall peace objectives. A large part of this process involves the clearance of the land of mines and explosive hazards.
Since 2016, FSD has provided technical experts to advise and mentor the Colombian national mine action authority. Our experts are specialized in mapping, information management, demining strategy, explosive ordnance clearance, mine detection dogs and mechanical demining.
FSD’s team also provide input and advice to OACP – Descontamina Colombia in the development of national standards in accordance with international standards, but adapted to the national context.
FSD contributes to protecting the Amazonian forest from the possible negative impacts of mine clearance. In 2017, the organisation participated in the development and adoption of a decree aimed at reducing the environmental impact of humanitarian demining operations, in particular in natural parks.
In 2022, FSD refined Colombia’s land release standards and provided training to mine action operators on their implementation in the field. Our experts also provided continued guidance on the environmental impact of mine action, as well as on the monitoring of mine action operations by national authorities.
The number of mine victims in Colombia remains very high. In most cases, survivors find themselves unemployed, isolated and sometimes perceived as a burden by society. To address this, FSD launched a socio-economic reintegration project in 2022 in coordination with the Colombian government’s Victims Unit and the local NGO SEREZA.
FSD’s capacity building project in Colombia is supported by the United States Department of State; the mine victim assistance project is funded by private donors and foundations
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