Lebanese Armed Forces - Lebanon Mine Action Centre and UNICEF join efforts to ensure children and families are better protected from the dangers of explosive remnants of war
Beirut, 6 March 2014 - The Ministry of National Defence, represented by the Lebanon Mine Action Centre, and UNICEF signed today a cooperation agreement to ensure better protection of children and families from the dangers of explosive remnants of war. The Memorandum of Understanding, which is the first between the two institutions, formalizes the joint efforts already underway to achieve the results outlined in Lebanon’s Mine Action Strategy 2011 -2020.
“Landmines and unexploded ordinance continue to terribly affect the lives of almost 1 million people in Lebanon.” said Brig. Gen Imad Odeimi, director of the Lebanon Mine Action Centre. “Beyond the immediate dangers to life and limb, the mine problem is imposing a heavy economic burden to communities who are already amongst the most disadvantaged in the country”
According to the Lebanon Mine Action Centre (LMAC) over 450,000 landmines, anti-personnel and anti-tank mines in addition to an estimated 500,000 undetonated cluster munitions are causing an ongoing threat to civilians. This threat is denying them access to essential services, agricultural land and obstructing socio-economic development in affected regions.
“It is tragic and unacceptable that children continue to have their lives put at risk by the presence of landmines.” stated Ms. Annamaria Laurini, UNICEF’s representative in Lebanon during the signing ceremony. “Through our partnership with LMAC we will be able to ensure that children, parents and communities are more aware of the dangers they face and prevent the tragic injuries and fatalities caused by the unexploded remnants of war.”
A survey recently implemented by the University of Balaman, under the supervision of LMAC and in collaboration with the National Mine Risk Education Steering Committee in collaboration and LMAC with support from UNICEF has shown that there was an alarming indifference towards issues related to mines and unexploded ordnance amongst affected communities and a prevalence of unsafe behaviour and practices which are a result of acclimatization with the dangers of mines.
And in line with the National Mine Action Strategy developed by LMAC, UNICEF has been supporting the National Mine Risk Education programme implemented by the University of Balamand since April 2013. The programme aims to reach 37,000 children through Mine Risk Education activities
Additionally, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, 300 teachers will be trained by the University of Balamand to deliver Mine Risk Education in schools in addition to the 150 community workers and NGO's activists trained in 2013.
The Lebanon Mine Action Authority (LMAA) is a legislative body established in 1998 by the Lebanese Council of Ministers to enhance and facilitate coordination among different ministries in matters relating to mine action. The Lebanon Mine Action Centre (LMAC), a part of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), executes and coordinates the Lebanese National Mine Action Program (LNMAP) on behalf of Lebanon Mine Action Authority (LMAA). LMAC operates within the Ministry of Defense and reports to the minister through LAF/ G3.
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