On 8 December 2005, the General Assembly declared that 4 April of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.
It called for continued efforts by States, with the assistance of the United Nations and relevant organizations, to foster the establishment and development of national mine-action capacities in countries where mines and explosive remnants of war constitute a serious threat to the safety, health, and lives of the civilian population, or an impediment to social and economic development at the national and local levels.
For over 20 years, the work of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has been driven by the needs of affected people and tailored to the threat of explosive hazards faced by civilians, peacekeepers, and humanitarians.
UNMAS works to save lives, to facilitate deployment of UN missions and the delivery of humanitarian assistance, to protect civilians, to support the voluntary return of the internally displaced and refugees, to enable humanitarian and recovery activities, and to advocate for international humanitarian and human rights law.
International Mine Awareness Day 2021: Theme and Significance
This year, the United Nations will promote mine action by highlighting how “Perseverance, Partnership, and Progress” have carried the sector through this challenging year. This will also be the theme of this year.
Last year, the United Nations mine action community stepped up to the challenges faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector continued to deliver results, fulfilling obligations, surveying, clearing, training, and eradicating the threat of landmines and explosive ordnance.
The United Nations system advanced its work to mitigate the threat of improvised explosive devices and strengthened and built new partnerships.
In 2021 the COVID-19 challenges will require perseverance. Work will continue, landmines and explosive ordnance will be cleared, exit strategies and capacity development of national partners will carry on. The mine action community will continue to adapt.
The United Nations will ensure to carry forward progress towards a world free from the threat of landmines and unexploded ordnance.
Since the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, commonly known as the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention opened for signature in 1997, 164 countries have ratified or acceded to it.