SOMALIA: EC funds landmine action
NAIROBI, 14 MAY 2003 (IRIN) - The European Commission has approved a major project to support the second phase of a nationwide landmine impact survey for Somalia.
In a statement on Wednesday, the EC said it had allocated €1.5 million (US $1.73 million) to the project.
An EC official told IRIN that this second phase - to be implemented by the UN Development Programme and the UN Office for Project Services - will be carried out in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland and southern Somalia, particularly in the Baidoa area, "security and access permitting".
The first phase of the project was carried out in the self-declared republic of Somaliland between 1 May 2002 and March 2003.
Landmines have been extensively used in Somalia, during conflicts with Ethiopia in the 1970s and 1980s and during the civil war in the 1990s when all sides to the conflict laid mines. Almost all regions of Somalia have been affected by mines or unexploded ordnance (UXO).
The project will include technical assistance for the Somali authorities to develop a mine-action policy, strategy for clearance and implementation of the Ottawa convention on antipersonnel mines, the statement said.
"The survey will provide Somalia and international donors with quantifiable, standardised data regarding the impact of landmines and UXO upon communities there," it added.
The official also said the project was aimed at "producing a countrywide mine-action plan" based on the results of survey.