New intervention launched to clear hotspots in AlbaniaJul 22, 2014
The Government of Germany joins UNDP in responding to the emerging priority of the Government of Albania on hotspots clearance and ammunition disposal. The Ambassador of Germany to Albania H.E Hellmut Hoffmann and the UNDP Albania Resident Representative H.E Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun signed today an Agreement for a German contribution of 100,000 Euro, for the coordination, monitoring and quality control of the unexploded ordnance hotspots clearance programme in Albania, within the frame of the UNDP AMMCO project.
The Albanian Deputy Minister of Defense, Mr. Dritan Hila, the Government`s focal person for the coordination of all actions vis-à-vis ammunition disposal, attended the signing ceremony.
Unexploded ordnance and explosive remnants of war contamination remain a widespread problem in Albania. Among the causes of such contamination are explosions at ammunition storage sites across the country during the civil unrest in 1997, unexploded remains of the WW II as well as former army ammunition demolition areas which need to be cleared of explosive remnants. Apart from the threat to civilians, this type of contamination further aggravates the increased demand and pressure on agriculture land.
UNDP Albania has by now about fourteen years of extensive experience in landmine and cluster munitions clearance in the country. Since 2011, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense and through a multi-donor support, UNDP Albania with its Albanian Munitions and Mines Coordination Office (AMMCO) project has provided an exclusive assistance to clearance activities in the country. The present contribution will enable the resumption of AMMCO`s field activities until the end of 2014 along a specific project “Coordination and monitoring of humanitarian mine action for UXO/ERW hotspots clearance in Albania”.
The project has several components focusing on improving physical security stockpile management of ammunition; upgrading current safety disposal practices in line with international standards; and enlarging the demilitarization framework to include civil community safety. The project has also a strong public awareness component to make the public aware on the dangers of contamination in addition to working to broaden the current mine victim assistance scheme, developed for the northeast, to target all UXO/ERW victims around Albania.
In practical terms the activities within this Agreement and project will focus on clearance and certification of 171.000 m² contaminated areas in full compliance with international humanitarian standards. It also includes community liaison, public awareness and risk education of local communities living around the affected areas in Gjeroven and Palikesht in Berat region, Suc - Burrel and Pilur – Vlore.