Karabakh is an example of why the world needs new solution to
the problem of landmines, reports via Qatar's Al Jazeera TV
Since the events in Ukraine started, Kyiv is facing a major
mining problem. With an estimated 160,000 square kilometres
contaminated by landmines, thus, Ukraine is now one of the world's
most heavily mined countries. To put that in perspective, that is
an area almost double the size of Ireland.
'To evaluate the scale of the problem, look to the Karabakh
region in the South Caucasus. In the early 1990s, it became one of
the most intensely-mined areas on Earth after the first Karabakh
War between Azerbaijan and Armenia. A conflict in late 2020
reversed much of the territory the former had lost in the first
conflict – and granted it access to mine-strewn lands. Azerbaijan
has since begun making the liberated territories safe for
post-conflict reconstruction. To date, 514 square kilometers have
been cleared. For those involved in the industry, this may sound
impressive, but 11,270 square kilometers still remain
uninhabitable,' the material stated.
The problem with mine clearance is the cost. Azerbaijan is
better economically placed than most to fund activities and still,
it could only clear 514 square kilometers in two years. In general,
the countries that need demining the most are those least able to
afford it, as conflicts that contaminate territories with landmines
also shatter economies. To ensure funding, a landmine-free world
should be made a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG),
alongside the 17 interlinked global goals to be achieved by
'This idea was put forward and discussed at the Humanitarian
Conference on Mine Action, organized by the Azerbaijan Mine Action
Agency and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Baku
earlier this year. Current international treaties are not enough,
nor are national programmes,' the report informed.
According to a report by the demining monitor Mine Action
Review, only 153.4 square kilometer were cleared across the world
in 2020. It also rated less than a quarter of national demining
programmes as 'good' or 'very good'; the rest were too underfunded
to make any significant progress.
'However, if demining is given Sustainable Development Goal
(SDG) status, the benefits would be felt immediately,' the material
'Landmine-strewn lands are not a new problem. But a new solution
is needed. If we are to ever see a world free of them, we need to
see them as a social development issue, rather than a technical or
military one,' the report concluded.
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