The Humanitarian Conference on Mine Action aims to strengthen partnership and promote the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Baku, Azerbaijan. April 1, 2022 – The Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will host a two-day international conference from 31 March to 1 April on humanitarian mine action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The conference in a hybrid format brings together representatives of the international community, government agencies and civil society, mine operators in order to discuss the importance of humanitarian mine action in eliminating the threat of mines to human life in order to create normal living conditions.
The event will investigate the potential of humanitarian mine action for long-term peace and socio-economic development, as well as the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, more precisely, the 16th Sustainable Development Goal, which aims to “significantly reduce all forms of violence and related deaths globally”.
Moreover, an important part of the “Azerbaijan 2030: National Priorities for Socio-Economic Development” program is the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their lands under the name of “Great Return”; in this regard, the SDGs act as a key pillar in the ongoing resettlement of citizens to conflict-affected territories of Azerbaijan.
While the conference is based primarily on ongoing efforts to strengthen humanitarian demining activity infrastructure and capacity in Azerbaijan, it also aims to raise awareness of the world’s most advanced technologies and to offer best practices obtained within the scope of intensive mine action while carrying out large-scale reconstruction and rehabilitation work in conflict-affected territories of Azerbaijan.
The conference will discuss the needs of vulnerable groups, including mine victims, and the scope of the humanitarian mine action in protecting the environment, including the capacity of the civil society and media to support humanitarian mine action.
In an effort to establish itself as a “laboratory of excellence in humanitarian mine action,” Azerbaijan seeks to share its experience with humanitarian and development leaders around the world, strengthening partnerships and establishing broad mechanisms for cooperation.
UNDP has strongly supported the inclusion of mine action in development discussions since it first began supporting the humanitarian mine action in Cambodia in 1993. Since then, UNDP has supported mine action programs in more than 40 countries and is now the leading organization in developing approaches to mine action in line with the UN Mine Action Strategy (2019-2023).
UNDP assisted in the establishment of Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) in 1999 and continues to support its work, including the clearance of over 806,000 mines and unexploded ordnance and the safe return of people to their home lands. UNDP also assisted the Agency in funding the training, equipping and deployment of emergency response teams.
“Humanitarian mine action is essential for sustainable development. In addition to saving lives and preventing injuries, demining is vital for rebuilding infrastructure, education and agriculture. It can also be a powerful incentive for inclusion, particularly for women and people with disabilities. At UNDP, we strive to support the Government of Azerbaijan in creating fertile ground for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” stated Mr. Sukhrob Khojimatov, UNDP Chargé d’affaires.
“Azerbaijan is registered as the most contaminated country in the world by the number of mines, unexploded ordnance and explosive remnants of war (ERW). Demining is a prerequisite for the safe restoration of infrastructure in the conflict-affected territories of Azerbaijan, as well as the safe return of internally displaced persons to their home lands and the strengthening of peace processes and investment programs. ANAMA continues to clear necessary infrastructure in the conflict zone, including residential areas, cemeteries, roads, canals, power lines from the numerous mines, improvised explosive devices, large-caliber rockets,” ANAMA Chairman Vugar Suleymanov stated.
The results and recommendations of the conference will be presented to the community on international development and humanitarian mine action, and it will subsequently pave the way for future cooperation