Since 2004 UNDP Partnership for the Future (UNDP-PFF), thanks to the support of the European Union, and in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the support of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has been working to reduce the number of landmines still remaining on the island thus facilitating safer intra-island movement and communication.
At the launch of the project, 101 minefields of different size and shapes were recorded on the island. A total of 20,000 mines were declared by the two parties, including 5,000 anti-tanks mines, and 15,000 anti-personnel mines, of which 5,000 were M14 metal mines, designed not to be found. Furthermore, records showed that a total of 81 booby-trap mines were laid in 3 minefields.
Throughout the life of this project de-miners assisted in clearing mined and suspect mined areas within the UNFICYP controlled buffer zone and its adjacent areas including booby-trapped buildings, mines in deep wells and conducted numerous searches in buildings where no man had been in for over 37 years ; provided support to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) during their excavations; and to UNFICYP in marking new suspect areas and providing Mine Risk Education (MRE) to UN Peacekeepers.
As a result of these efforts, in the past seven years, over 27,000 land mines have been removed from the buffer zone, 81 minefields have been declared mine free, and 10.985,338 square meters of land have been released and returned to their original use.
Demining efforts have cleared the way for new crossings, allowing for new intra-island commercial and economic exchanges, and giving more impulse to agriculture as well as new social and cultural activities.
Much more needs to be done as there still remain an estimated over 15,000 landmines on the island, including in four mined areas in the buffer zone. The complete removal of remaining mines in Cyprus would enhance inter-communal confidence, and benefit the safety and security of all Cypriots.
The project has currently been suspended. Security Council Resolution 2026 (2011) "Calls on both sides to allow access to deminers to facilitate the removal of the remaining mines in Cyprus within the buffer zone, and urges both sides to extend demining operations outside the buffer zone."
The European Union, as part of its joint global anti-mining campaign with the UN, has been the main financial contributor to the project, providing 11.5 out of the 14 million Euros required for demining and logistical support over the past 7 years. UNDP/UNOPS implemented the work on behalf of the European Commission through the established UNDP – PFF programme and in full coordination and support by UNFICYP.
The project began with an initial European Union (EU) grant of 2.5 million Euros from October 2004 to December 2005 (Demining I), to establish the PFF-Mine Action Centre, the management core of activities, and initiate mine clearance activities. The EU provided an additional grant of 1.5 million Euros (Demining II) and a further 1 million Euros (Demining III), covering the period up to December 2006. The EU continued to support the project providing four more million Euros to fund mine clearance operations from January 2007 – December 2008, (Demining IV). The fifth phase of demining funding comprised of a cost sharing grant agreement of 5 million Euro (Demining V) with the Government of Cyprus and the European Union.
|European Union||Phase I||October 2004 – December 2005||EUR 2,500,000
|European Union||Phase II||January 06 – June 2006||EUR 1,500,000|
|European Union||Phase III||July 2006 – December 2006||EUR 1,000,000|
|European Union||Phase IV||January 2007 – December 2008||EUR 4,000,000|
|European Union||Phase V
||March 2009 – April 2011||EUR 2,500,000|
|Total European Union||
|Government of Cyprus||EUR 2,500,000|
|Canadian Government||USD 250,000|
|Government of Slovenia||USD 25,000|
|British High Commission||EUR 50,000|
|Government of Hungary||