Swiss commitment to humanitarian demining in 2023

The FDFA and the DDPS have expanded their global commitment in the first year of implementation of the Action Plan on Mine Action 2023-2026. Around 60 countries are still affected by landmines and29 are contaminated by clustered munitions. With the war in Ukraine, the widespread use of mines and cluster munitions has also returned to Europe. Switzerland has therefore placed a specific focus on Ukraine in 2023. A summary of key activities over the past year to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

A red sign with a skull and crossbones is on a path and warns of a minefield.
A minefield warning sign near Hostomel in the Kyiv region of Ukraine. © Sean Sutton/MAG

Switzerland has been involved in humanitarian demining for over 30 years. In 2023, the FDFA and DDPS spent around CHF 35.3 million in this area. This makes Switzerland one of the world's top 10 donors in this field. With its commitment, it promotes the clearance of mines and other explosive ordnance, education about the risks, victim assistance and the strengthening of local capacities. Switzerland supported 12 countries directly by financing projects and sent 14 experts to a total of six regions. It is also working at the diplomatic, legal and practical levels to ensure that the relevant conventions are implemented universally.

Goals of mine action

Mines and other explosive ordnance, such as unexploded ordnance or other explosive remnants of war, pose a major threat to the civilian population even years after the end of hostilities. Humanitarian mine action contributes to alleviating the social, economic and environmental impact of mines and other explosive ordnance. On the one hand, it is directly concerned with preventing accidents and new suffering. On the other hand, it aims to enable the sustainable development of the affected communities. For this reason, in addition to the actual clearance work, it also includes Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE), victim assistance, the advocacy for the ban of anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions, and the destruction of stockpiles.

Graphic of the five pillars of humanitarian demining.
The five pillars of humanitarian demining: 1. mine clearance, 2. risk education, 3. victim assistance, 4. advocacy and 5. stockpile destruction. © FDFA/DDPS

Switzerland's fields of action in humanitarian demining

Outlook: Focus on Ukraine and global engagement

In 2024, the Swiss humanitarian mine action programme in Ukraine will be expanded as part of the four-year package set up by the FDFA and the DDPS. Switzerland is also involved at a political and diplomatic level. After holding an initial workshop on donor coordination together with the GICHD in Geneva in November 2022, it will organise a series of events in 2024, culminating in the ministerial-level Ukraine Mine Action Conference UMAC2024 in Lausanne on 17 and 18 October 2024.

In addition to its focus on Ukraine, Switzerland is also continuing its global engagement. It will maintain the support to affected countries in mine clearance, risk education, victim assistance and capacity building by funding projects and deploying experts. The promotion of innovative methods and technologies is to be stepped up – also in Ukraine.

Switzerland will also continue to advocate the universalisation and comprehensive implementation of the relevant conventions. Finally, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), which is also active around the world, will continue to receive support.

Action Plan on Mine Action for 2023–2026

In its Action Plan on Mine Action for 2023-2026, Switzerland states that its long-term goal is a world in which people can live free from the threat of mines and other remnants of war, thereby enabling sustainable economic and social development.

Last update 05.04.2024

Start of page