The Arabic-speaking region is affected by landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) from both current and past conflicts.

According to the Landmine Monitor, landmine and ERW pose, to varying degrees, long-term hazards to the lives and livelihoods of people in 18 Arabic-speaking countries or territories.

Therefore the GICHD has initiated an Arabic-language Outreach Programme (AOP) for mine action in partnership with the Arab states and regional organisations. Its aim is to improve knowledge, exchange experiences and promote best mine action practices throughout the Arabic-speaking world.

Because of this programme thousands of employees of the national mine action programmes will have access to up-to-date information on mine action in Arabic. It will also benefit Arabic-speaking militaries and civilian personnel engaged in mine, action as part of the peace-keeping operations or other international humanitarian assistance.

This programme aims to significantly reduce the resources spent on training, translation and capacity development by individual mine-affected States in the Middle East and North Africa. Based on needs and requirements identified by the Arabic-speaking mine/ERW-affected countries, the main activities of the AOP include but are not limited to the following:

  • the organisation of collective mine action training and workshops in Arabic;
  • the facilitation of exchange of experience and personnel, regionally and internationally;
  • the mobilisation of local and regional Arabic-speaking expertise;
  • the translation of the most needed mine action documents and publications into Arabic; and
  • the establishment of an Arabic website for mine action as a primary source of mine action knowledge.

The GICHD anticipates handing the programme over to a well-established Arabic-speaking mine action entity in the next three to five years.