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"The deployment of mine detection dogs seemed to be a tremendous challenge at first, but learning from FSD, we have strengthened our technical knowledge about it."

Member of the national mine action authority in Bogotá
two fsd employees and a mine detection dog

Colombia

Capacity building

Since 2016, a team of FSD experts have trained the Colombian mine action authority in various technical fields. This includes advice on the overall process of land release, clearance prioritisation, technical standards and procedures, information management and protection of the environment in Colombia's national parks.

Food distribution

Since 2014, more than four million Venezuelans have fled their country and an estimated 1.8 million have arrived in Colombia as refugees. Many of these face poverty and the Covid-19 pandemic has further increased unemployment and homelessness in Colombia. This is no more evident than on the streets of Bogota. FSD works with a local NGO to deliver thousands of meals and to provide some short relief from daily life on the streets for hundreds of vulnerable children and homeless people.

Why Colombia ?

Almost six decades of civil war between guerrillas, paramilitaries and government forces amid drug trafficking has left Colombia infested with artisanal mines and unexploded ordnance. In 2015, as part of the peace negotiations, the government and the FARC non-state armed group reached a ceasefire agreement; this also helped contribute to the national strategy to clear land mines. Significant efforts have been made since with several thousand deminers deployed in the country, leading to notable advances. The goal is now for the country to be completely free of mines by 2025.

To achieve this objective, many challenges still have to be overcome, particularly in relation to the topography and vegetation in certain contaminated areas, and due to persistent insecurity. Improvised mines are still used by the remaining armed groups to protect coca plantations. In 2019, 111 mine victims were recorded, and in 2020 this figure has grown to over 140.

a fsd employee at an eore session
two fsd employees in front of a detection device
three fsd employees detecting mines in the field
three fsd employees detecting mines in the field

FSD in Colombia

Given the complex political and conflict history in Colombia, the importance of land restitution is paramont. Much of this process involves the land being safely cleared of land mines and explosive hazards left behind from decades of conflict. It is under this context that FSD provides specialist advice to the Colombian National Mine Action Authority.


Since 2016, FSD has provided technical experts to advise and mentor their counterparts in the Colombian national mine action authority with skills ranging from explosive ordnance disposal and mine action management experts, mine detection dog experts, mechanical clearance experts and specialists for information management and mapping of hazards. FSD's team also provide critical input and advice to the development of national standards in order to synchronise international standards with the NGO mine clearance operators in country and the specific Colombian context.


FSD also helps protect the Amazon rainforest from the harmful effects of mine clearance. The organization indeed contributed to the development and adoption, in 2017, of a law aimed at reducing the environmental impact of humanitarian demining operations, in particular in natural parks.

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