Croatia supports UN project to demine and release productive agricultural land in Ukraine
The agreement was signed by Gordan Grlić Radman, Foreign Minister of Croatia, and Matthew Hollingworth, WFP Country Director in Ukraine, in the presence of First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy of Ukraine, Yuliia Svyrydenko.
The €1 million contribution is Croatia’s largest ever donation to the UN World Food Programme. The funds will support a collaborative project led jointly by the UN World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in conjunction with WFP’s partner for mine action, the Fondation suisse de déminage (FSD).
The project aims to survey productive agricultural land for the presence of mines and other explosives, demine it where necessary, and release it safely to restore food production and support the livelihoods of rural communities. The project will also extend support to farmers in rehabilitating soils and re-establishing their agricultural production once the lands are deemed safe.
The work is already underway in Kharkivska oblast with plans to expand to Mykolaivska and Khersonska oblasts. The project is designed and implemented in close coordination with the Government of Ukraine as well as local authorities to ensure complementarity in action and directly support the Government’s demining efforts.
“The Ukrainian government has identified demining as one of the five key priorities for the country's rapid recovery, as it concerns the safety of people, restoration of fully operational agricultural enterprises, and the establishment of food supply chains,” said First Deputy Prime Minister Yuliia Svyrydenko. “We are actively collaborating with our international partners to launch a humanitarian demining market in Ukraine, procure specialized equipment, train deminers, certify private demining operators, and establish local production. We highly value the support of partners who provide donor and international technical assistance for demining projects in Ukraine, particularly Croatia, which possesses significant demining expertise. The funds raised under the joint Memorandum with Croatia and the UN partners will be used for surveying and clearing contaminated lands, which potentially amount to 174,000 square kilometres in Ukraine,” the First Deputy Prime Minister added.
“This meeting marks a significant milestone as we have just signed a crucial agreement with the World Food Programme to implement a demining project in Ukraine, aimed at revitalizing food systems and local livelihoods in conflict-affected areas” said Gordan Grlić Radman, Foreign Minister of Croatia. “During our meeting, we emphasized the critical importance of mine action in restarting economic and social activities in Ukraine. Understanding the pressing need to address the challenges posed by mines and explosive remnants of war, we reiterate our dedication to working hand in hand to bring about positive change in the affected regions”, the Minister added.
“We are deeply grateful to count the Government of Croatia as one of our key partners on this project,” said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP Country Director in Ukraine. “Croatia’s experience in conducting successful, large scale demining operations makes it a proven leader in humanitarian demining and an invaluable partner to help release land for Ukraine’s farmers, who desperately want to resume work and feed their families and communities”, Hollingworth added.
The war has damaged Ukraine’s agriculture and food production, disrupted supply chains and exports, increased production costs, and caused widespread mine contamination. According to the Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment, published in February 2023, Ukraine’s production of grain and oilseeds decreased by 37 percent in 2022.
Croatia will host the International Donor Conference on Humanitarian Demining in Ukraine on the 11th and 12th of October in Zagreb. The conference will be a platform to mobilize additional international support and resources for demining initiatives in Ukraine.
WFP is in Ukraine to provide food and cash assistance to Ukrainians affected by the war, and works closely with farmers, bakeries and other actors to restore or sustain food production and food systems.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
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