MAG: Year-by-year

MAG's lifesaving work stretches back to 1989. Below you'll find some of the milestones since then.

EOD in Libya, 2011

MAG responded to the Libya crisis in 2011, carrying out emergency Explosive Ordnance Disposal tasks like this.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG


• Arms management destruction projects begin in Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

MAG joins the Start Network, an international movement of humanitarian non-governmental organisations recognising the importance of creating new and innovative ways of working as close as possible to people affected by crises.


• MAG's commitment to reducing the risk of diversion of state-owned weapons across Sahel and West Africa saw improvements to arms and ammunition stockpile management in Mali.

• Thanks to our donors and supporters, MAG directly helped more than 1.4 million men, women and children during the year. Together, we made around 33 million square metres of land (that’s more than 4,500 Wembley-stadium sized football pitches) safe from landmines and unexploded bombs, so that people could safely grow crops, walk to school, access water, get to market, and live without fear.

 MAG's Annual Summary 2015


• MAG directly helped more than 1.1 million people in 2014, clearing more than 80,000 landmines, cluster bombs and other deadly unexploded devices. 

• MAG's emergency reponse in Iraq began, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to the Kurdistan region put at risk from landmines and other explosive weapons.

• Responding to the rising number of accidents involving guns, MAG builds the first-ever armoury in Somalia that allows civilians to safely store their weapons. By mid-2014, MAG had constructed 61 army, police and coastguard armouries in the country, and refurbished 56 more, enabling guns to be securely stored.

• MAG works in the Philippines to reduce the threat posed by ordnance, small arms, and small arms ammunition to civilians following Typhoon Haiyan.


• MAG responds to the conflict in Mali by giving Mine Risk Education to at-risk communities and humanitarian workers, and supporting the UNMAS mission.

• A three-month project to upgrade vulnerable weapons/munitions storage sites takes place in El Salvador, supported by the US Department of State’s Office for Weapons Removal and Abatement. In conjuction with the Salvadoran Armed Forces, new fencing, gates, cameras, high security locks and lighting are installed, to international standards, reducing the likelihood of weapons and ammunition falling into the wrong hands.


• MAG helps Congolese authorities deal with the deadly fall-out after an arms depot explosion in Brazzaville in March killed at least 240 people, injured more than 2,300, and left homes and streets littered with deadly items.

• A year after the uprising in Libya, MAG celebrates a lifesaving milestone in the battle to safeguard civilians against the dangers of cluster bombs, landmines and unexploded ordnance continues: 100,000 dangerous items cleared and destroyed.


• MAG appoints a new Chief Executive, Nick Roseveare.

• MAG gives Mine Risk Education to returnees waiting in Sudan to return to the South ahead of independence on 9 July 2011, and clears a 54,000m² area of land in Juba that was highly contaminated by unexploded ordnance, to ensure celebrations could go ahead safely.

• Thousands of internally displaced people in Sri Lanka are able to return home thanks to the clearance of previously inaccessible land that had been contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordnance.

• MAG responds to the crisis in Libya, carrying out emergency Explosive Ordnance Disposal tasks and responding to a request by the authorities to secure Ammunition Storage Points, and destroy surplus and damaged weapons and ammunition.


• Assessments are carried out in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, the Kyrgyz Republic, Belarus and Sierra

• MAG’s project in Pakistan is launched, supporting a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) delivering Mine Risk Education in the conflict-affected north.

• MAG pioneers the use of Small Arms Light Weapons Risk Education sessions in Iraq.

• MAG experts provide evaluation and oversight to a project being conducted by the Southern African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation marking and tracing small arms and light weapons through 10 countries.


• MAG responds to the crisis in Gaza, working as an implementing partner of UNMAS to identify and prioritise UXO-affected communities for emergency clearance.

• Operations restart in Northern Province, Sri Lanka, during April 2009 after a break of over two years during the conflict in the region. Activities focus on releasing land for return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their home villages. Mine action survey and clearance is identified by UNHCR and the Government of Sri Lanka as a key prerequisite of this returns process.

• After an evaluation of demining non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Afghanistan, MAG begins helping the NGOs to use good standard operating procedures, have well-organised institutional structures and build on their own capacity to expand.

• MAG begins in Colombia. Working in partnership with the Colombian Campaign Against Landmines and a local non-governmental organisation, Paz y Democracia (Peace and Democracy), the work focuses on improving the quality of Mine Risk Education to really target those most in danger.


• MAG begins a project in Rwanda, to provide technical assistance and training to the Rwandan Army and Police in stockpile management and the destruction of surplus weapons, unstable ordnance and small arms ammunition.

• In a first for MAG, a diving team in the Democratic Republic of Congo clears Mbandaka harbour, Equateur Province, of 18 items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and more than 17,000 items of small arms ammunition.

• MAG welcomes the verdict in the trial of those responsible for the abduction and murder of deminer Christopher Howes and his interpreter Houn Hourth near Siem Reap, Cambodia, in 1996: “Today we feel that justice has been done for our two colleagues who were brutally murdered whilst carrying out life-saving work,” says Lou McGrath. “For more than 12 years the families of our colleagues have been fighting for this verdict and we are all extremely satisfied with today’s outcome. Hopefully, now the loved ones of Chris and Hourth can finally move on with their lives.”


• Assessment mission in Somaliland results in several short term projects.

• MAG activities start in Burundi and Republic of Congo.

• All-female demining team employed in Lao PDR.

• Executive Director Lou McGrath is awarded an OBE in the UK.

• MAG signs the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Code of Conduct.


• MAG is the first organisation to provide emergency clearance response in Lebanon, the day after the cease-fire.

• Community Liaison activities introduced to the Vietnam programme.


• Operations begin in ChadDemocratic Republic of Congo, Cyprus, Kashmir and Sudan.


• MAG develops new activities in Laos.


• All-female demining teams employed in Cambodia.

• Large-scale capacity building, training and emergency response in Iraq. MAG continues operations during the war. Mine Risk Education conducted in southern Iraq.

• Assessment in Tunisia.

• Mine Risk Education workshop follow-up in Mon State, Myanmar.


• Expansion of MAG in Vietnam.

• Development of partnership with local NGOs in Afghanistan.

• MRE workshop implemented in Myanmar.

• Further training undertaken in Laos and Azerbaijan.

• MAG carries out a Landmine Impact Survey in Lebanon.


• Operations in Sri Lanka begin.

• Assessments undertaken in Mauritania and Uganda.

• Emergency assessment in Pakistan.

• MAG training projects undertaken in Somaliland.


• MAG opens a support office in the  United States.

• Emergency mine action in Kosovo, Cambodian Mine Action Teams fill in. Mine Risk Education, and Child-to-Child and Child-to-Adult techniques developed.

• MAG hands over programme staff and equipment to UXO Lao.

• Assessment in Nicaragua and in the West Bank.

• MAG begins training local staff in Azerbaijan.

• MAG begins in Lebanon.


• MAG moves to new headquarters in Manchester, UK.

• MAG begins in Sudan.

• MAG begins in Vietnam.

• Assessments conducted in Namibia.

• Child-to-child methodologies adopted to Mine Risk Education in northern Iraq.


• MAG and others define the concept of Humanitarian Mine Action.

• Mine Action Teams and Community Liaison developed.

• Assessment in Bosnia.

• The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction – commonly known as the Ottawa Convention or Mine Ban Treaty – is adopted and opened for signature in 1997. MAG shares the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize as a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.


• Expansion and capacity-building in Angola, Cambodia, Laos and Iraq.

• Assessment and Mine Risk Education in Rwanda.

• Executive Director Lou McGrath appointed.


• Programme begins in Angola.

• Operations begin in Laos.


• MAG begins national training and clearance operations in Cambodia and Iraq.

• MAG co-founds the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.


• Further MAG surveys undertaken in Cambodia, Iraq and Somaliland with human rights NGOs.


• After witnessing first-hand the misery and suffering in war-torn Afghanistan, ex-British army engineer Rae McGrath enlists the help of his brother Lou to look at ways to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance from conflict zones.

• MAG is founded and conducts the first landmine impact survey in Afghanistan.

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