Azerbaijan is one of the world’s more landmine-affected countries. Landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded bombs from the several conflicts in the Karabakh region have left a deadly legacy that prevents communities from using their land, and displaced populations from returning home safely.

Why we work in Azerbaijan

MAG previously worked in Azerbaijan in 2000-2001 when we supported the Azerbaijani government and ANAMA, the national demining authority, with training of deminers and leadership cadres. 

MAG returned to Azerbaijan in 2021, working to make land safe for populations affected by decades of conflict. 

Approximately one million people were internally displaced by conflict during the 1990s. They lost their homes and livelihoods as they abandoned their villages and towns to be relocated into Internally Displaced People (IDP) settlements. This has been the status quo for almost three decades. Plans for the return of over 700,000 IDPs to their places of origin are underway.

What we do

At the invitation of the Mine Action Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (ANAMA), MAG conducted a technical assessment in country in April 2021, which led to MAG and ANAMA beginning a capacity development project in December 2021. Since then, MAG has delivered training to improve the quality of ANAMA’s mine action programming, which is scaling up to address new and legacy contamination in Azerbaijan. 

As well as training for key supervisory ANAMA staff, MAG has reviewed and updated the national Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in line with international best practice. MAG and ANAMA continue to foster an effective relationship, in support of ANAMA’s goals.

In 2023, MAG established a partnership with a national operator, IEPF, in coordination with ANAMA, and to begin survey and clearance activities in high priority areas. 

MAG started the recruitment, training, and deployment of the first ever female deminers in Azerbaijan, who received MAG’s international standards training, ensuring that operations are safe and effective. 

Mentorship to the national operator teams and management, as well as training and technical guidance to ANAMA, form a crucial element of the sustainability of MAG’s work in Azerbaijan. 

MAG has also partnered with INGO APOPO, who are deploying their mine detection rats and technical survey dogs in Karabakh.

By partnering with the national operator IEPF and APOPO and continuing to collaborate with ANAMA on this project, MAG can support the much-needed scale up of operations in a safe and effective manner.

MAG will continue its valued partnership with ANAMA, enhancing national capacity and sustainable national ownership, thereby contributing to the long-term goal of reducing the threat of mine and UXO contamination, and enabling a safer environment for the resettlement of IDPs.

How we help

By clearing mined areas with deminers, mechanical assets, and mine detection rats and technical survey dogs, MAG enables communities to use their land in safety, giving them greater food security and an escape from poverty. By empowering women to join the demining capacity of Azerbaijan, we support to improve their livelihoods, and help them to play their role in the peace process and strive for a more inclusive, equitable national landmine clearance capacity.   

Land cleared by MAG in Azerbaijan will be used to build new roads, schools, hospitals and entire villages and communities, as well as pave the way for thousands of farmers to work in safety.