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Prevalence and Impact of Landmines on Ukrainian Agricultural Production

Caitlin Welsh POLICY SEMINAR Food System Repercussions of the Russia-Ukraine War 2023 Borlaug Dialogue Breakout session Co-organized by IFPRI and CGIAR OCT 26, 2023 - 1:10 TO 2:10PM EDT

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Prevalence and Impact of
Landmines on Ukrainian
Agricultural Production
Caitlin Welsh
Director, CSIS Global Food and Water Security Program
2023 World Food Prize, Borlaug Dialogues,
"Food System Repercussions of the Russia-Ukraine War"
Policy Seminar
Scale of Contamination
Across Ukraine
• Landmine contamination unprecedented in 21st century
• Types of Landmines
⚬ At least 13 types of anti-personnel and 13 types of anti-vehicle
mines have been identified
• Area contaminated — varying estimates
⚬ 67,000 - 96,525 sq miles of Ukrainian territory
⚬ 1,814 - 9,652 sq miles of Ukrainian agricultural land
Scale of Contamination
Across Ukraine
• Ukraine’s total area: Texas
• Ukraine’s total farmland: Illinois + Wisconsin
• Ukraine’s total farmland unsuitable for use due to war:
Massachusetts + Vermont
• Ukraine’s total farmland exposed to landmines: Vermont
Steps for Demining
• Non-technical survey
• Technical survey
• Clearance
• Certification
Humanitarian
Demining
UNMAS 5 Pillars of
Mine Action
• Clearance
• Mine Risk Education
• Victim Assistance
• Advocacy
• Stockpile Destruction
Interagency Working Group on
Humanitarian Demining
Ministry of Defense of
Ukraine
Ministry of Economy
of Ukraine
Ministry of
Infrastructure of
Ukraine
Government Actors Involved
Ministry of Agrarian Policy
and Food of Ukraine
Ministry of Internal
Affairs of Ukraine
Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Ukraine
State Emergency
Service of Ukraine
State Service for Restoration and Infrastructure Development
State Service for Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre
Representative of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine
Progress to Date
Scale of Contamination
Across Ukraine
• “Out of 3,000 hectares, I have 1,000 hectares mined. I left the application for demining immediately
after the de-occupation. The emergency department says that they will not clear the mines in the
near future, because they do not have time… We will look for a way out on our own, because today it
is cheaper to buy a field than to demine it. We are considering the possibility of buying a drone that
looks for mines, or renting a special car. Otherwise, life will not return to our villages, I need to clear
the fields and sow crops this year," Oleg Girman stressed.
Scale of Contamination
Across Ukraine
Unique Considerations of
Agricultural Soil
• Detonation creates a crater
that displaces topsoil and
compacts subsoil
• Detonations can release
toxic pollutants into soil and
waterways
Image Credit: Mine Action Review, Mitigating the
Environmental Impacts of Explosive Ordnance
and Land Release
Unique Considerations of
Agricultural Soil
Image Credit: Mine Action Review, Mitigating the
Environmental Impacts of Explosive Ordnance
and Land Release
Recommendations
• Expedite the provision of humanitarian demining, including from
increased funding from donors
• Lower the cost to farmers of demining
• Make special considerations for the unique needs of agricultural
soil, including by taking steps to reduce soil and water pollution
from demining and implementing soil testing to ensure soil quality

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Prevalence and Impact of Landmines on Ukrainian Agricultural Production

  • 1. Prevalence and Impact of Landmines on Ukrainian Agricultural Production Caitlin Welsh Director, CSIS Global Food and Water Security Program 2023 World Food Prize, Borlaug Dialogues, "Food System Repercussions of the Russia-Ukraine War" Policy Seminar
  • 2. Scale of Contamination Across Ukraine • Landmine contamination unprecedented in 21st century • Types of Landmines ⚬ At least 13 types of anti-personnel and 13 types of anti-vehicle mines have been identified • Area contaminated — varying estimates ⚬ 67,000 - 96,525 sq miles of Ukrainian territory ⚬ 1,814 - 9,652 sq miles of Ukrainian agricultural land
  • 3. Scale of Contamination Across Ukraine • Ukraine’s total area: Texas • Ukraine’s total farmland: Illinois + Wisconsin • Ukraine’s total farmland unsuitable for use due to war: Massachusetts + Vermont • Ukraine’s total farmland exposed to landmines: Vermont
  • 4. Steps for Demining • Non-technical survey • Technical survey • Clearance • Certification Humanitarian Demining UNMAS 5 Pillars of Mine Action • Clearance • Mine Risk Education • Victim Assistance • Advocacy • Stockpile Destruction
  • 5. Interagency Working Group on Humanitarian Demining Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Ministry of Economy of Ukraine Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine Government Actors Involved Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine State Emergency Service of Ukraine State Service for Restoration and Infrastructure Development State Service for Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Representative of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine
  • 7. Scale of Contamination Across Ukraine • “Out of 3,000 hectares, I have 1,000 hectares mined. I left the application for demining immediately after the de-occupation. The emergency department says that they will not clear the mines in the near future, because they do not have time… We will look for a way out on our own, because today it is cheaper to buy a field than to demine it. We are considering the possibility of buying a drone that looks for mines, or renting a special car. Otherwise, life will not return to our villages, I need to clear the fields and sow crops this year," Oleg Girman stressed.
  • 9. Unique Considerations of Agricultural Soil • Detonation creates a crater that displaces topsoil and compacts subsoil • Detonations can release toxic pollutants into soil and waterways Image Credit: Mine Action Review, Mitigating the Environmental Impacts of Explosive Ordnance and Land Release
  • 10. Unique Considerations of Agricultural Soil Image Credit: Mine Action Review, Mitigating the Environmental Impacts of Explosive Ordnance and Land Release
  • 11. Recommendations • Expedite the provision of humanitarian demining, including from increased funding from donors • Lower the cost to farmers of demining • Make special considerations for the unique needs of agricultural soil, including by taking steps to reduce soil and water pollution from demining and implementing soil testing to ensure soil quality