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Last Updated: 09 October 2014

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

Overall Mine Action Performance: AVERAGE[1]

Performance Indicator


Problem understood


Target date for completion of clearance


Targeted clearance


Efficient clearance


National funding of program


Timely clearance


Land release system


National mine action standards


Reporting on progress


Improving performance





The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is contaminated by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). Contamination is the result primarily of the 1948 partition of Palestine, the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, the 1970 civil war, and the 1975 confrontation with Syria. Military training ranges and cross-border smuggling have added to the ERW problem.

Jordan announced it had completed clearance of all known mined areas on 24 April 2012 after Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) finished clearance of the mine belt along its northern border with Syria the previous month, but subsequently acknowledged that not all mines along the border had been accounted for.[2] In fact, Jordan appears to still contain mined areas on its territory that fall within the obligation under Article 5 to clear all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under a State Party’s jurisdiction or control.

NPA was due to check some 10.5km2 of land adjacent to the mine belt for close to 9,000 mines from the mine belts unaccounted for and which may have been removed during unrecorded army clearance operations or by smugglers, or may have shifted due to weather, floods, or land erosion.[3] When operations halted in February 2013 due to security issues on the northern border, NPA had completed work on 8.2km2, leaving 2.3km2 to be verified, while the National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation (NCDR) had inspected 6.8km2.[4]

Jordan is also continuing verification and clearance in the Jordan Valley. The army’s Royal Engineering Corps (REC) cleared the area and declared completion in 2008, but the NCDR concluded that operations had not met national standards and clearance operations in 2013 alone found 241 mines, including 218 antipersonnel mines. The total “project area” was 15.6km2 and as of May 2014 a total of 5.4km2 remained to be addressed.[5]

Jordan Valley Sampling and Verification Project in 2013[6]


Verified areas

Verified area (m2)

Antipersonnel mines destroyed

Antivehicle mines destroyed
















Cluster munition remnants

Jordan may have some cluster munition remnants in remote areas, the result of the armed forces testing cluster munitions on firing ranges, but the NCDR has said any contamination is unlikely to be extensive.[7] A NATO-funded ERW survey initiated in September 2008 had recorded no cluster munition remnants as of end 2011.[8] The NCDR sees the main risk of submunitions to be resulting from imports of scrap metal from Iraq. The only submunition found since 2010 was at a northeastern checkpoint where it appeared to have been imported with scrap from Iraq.[9]

Mine Action Program

Jordan established the NCDR as “the primary national mine action authority” under a 2000 law, while an April 2002 royal decree appointed its board of directors, which includes representatives of the Jordanian Armed Forces, the government, NGOs, landmine survivors, and the media. The NCDR became fully operational in 2004 when Prince Mired Raad Zeid al-Hussein became its chair.[10]

The NCDR was responsible for preparing and overseeing implementation of a national mine action plan and for ensuring that mine action is integrated into the country’s wider development strategies.[11] It is responsible for coordinating, accrediting, regulating, and quality-assuring all mine action organizations as well as for fundraising.[12]

Strategic planning

The NCDR’s 2010–2015 National Plan, published in June 2010, aimed to complete clearance of all known mines, including 65,000 mines from the northern border, by May 2012, and to clear all ERW by December 2012.[13] It is unclear if this target will be attained by 2015.

Land Release

NPA expected to complete verification of the northern border by the end of June 2013 but was able to work only until mid-February 2013, when security issues related to the conflict in Syria brought operations to a halt. In January and February, it verified 460,000m2, destroying in the process 20 antipersonnel mines and one antivehicle mine.[14] At the time operations ceased, some 2.3km2 remained to be verified.[15]

Army engineers continued verification and sampling in the Jordan Valley, releasing about 1km2 in 2013, about half the amount of the previous year, and destroying about one-third fewer antipersonnel mines.[16] In May and June, NPA also supported the Jordan Valley sampling and verification project but in the aftermath of Jordan’s announcement that it had completed clearance of all known mined areas, NPA was unable to attract donor funding and ended its Jordan program. NPA decided to keep its office in Amman open to provide regional administrative and logistical support until the end of 2014.[17]

Jordan Valley Project


Verified area (m2)

Antipersonnel mines

Antivehicle mines














2009 to end 2012














Article 5 Compliance

Jordan officially declared completion of its Article 5 obligations on 24 April 2012, just ahead of its 1 May 2012 treaty deadline set as a result of the three-year extension granted by States Parties in 2008. It submitted its formal declaration of completion to the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in December 2012.[18]

Jordan’s announcement came after NPA completed demining of minefields along the northern border with Syria. Announcing completion, however, Prince Mired acknowledged that “a residual risk could remain in areas where landmines have been emplaced.”[19] Jordan has subsequently noted that completion of northern border verification will depend on security conditions. At the 2013 Standing Committee meetings, Jordan said it expected Jordan Valley verification efforts on the remaining 4.4km2 to last two more years.[20] Since then, new information leading to a higher estimate of area requiring verification as of the end of 2013 makes it appear that Jordan will need more time to complete work in the area.

Given the obligation in Article 5(1) to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas, Jordan still has outstanding Article 5 survey and clearance obligations to fulfill, in particular in the Jordan Valley.


Jordan should identify the time needed to complete full clearance of contaminated areas in the Jordan Valley and request a new extension to its Article 5 deadline for this period.

In light of the closure of NPA’s program, Jordan should clarify how verification of the north border will be concluded.


[1] See “Mine Action Program Performance” for more information on performance indicators.

[2]Jordan First Arab country free of landmines,” UNDP, 24 April 2012; and Mohammad Ghazal, “Jordan first Mideast country to be free of minefields,” Jordan Times, 25 April 2012.

[3] Statement of Jordan, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 29 May 2013; and email from Mikael Bold, Program Manager, NPA, 12 February 2012. NPA estimated the number of mines missing from the mine belt at between 9,345 and 10,083. NPA’s verification procedure involved a mixture of visual inspection of areas adjacent to the mine belt, “ground preparation” with mechanical assets and some involvement of manual deminers, and full technical survey of areas where evidence and experience pointed to a risk of contamination.

[4] Email from Jamal Odibat, Operations Reporting Officer, NCDR, 8 May 2014.

[5] Ibid., 20 May 2014.

[6] Ibid., 18 March 2014.

[7] See for example, Dalya Dajani, “Mine action authority to tackle unexploded ordnance,” Jordan Times, 22 January 2009; and email from Stephen Bryant, Program Manager, NPA, 2 February 2009.

[8] Email from Jamal Odibat, NCDR, 8 February 2012.

[9] Email from Muna Alalul, NCDR, 25 July 2011.

[10] NCDR, “Jordan’s National Mine Action Plan 2005–2009,” Amman, June 2005, pp. 1–2.

[11] Email from Muna Alalul, NCDR, 31 July 2011.

[12] NCDR, “Jordan’s National Mine Action Plan 2005–2009,” Amman, June 2005, pp. 1–2.

[13] NCDR, “2010–2015 NCDR National Plan,” undated but June 2010, p. 3.

[14] Email from Jamal Odibat, NCDR, 18 March 2014.

[15] Statement of Jordan, Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 5 December 2013.

[16] Email from Jamal Odibat, NCDR, 18 March 2014.

[17] Emails from Jonas Zachrisson, Program Manager, NPA, 25 and 31 March 2014.

[20] Statement of Jordan, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 29 May 2013.