claring mines - Photo:Photo: The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia
Photo: The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia

Making the land safe

The Croatian Mine Action Centre (HCR – CROMAC) was established in 1998 and has since its founding been involved in a collaboration with Norway, mutually through ties with the civil society and with the Government itself.

To ensure a safe return to the land, as well as being a prerequisite for future development of local communities, demining action became a particularly successful manifestation of Croatian-Norwegian cooperation in the 2000s. Support to mine risk education programs and mine victims’ assistance was also a part of the cooperation. Furthermore, digitizing of maps to increase the quality and accuracy of mine related information was additionally a part of the collaboration, which also prepared the ground for a webpage with information about suspected areas for the general public.

The Norwegian People's Aid Mine Action Programme Croatia (NPA) was the only NGO accredited by the Croatian authorities to handle processes of demining in Croatia. In the period from the fall of 2001 to the end of 2010, NPA surveyed 50 million m2, handed back to the local community approximately 26 million m2 of mine free land and removed and destroyed over 6,300 mines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war. Training of local staff remained a core aspect to the process, both through training demining personnel, but also by facilitating the application of technology (maps) to better manage land use at a later stage.

The cooperation between Croatia and Norway, on state level as well as with local communities and civil society, led to a considerable amount of land being cleared of mines and an exchange of knowledge that facilitated the development of local communities.