Large areas of the Republic of Kosovo were contaminated by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), including cluster munition remnants (CMR) as a result of the conflict between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and NATO in 1999. More than 500 casualties were reported due to landmines and ERW, with over 100 dead and more than 400 injured.
Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) started its operations in Kosovo in 1999 as one of the first organisations to establish a mine action programme in the country. From 1999-to 2001 the UN managed the initial response following the conflict and declared far too early that the problem had largely been solved when it pulled out its resources.
In 2014 the Kosovo Mine Action Centre (KMAC) confirmed to NPA that Kosovo still has a substantial mine and ERW problem. NPA was then asked by KMAC and by the Norwegian Embassy in Kosovo to assist in the survey and clearance operations, particularly in the north of the country.
In 2015 NPA conducted a non-technical survey of the northern parts of the country, suspected to be contaminated with cluster munitions remnants, started technical survey and battle area clearance operations in 2016 and has been doing it since. As of mid-2023, over 10 km2 of previously contaminated land have been released through clearance, technical and non-technical survey and returned to the beneficiaries for safe use.
NPA’s mine action activities in Kosovo are funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA), the U.S. Department of State US DoS - PM/WRA and the European Union (EU Kosovo). In the past, NPA Kosovo was also funded by the NRK’s Telethon (NRK Telethon) and the Japanese Embassy (Embassy of Japan).