This year, MAG is celebrating 30 years of working around the world. Since 1989, MAG has been on the front lines of rebuilding communities, clearing landmines and unexploded bombs and helping people recover from conflict. In three short decades, we have worked in 68 countries to deliver a safer future for more than 18 million children and their families affected by violence, conflict and insecurity.
MAG was born of emergency aid worker and army veteran Rae McGrath's military experiences in Afghanistan, as well as time spent working with humanitarian NGOs. He witnessed firsthand the horrific impact landmines and unexploded bombs had on civilians and how they paralyzed attempts to reconstruct communities.
Rae returned to the UK determined to do something to help the communities affected by landmines across more than 60 countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. He formally established Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in 1989.
MAG's early years were spent helping countries establish the scale of contamination. In Afghanistan and Cambodia, MAG helped develop a course of action for how to deal with the landmine crisis. In 1992, MAG removed their first landmines. The organization's first humanitarian demining mission was in Iraq, working to clear the legacy of the first Gulf War, which saw hundreds of minefields laid across the Kurdish regions of the country.
MAG's work in Iraq demonstrated the lifesaving impact and desire for humanitarian landmine clearance. It allowed MAG to expand its operations to Angola, Cambodia, and Laos.
It was also in 1992 that MAG joined forces with Human Rights Watch, Medico International, Handicap International (now Humanity & Inclusion), Physicians for Human Rights, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation to form the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). As part of the campaign, Diana, Princess of Wales, famously visited a minefield in Angola to bring attention to this important issue. In 1997, 122 countries came together to ban the production and use of anti-personnel landmines, signing the Mine Ban Treaty in Ottawa and achieving the ambitious goal of the ICBL. As part of the campaign, MAG became the co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.
As the new millennium dawned, MAG expanded operations into Vietnam, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. MAG's expertise was frequently called upon in the intervening years, especially in the immediate aftermath of conflict where many traditional aid agencies struggle to get access. MAG sent emergency response teams into both Lebanon and Gaza in 2009.
20 years after the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty, the changing nature of conflict has thrust the world into a new landmine emergency. The presence of ISIS has resulted in a landmine crisis the scale of which has not been seen for decades, making worse an already complex humanitarian crisis. MAG has responded to the emergency by deploying teams to make land and communities safe for the refugees and internally displaced people desperate to return home.
In 2017, MAG co-founded the Landmine Free 2025 campaign with fellow landmine clearance charity The HALO Trust. The campaign was launched at Kensington Palace with the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, who has followed in his mother's footsteps by bringing attention to the global landmine problem.
From a small operation in 1989 to an international charity today, MAG has set new standards for humanitarian mine clearance and used innovative approaches to help millions of people. Looking forward, MAG remains fiercely committed to creating a safe world for the 60 million people forced to live with the threat of landmines. We aim to put ourselves out of business within the next 30 years, achieving a #landminefree future for all.
30 years of impact
Landmines & unexploded bombs destroyed
Acres of land cleared