Montenegro demilitarization - MONDEM


Cutting tanksCutting tanks within MONDEM programme. Photo: UNDP in Montenegro

The surplus of military ammunition poses a major environmental and human security risk to communities in Montenegro. Present ammunition storage sites are overstocked, equipped with inadequate security protection and exceeding safe explosive limits. An accidental explosion could result in a great environmental hazard, including civilian casualties.

The Ministry of Defense of Montenegro has started the Montenegro Demilitarization (MONDEM) project in 2007, in cooperation with UNDP Montenegro and OSCE Mission to Montenegro. This project’s goal is to help create a safe, sustainable and rationalized military arsenal in Montenegro.

What is the project about?

The MONDEM project activities are carried out in four key areas, defined by the four major objectives:

Goal 1: The safe disposal of hazardous substances once used in the military arsenal. Within this goal, in 2008 the project organized a successful cleanup of the Kotor Bay area and the safe shipping and destruction of the hazardous waste. Overall, 128 tons of toxic anti-ship rocket fuel that were stocked close to the shore and 28 tons of inflammable napalm thickener which sat at the local airport were safely removed and shipped for destruction.

Goal 2: The creation of safe and secure storage for conventional ammunition. Aspiring to achieve this, the project focused on creating a safe and secure storage for conventional ammunition. The Defense Ministry’s goal was to downsize the number of storage units to a total of three and improve the security level and management of the storage units to meet NATO standards. So far, two out of three storage units are finalized and underway.

Goal 3: Conducting an environmentally-friendly demilitarization process. The third area of the project’s work was a process of environmentally-friendly overall demilitarization, with a focus on rightsizing the amount of military ammunition. These efforts include a two-phase plan to safely destroy and dispose of the surplus ammunition, starting from the technically least challenging pieces. Through this process, the Ministry’s aim is to maintain a safe quantity of 2,500 tons of ammunition, down from the current 9,900 tons.

Goal 4: The destruction of heavy weaponry. The destruction of heavy weapons (e.g. tanks) has been the fourth component of the MONDEM Project. Recycling a limited quantity of this weaponry is an integral part of the ongoing defense reform in Montenegro. The heavy machinery has been cut and melted, and the funds obtained from the sale of the scrap metal were returned to MONDEM.

What have we accomplished so far?

Together with partners, UNDP helped Montenegro:

  • Dispose of toxic waste: In the stockpile there were 128 tons of toxic hazardous waste (liquid propellant fuel and oxidizer for rockets) that presented serious humanitarian and environmental threat to the population in the Kotor Bay area. The stockpile also contained 25.84 tons of Napalm thickener that was stored within the boundaries of Podgorica Airport. Disposal of this toxic hazardous waste was done in a safe, efficient and effective way that complies with all relevant international and EU environmental and safety legislation.
  • Create safe and secure storage for conventional ammunition: Through MONDEM, one storage site (Taraš ammunition depot) was fully reconstructed and reopened in May 2011. The total investment amounted to USD 1,8 million, turning this storage into a modern and safe unit. Reconstruction of the second storage site (Brezovik) will start in 2014, and according to project estimation will require an investment of USD 2.5 million.
  • Conduct an environmentally-friendly demilitarization process: National execution of the demilitarization project is chosen as a way forward. Capacity is being created within the Ministry of Defence to carry on the disposal of ammunition once the MONDEM project is over. During the first phase (2009-2012), 1.114,97 tons of surplus and obsolete ammunition were disposed. Phase Three of the project with the total of 1.312 tons started in 2013, and over the course of one year 247 tons were disposed. The remaining 1065 tons of surplus/obsolete ammunition is planned to be disposed by the end of 2015. So far, a sum of USD 800,000 was contributed by the Government of Montenegro to MONDEM, earned through selling of scrap material from demilitarization project.
  • Destruct heavy weaponry: A total of 1000 heavy weapons, 61 tanks, armoured combat vehicles, howitzers, artillery pieces and various smaller calibre weapons were recycled. The recycling of the 61 tanks in July 2008 yielded a return to the Government of Montenegro of USD 594,000, which was returned to the MONDEM programme for the destruction of surplus conventional ammunition.

Who finances it?

Donor name

Amount contributed

Government of Montenegro

USD 1,200,000

Government of the Netherlands

USD 1,816,200

Government of the UK

USD    584,000

Government of Sweden

USD    344,000

Government of Denmark

USD    150,000

OSCE Participating States

USD 1,190,000

EC SEESAC Programme

USD    680,000


USD 6,308,200

Delivery in previous fiscal years

December 2014 USD    147,149
December 2013 USD    209,581

December 2012

USD    524,953

December 2011

USD    500,474

December 2010

USD 1,910,977

December 2009

USD 1,018,965

December 2008

USD    767,264

December 2007

USD      55,552

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