Geneva Diary: Report from the GICHD

By Ian Mansfield [Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining]

The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining provides operational assistance to mine-action programs and operators, creates and disseminates knowledge, works to improve quality management and standards, and provides support to instruments of international law.

Over the past few months, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining has helped coordinate a conference on cluster munitions and taken part in a workshop on explosive remnants of war for an international security forum. The GICHD also began promoting the Bibliomines, an online resource for mine-action documents in French. This edition of the Geneva Diary discusses some of these recent activities in further detail.

Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions


The Berlin Conference on the Destruction of Cluster Munitions was hosted by the German Federal Foreign Office in collaboration with the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 23–26 June 2009. The GICHD supported the GFFO in the substantial and organizational preparation of the conference, and the United Nations Development Programme, sponsored by Norway, arranged the travel for about 40 officials from developing countries to attend the meeting. The two-day conference gathered 84 of the 98 signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, including nearly all those with cluster-munitions stockpiles. Representatives from nongovernmental organizations, international organizations and companies working on cluster-munitions stockpile destruction also participated in the conference. Altogether the attendance totaled 274 persons.

The objective of the Berlin conference was to support the timely implementation of Article 3 (stockpile destruction) and related obligations of the CCM, and to maintain the momentum of its signing ceremony in December 2008. Experts from both states and civil society gave presentations organized in thematic sessions that led to fruitful discussions. Further details can be found on the Web site at http://www.berlin-ccm-conference.org.

International Security Forum

The 8th International Security Forum was held in Geneva 18–20 May 2009. The GICHD arranged a workshop titled “Explosive Remnants of War, Human Security and Development” that included a range of speakers from mine-action programs and NGOs. The session was chaired by the new President of the GICHD Council of Foundation (the Geneva Centre’s governing body), Dr. Barbara Haering. The discussion opened by emphasizing that landmines, ERW and small arms/light weapons are all tools of armed violence that negatively affect lives and livelihoods after conflict.

Mine action can make a significant contribution to programs focused on armed-violence reduction, peace building, security-sector reform, and the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants. The panelists discussed the experience of mine-action organizations in dealing with the legacy of ERW as part of efforts to strengthen human security and promote reconstruction and development. Further details on the workshop can be found on the Linking Mine Action and Development pages of the GICHD Web site.1

Bibliomines

The GICHD is collaborating with the national mine-action centers of Senegal (Centre National d’Action Antimines du Sénégal) and Mauritania (Programme National de Déminage Humanitaire pour le Développement) and the mine-action training center of Benin (Centre de Perfectionnement aux Actions post-conflictuelles de Déminage et Dépollution) to carry out the Bibliomines project. The Bibliomines online library was created for French-speaking communities affected by mines and ERW, and for national actors within mine action. The library collects and makes existing documentation on mine and ERW action accessible in French.2 The materials on the Bibliomines Web site include the following:

In addition to facilitating access to mine-action-related documents in French, Bibliomines promotes the production and dissemination of new documents and creates opportunities for cross-sectoral exchanges of expertise.2 The Bibliomines Web site can be accessed via the GICHD Web site or at www.bibliomines.org.

Recent Publications

Recent publications from the GICHD include an updated version of the Guide to Cluster Munitions,3 the first edition was published in November 2007. This guide presents some content of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and information on stockpile destruction, while offering new findings in procedures for survey and battle-area clearance. Another recent GICHD publication is the Guide to Mechanical Demining Handbook.4 A full list of all GICHD publications can be found at http://www.gichd.org/gichd-publications/overview.J

Biography

Ian MansfieldIan Mansfield is the Deputy Director and Head of Operations at the GICHD and is responsible for all of the center’s operational, technical and research activities. He is also responsible for analyzing existing and potential areas of activity for the GICHD, as well as all evaluation, assessment and consultancy activities. Mansfield holds a Master of Business Administration and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

 

Endnotes

  1. “Linking Mine Action and Development: Workshops.” Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining. http://www.gichd.org/operational-assistance-research/linking-mine-action-and-development/workshops/. Accessed 28 August 2009.
  2. “Bibliomines.” Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining. http://www.gichd.org/operational-assistance-research/francophone-programme/bibliomines-francophone-online-library/. Accessed 28 August 2009.
  3. “Guide to Cluster Munitions.” Second ed. Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining. June 2009. http://www.gichd.org/gichd-publications/guide-to-cluster-munitions/. Accessed 8 September 2009.
  4. “MDE Catalogue.” Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining. http://www.gichd.org/gichd-publications/mde-catalogue/. Accessed 29 October 2009.

Contact Information

Ian Mansfield
Deputy Director/Head of Operations
Geneva International Centre for
Humanitarian Demining
Avenue de la Paix 7bis
CH-1211 Geneva / Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 906 1674
Fax: +41 22 906 1690
E-mail: i.mansfield@gichd.org
Web site: www.gichd.org