GICHD wins Making a Difference Award

In July 2011, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining was presented with a prestigious, geographic industry award for its work in developing and implementing the Information Management System for Mine Action.

Given annually by the worldwide company Esri (Environmental Research Information Systems) this year’s Making a Difference award provides significant recognition of the impact of IMSMA on humanitarian demining. The award is presented for outstanding and innovative achievements in geography and geographic information systems.

Jack Dangermond, Chief Executive Officer of Esri, visited the GICHD Geneva offices in May 2011, and he saw the importance of effective information management in achieving mine-action goals. Each year, more countries are declaring themselves free of mines and new casualties, and information management has played an important role in this progress.

Humanitarian demining started with an unquantifiable problem—no one could accurately estimate the size, spread and impact of landmines in affected countries. The use of GIS has brought increased and valuable clarity to mine action. Building an accurate picture of the extent and results of landmine and explosive-remnants-of-war contamination is vital for effective resource mobilization in mine clearance, land release for productive use, victim assistance and eliminating the effects of landmines and ERW. This is a key GICHD strategic objective and IMSMA is central to this effort.

IMSMA is used by both governments and charities in almost 60 countries worldwide with a total of 1,200 installations. IMSMA was created to allow countries with limited capacity in GIS and information management to conduct analysis easily. It is a powerful tool for humanitarian-aid activity. In fact, the benefits of the system are being increasingly noticed and considered by organizations working in other development and disaster-management fields.

Daniel Eriksson, Head of Information Management, GICHD, accepted the award at the Esri International Users Conference on 11 July 2011. This conference is held annually in San Diego, California (U.S.), attracting approximately 14,500 global participants.

For further information, please contact Daniel Eriksson, Head of Information Management, GICHD, at +0041 79 477 3191 or To watch the award ceremony, click here. J

~Lois Carter Fay, CISR staff

Center for International Stabilization and Recovery
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