Director's Message

 

Ken RutherfordIt’s an exciting time here at CISR. As we approach our twentieth-year anniversary, CISR maintains an active role in reducing the negative effects of conflict around the world. By building capacity abroad and strengthening the mine action community’s access to information, we’re proud to be a part of a field that helps communities reduce the effects of war. This year, we will create a Geographic Information System (GIS) for the global conventional weapons destruction (CWD) community. Developed using the Esri ArcGIS platform and mobile apps to collect real-time CWD data from countries with contamination, the system will analyze data to create an online library of maps, infographics and other data products at no cost to the CWD community.

Moreover, CISR staff are currently in Vietnam planning our next Regional Senior Managers’ Course for ERW and Mine Action to be held from 21 September to 9 October 2015. The course, open to candidates from Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, includes two weeks of classroom instruction in Hanoi and one week of field visits in Quang Binh and Quang Tri.

In our continued quest to disseminate information to the wider MA community, the Journal turns its attention to Colombia, one of the most mine-affected countries in the world due to decades of conflict with non-state armed groups. In our Focus section, Carl Case from the Organization of American States examines Colombia’s ongoing clearance progress in “Preparing for Humanitarian Demining in Post-conflict Colombia.” In addition, Pablo Parra and Marc Bonnet from the United Nations Mine Action Service present the case for a national assessment on landmine contamination through non-technical survey.

In our Feature section, we look at the progress and evaluation of global mine and ERW risk education programs. Abigail Jones (Gender and Mine Action Programme) and Kjell Breili (UNMAS) discuss implementing culturally-sensitive risk education in Somalia. In addition, Sebastian Kasack looks at UNICEF’s MRE certification courses in Mali, Sri Lanka and Tajikistan while Robert Keeley’s (Danish Deming Group [DDG]) article, “Counting the Unaccountable” encourages discussion on how best to measure the benefits of mine risk education.

Also in this issue, we have a very timely special report from Roger Fasth and Pascal Simon (DDG), examining DDG’s and Danish Refugee Council’s Landmine and ERW Victims Survey in the Kachin and Kayay states of Myanmar.

This past May, I attended the 2015 Mine Action Country Planning Workshop for Iraq in Istanbul. As witnessed at the conference, national and international attention to stockpile management is not only timely, but vital. In this issue, Matt Williams and I look at the role of urbanization in the decreasing distance between populations and ammunitions stockpiles and how past unplanned explosions within the United States serve as an unique but prime example of the dangers of improperly stored munitions.

As we look to future issues, our focus turns toward Afghanistan, the use of mobile technologies in the field and best practices in CWD, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa and disaster response planning in Eastern Europe and Asia. As always, we invite industry experts, government bodies, NGOs, and researchers to submit their articles and case studies. We depend on your voice and we look forward to hearing from you.

Ken Rutherford