Issue 4.1 | February 2000 | Information in this issue may be outdated. Click here to link to the most recent issue.
Mine Action Coordination Center
October 1999 when Kosovo Forces (KFOR) entered the Province of Pristina, they
were immediately confronted with the problems encountered by a population
returning through areas contaminated by unexploded, NATO-dropped, cluster
munitions (CBU). NATO advised that as many as 333 areas had been bombarded
with such aerial delivered weapons. They found the problem extended to more
than 600 mine fields left by the Serbian Army (VJ), Police (MUP), and other
paramilitary forces. These were principally along the border with Albania
and the Federal Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and scattered in other
strategic areas on the interior.
resulting damages in terms of property and human casualties alerted the international
community to the potential for even more widespread devastation in the months
to come, as Kosovo began restructuring. Acting quickly, the United Nations
passed resolution #1244, which established the United Nations Mission in Kosovo
(UNMIK). The first order of business by UNMIK included setting up the Mine
Action Coordination Center (MACC). Such a rapid response, in attempt to coordinate
the activities of international and local agencies, set the stage for establishing
a best-case scenario for mine action worldwide.
established an Outline Concept Plan, which defines a three-stage program for
Mine Action. The Preliminary, Emergency, and Consolidation phases are designed
as a systematic, comprehensive response to the problem. During the Preliminary
Phase, the Mine Action Coordination Center, operating under UNMAS auspices,
was asked to coordinate and control all operational assets mobilized through
rapid donor intervention, and to address the immediate humanitarian crisis
associated with the spontaneous return of thousands of refugees. As this initial
phase drew to a close and the MACC moved into the current Emergency Phase,
the scope of their mandate expanded to include the coordination of all mine
action in Kosovo.
this mandate, MACC's team, headed by Program Manager Mr. John Flanagan, has
worked in conjunction with organizations like UNICEF, the World Health Organization
(WHO), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and other NGOs,
undertaking a multi-pronged and multi-disciplinary approach to mine action.
This approach includes mine awareness, extensive use of surveys, management
of mine field data, clearance, local training to increase prospects for sustainability,
and victim assistance.
MACC is now effective in the operational coordination and tasking of 17 accredited
mine clearance organizations, both NGO's and commercial companies, working
on goals defined in the Operational Plan. Put simply, these are to get refugees
back into their homes or onto their land, and to support the reconstruction
of the necessary supporting infrastructure and rehabilitation of essential
services. Priority clearance areas were identified using the following factors:
proximity to (within 500 meters) villages or population centers.
the number of mine incidents.
agricultural land and areas used for firewood collection.
areas that impede the rehabilitation and reconstruction of essential services
and utilities or other development projects.
the coordinating body, MACC has no operational mine action assets. Instead,
it draws on the assets and expertise of its partners who direct and implement
local level activities on a daily basis, coordinating with KFOR personnel
on operational matters. Through these "Senior Partners," the MACC
has been able to extend their reach throughout the Province without needing
to establish regional offices. Each Mine Clearance organization has been allocated
particular municipalities in which to operate. Capabilities have been taken
into consideration to ensure that there is an appropriate response available
in each of the 29 municipalities.
present, approximately 330 areas of Kosovo have been identified as being high
priority. These priorities are regularly reviewed and amended as necessary,
taking into consideration issues such as the seasonal use of land. Furthermore,
the ongoing consultation and liason with other agencies within Kosovo ensures
that the requirements of all humanitarian and developmental organizations
are taken into consideration. The MACC recognizes that coordination in these
matters is especially critical to ensure rapid follow-on activities in cleared
in part, to its successful partnering with these organizations, MACC has realized
a lengthy list of accomplishments. In just the four month period following
it's inception, the MACC has:
created a framework for coordinating and planning mine action at the Provincial
the planning process using the results of a province-wide survey of dangerous
areas, conducted by HALO Trust.
survey information at the community level to assist in the identification
of mine action priorities.
working relationships with mine clearance and mine awareness organizations
which act as "Senior Partners" representing the MACC regionally.
mine action companies and NGOs in accordance with the UN International Standard
for Humanitarian Mine Clearance Operations and the International Guidelines
for Landmine and Unexploded Ordnance Awareness Education.
geographic coverage to all mine clearance organizations based on their capabilities
Mine Clearance Achievements within the Province.
Provincial Mine Incidence figures.
will continue to fulfill its current mandate and achieve its goals in mine
clearance. In tandem with this work, MACC has identified priorities in the
areas of mine awareness and victim assistance. These include providing a stop-gap
measure for mine awareness prior to the formal integration of such programs
into the school curriculum in November 2000 and introducing a basic psycho-social
and advocacy support network to support the reintegration of victims in the
workforce or school system. MACC's work has been generously supported by donor
addition, the MACC has received in-kind (personnel and equipment) offers and
assistance from the Governments of Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany,
New Zealand, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
1212 963 8422, x 5353