Mine Action Support Group Update
highlights the recent work of MASG.
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International Mine Action Standards (IMAS)
IMAS were issued in October 2001, as edition one, and have been
generally very well accepted by the mine action community. To further
promote the use of IMAS by National Mine Action authorities, it is
planned to translate the IMAS glossary and guide for application into
all the UN official languages and those languages that will be used by
Quality Assurance Monitors
Recently four Quality Assurance Monitors (QAM) attended a Landmine
Impact Survey (LIS) seminar in Washington hosted by the Vietnam
Veterans of America Foundation. The United Nations now has five QAM
available for the LIS. Two QAM are deploying immediately to Somalia
and Lebanon for the first intervention during the expert opinion
collection phase; Other QAM have been allocated to Ethiopia,
Azerbaijan and Bosnia-Herzegovina—LIS being undertaken prior to the
end of this year. The Survey Action Center (SAC) conducted training
for Azerbaijan senior staff, and training is planned for senior staff
members for the LIS in Bosnia Herzegovina.
Evaluation of the Global Landmine Impact Survey
LISs represent a significant investment in
both resources and time. Since the inception of the LIS process,
surveys have been completed in Yemen, Chad, Thailand and Mozambique.
Recently, the LIS in Cambodia was completed and this survey is now
pending certification. The Survey Working Group and the Survey Action
Centre intend to conduct an independent analysis of the value and
utility of the LIS.
Work is progressing on the Victim Assistance Policy and consultations
continued with UN partners in the IACG-MA. The draft of the policy has
been circulated to UN Programme Manager’s for comment and it is
planned to circulate to the NGO community after comments have been
received from the field.
coordinating role of the Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC), which
includes components from the UN, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and
the National Demining Office, is essential to the implementation of “Operation Emirates Solidarity”
(OES) in southern Lebanon, which is
funded by the UAE. OES mine clearance operations started in early May
2002, through deployment of two commercial companies, BACTEC and
MINETECH, which are tasked according to priorities set by the MACC.
BACTEC and MINETECH are conducting minefield clearance, essentially
with manual demining teams, but using also mechanical flails machines,
and Mine Detection Dogs to perform survey and area reduction
activities. As of mid-September 2002, more than 2,000,000 square
meters of land were cleared and handed over to communities, and more
than 11,000 antipersonnel mines were destroyed.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
core team of a Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC) was established
in Kinshasa in January 2002, with one Regional Office in Kisangani,
Eastern DRC. The MACC is acting as the focal point for mine action in
the DRC. In this respect, an IMSMA database has been established in
Kinshasa and is being populated with information provided through an
information collection mechanism set up within both the humanitarian
community and MONUC. A commercial mine clearance company, MECHEM from
South Africa, has been contracted by MONUC and to conduct technical
surveys to facilitate further deployment of MONUC, initially in
Kisangani and Kindu airports; unfortunately, as of mid-September
initiation of the project has not yet been authorized by the RCD-Goma
which controls Kisangani. Quality Assurance of MECHEM activities will
be performed by MONUC with the technical assistance of the MACC.
Sufficient funding (U.S. $1,045,000) has been made available from
voluntary contributions and MONUC assessed budget to support the MACC
until the end of 2002.
However, there is an urgent need to deploy, a core mobile emergency
mine/UXO clearance capacity to respond to humanitarian requirements,
which is estimated to cost $670,000. This would meet the emergency
situations that have been identified so far, particularly in the
Orientale and Equateur provinces.
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
a result of the short but violent internal conflict of early 2001, it
has been established that of the threat of mines and UXO by far the
greater is that of UXO. It was estimated that 80 villages were
affected to varying degrees by UXO, hampering safe return of about
100,000 IDPs and refugees. Following a request from the UN
Humanitarian Coordinator, the United Nations Mine Action Office (MAO)
was established in Skopje in September 2001. Working in close
cooperation with the newly established Macedonian Mine Action Centre,
the MAO is coordinating bilateral contributions to provide the
national authorities with full capacity to deal with the mine/UXO
problem. The MAO has also established, and is still managing, an IMSMA
database, and is assisting both the UNHCR and the OSCE for assessing
UXO clearance requirements prior to the return of refugees in UXO
International Trust Fund (ITF) deployed UXO clearance teams in Fall
2001, and again for the period April to June 2002; the ITF also
trained and equipped 5 Macedonian teams of the Civil Protection Unit.
As of mid-July 2002, about 55 villages were still affected, preventing
return of an estimated 8,000 IDPs. The European Agency for
Reconstruction (EAR) decided to redirect funds to fund two
international nongovernmental organisations (HI and CARE), which
deployed additional UXO clearance teams in August in order to speed up
the activities as much as possible before next winter. Initially
established for a period of six months, it is now confirmed that
assistance from the MAO will be required until the end of 2002, and
appropriate funding has been made available for this purpose by the
international community. Beyond 2002, it is foreseen that the
Macedonian Mine Action Centre will have the capacity to deal with the
residual problem, possibly with a limited technical assistance by the
Partnerships with the key development entities working in Afghanistan
are under continued expansion. This includes the establishment of
mechanisms to work with the significant contributions being provided
by USAID, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank as they
implement key reconstruction tasks. It is anticipated that these will
include road repair and infrastructure recovery, as well as
construction of major pipelines. In mid September, a multiple mine
incident occurred in the vicinity of Bagram airbase, killing four MAPA
deminers and injuring five others. The incident was initiated when a
surveyor was killed by a booby-trapped mine, with the other casualties
occurring when the ambulance evacuating him struck an anti-tank mine.
All survivors received immediate treatment from the U.S. medical
facilities within Bagram.
Mine Action Centre staff is now approaching full strength, with the
arrival of the new Chief of Operations, who had previously held this
role in the UNMEE MACC. Other staff supporting administration, finance
and logistics, information management and quality management have
5 August 2002, the Commissioner for Coordination with the UN
Peace-keeping Mission issued a letter to several international NGOs
providing mine action assistance in Eritrea, directing that they cease
their activities as of 31 August 2002, and hand over their assets and
personnel to the Eritrean Demining Authority. This sudden cessation of
international NGO operations came as a surprise to the mine action
community in Eritrea.
involved UN agencies and some members of the international community
expressed concern to the government regarding this new direction for
the national programme. In particular, concern was raised over the
abrupt cessation of NGO activities and the resultant disruption to
associated transition plans, the future intentions of the national
programme regarding the principles of the International Mine Action
Standards, and the transparency issues relating to the use of donor
Notwithstanding these representations, the government remained firm
regarding the cessation of mine action activities of most of the NGOs
involved. The government direction has effectively resulted in the
suspension of humanitarian mine action activities in the TSZ at least
for the time being. Regrettably, accidents from mines and UXO
international Technical Advisor (TA) arrived in Nairobi on 28 August
and following a number of meeting/briefings then moved up to
Lokichoggio on 1 September. He will ultimately be located in Rumbek
where a permanent office will be established and equipped with IMSMA.
Primary tasks include relationship building with SPLM counterparts and
focusing on information gathering in support of the expected clearance
requirements following a Machakos negotiated ceasefire. The office is
currently going through the set up phase, and will develop working
relationships with SPLM, UN OLS and local community before being in a
position to effectively coordinate mine action activities.
Mine Action Coordination Office in Kadugli (Nuba Mountains) is now
very well established and has formally adopted the operational
coordination role for the area. A number of mine clearance NGOs are
currently preparing for operations and the UN TA is coordinating all
such activity. A basic operational approach, designed to neutralise
the mine/UXO threat in Nuba Mountains, has been developed and it is
believed that if implemented will effectively address and resolve the
problems caused by mine/UXO over a possible two-year time frame. The
concept involves direct intervention to clear and open key routes
throughout the area and to reduce, by technical survey, the larger
mined areas down to their actual dangerous perimeter and then mark and
fence. Longer term, follow-up, clearance may then be achieved by
national assets with heavy responsibility transferred to the national
authority. The three key aspects of this operational plan involve:
task coordination, technical survey assets and extensive use of
Explosive Detection Dog teams and were presented in three separate
project proposals. Funding is currently sought to implement this
decisive plan, which would result in the clearance of the Nuba
Mountains within two years.
suitable building to house a National Mine Action Office (NMAO) has
been secured and is currently being equipped and staffed. The overall
objective behind the establishment of such an office is to ensure that
an effective policy, coordination and tasking structure will be in
place to react to both immediate and longer-term mine action
requirements, particularly in light of the Machakos process.
(LMA-UK) are implementing a project in the Nuba Mountains within the EU-funded SLIRI framework. Two international TAs
are currently in-country, and the intention is to train and equip a
total of 40 mine clearance personnel plus approximately 20-25 marking
personnel. This total would be equally split between GoS and SPLM
civil society. As the programme develops an additional two
international TA would arrive to support the training and initial
deployment. The intention is to train both groups jointly at the same
location but if this were not politically feasible, separate training
facilities would be established.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the government of
Sudan, the Sudan People Liberation Movement and the United Nations on
19 September 2002 in Geneva regarding UN Mine Action Support to Sudan.
Under this agreement, the UN will seek to assist both parties to
jointly develop a National mine action strategy that meets the
immediate needs of the emergency humanitarian situation and plans
ahead to a post-conflict Sudan. Such a strategy will eventually lead
to a mutually agreed National Mine Action Plan. A National Mine Action
Office, supported by the UN and with representation of both parties,
will be established to develop common strategies and prioritize the
humanitarian clearance plan.
Global Partnership Projects Management Exchange Programme
Mine Action Exchange (MAX) programme was initiated in 2002, providing
a mechanism for senior management staff of mine action programmes to
undertake short assignments to other programmes, or if appropriate,
with an international mine action organization. The purpose of the MAX
is to develop and strengthen relationships and networks between
indigenous mine action programmes and to share experiences and lessons
learned. To date, four exchanges have taken place.
Management Training Courses
date, over 100 senior and middle level managers from 20 countries have
attended UNDP-sponsored courses organized by Cranfield University and
its local partner institutions. A senior mine action management course
has recently been completed. A number of middle management courses are
currently being conducted in Pakistan for the Mine Action Programme
for Afghanistan (MAPA). A Middle Managers Course in planned in late
October for the Horn of Africa Region and Azerbaijan. UNDP continues
to seek donor support for these courses.
new Program Manager has arrived in the country. Donor interest is
increasing, although some NGOs are still in need of urgent bridge
funding. UNDP proposals for immediate and long-term response have
previously been discussed.
new Chief Technical Advisor arrived in mid-August, to be supported
shortly by in-kind technical advisors from Switzerland. The first
priority will be to develop a national strategy and mobilize resources
to address priority areas. The mine action strategic plan, which
supports the strategic national development plan, has been developed.
In order to realize the plan, donor support is critical.
programme is in a mature stage with a competent national capacity
developed. As such, UNDP technical assistance is being phased out. A
technical advisor was deployed in July 2002, in what is anticipated as
being the final phase of UNDP capacity building support to the
Croatian Mine Action Programme. Discussions have recently been held
within the government regarding responsibilities for mine action.
new Project Document was signed in July 2002. The project seek to
improve the capacity of the government of Iran to adopt an integrated
approach to mine action and establish a national coordination system,
establish a mine action information system (IMSMA), and develop and
introduce national standards within the framework of IMAS. A Chief
Technical Advisor will be deployed shortly to support these
new CTA will be deployed in November 2002. Serious funding shortfalls
earlier in the year resulted in significant manpower reductions in
both field operations and at the UXO LAO National Office and Training
Centre. The funding situation has since improved and UXO LAO has
received funds from a number of key donors. Pledges of support have
also been received and a number of agreements are currently being
finalised. This should lead to a restoration of the previous
operational capacity, although concerns as to the long-term financial
sustainability of the programme persist.
new CTA was deployed in June 2002. A Landmine Impact Survey is
currently underway in Somalia. UNDP has completed a nine-month EOD
training and supervision project implemented by the UK-based Mines
Advisory Group (MAG). The aim was to provide a Training and
Supervision Team with appropriate technical skills to conduct the
training of existing Police personnel as EOD operatives. Originally
planned to take place in NE Somalia, a deteriorating security
situation caused the project to be undertaken instead in NW Somalia.
Although carried out under difficult circumstances, the project
outcomes were very positive.
UNDP is currently helping the government of Sri Lanka establish a
national structure for mine action. The first meeting of the National
Steering Committee was held in the Prime Minister’s Office in August
2002, and attended by Ministerial Secretaries, Ambassadors of donor
countries, and the UN Resident Coordinator. A central National Mine
Action Authority (NMAA) office has been established in Colombo and two
District mine action offices (DMAOs) are to be centered on Jaffna and
Vavuniya. Limited mine survey, marking, and clearance activities are
being undertaken by RONCO, HALO Trust, and
Mines Advisory Group. Other International NGOs have undertaken
assessment missions with a view to participating in the expanding
national mine action programme.
With significant material assistance from the US government and the
solid backing of key donors, the Yemen Mine Action Programme has
doubled in size since 2000, and the aims of the first Five-Year
Strategy are expected to be achieved ahead of schedule.
Significant improvements are being made in the care of mine survivors
and plans are underway to extend the current programme. A second phase
of the UNDP capacity building support project is due to commence in
January 2003. Key objectives will include expanding humanitarian
demining to all the 14 highly impacted areas; enhancing mine action
quality assurance; and building capacity in IMSMA, logistics planning,
management, and equipment maintenance. The total budget required for
the second phase (2003–2005) is approximately $6.6 million.
This information has been compiled from the recent MASG newsletter.
Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations
Chairman MASG: Mr. Stéphane De Loecker
Secretary MASG: Maj Filip Van Der Linden
Tel: (212) 378-6300
Fax: (212) 681-7618 or 681-7619