A note from the interim director of CISR
CISR Journal

A note from the interim director of CISR

Suzanne Fiederlein, PhD


This article is brought to you by the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) from issue 26.1 of The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction available on the JMU Scholarly Commons and Issuu.com.

Since our last publication, we at CISR have had the opportunity to meet with our colleagues again, attending the Mine Action Symposium in Croatia, Explosive Ordnance Seminar in Montenegro, and the APMBC Intersessional, National Directors Meeting, and the MSP for the CCM, all held in Geneva, amongst other domestic and international conferences. It has been wonderful to reconnect with our colleagues, discussing programs and planning ahead for the many hurdles presently facing the mine action community.

In this issue of The Journal, you will find a number of articles focused on Ukraine, including Sean Sutton’s poignant photo essay reflecting on the people he met and the devastation he encountered while working in the country in April 2022. Additional topics discussed include capacity building in Syria; historical perspectives on mine action; the use of open-source research to identify explosive hazards in conflict areas; gender and diversity initiatives in mine action; and the corresponding relationship between mine action, the environment, and sustainable agricultural development. 

Use of Open-Source Information: 

  • Hampton Stall, Evan Leendertse, Han Prasad, Chris McNabe, Rana Shabb (The Carter Center), Jennifer Hudson (University of Central Florida), and Jonathan Robinson (Brown University Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies) discuss their new open-source weighted estimate approach to capture unexploded ordnance (UXO) concentration in Syria.
  • Andro Mathewson from The HALO Trust describes how they have harnessed open-source research to better plan for and conduct survey, clearance operations, and explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) across Ukraine. 

Environment and the Triple Nexus: 

  • Katarina Balić (Swiss Foundation for Mine Action) discusses the link between mine action and sustainable development goals through their “Clear then Grow” program linking mine action and agricultural recovery in Northeast Syria.
  • Linsey Cottrell, Eoghan Darbyshire (Conflict and Environment Observatory), and Kristin Holme Obrestad (Norwegian People’s Aid) warn readers of the heavy environmental toll explosive weapons are taking on civilian and industrial infrastructure in Ukraine. 

Historical Perspectives of Mine Action: 

  • Professor of Political Science at James Madison University, Ken Rutherford, presents his findings on remaining UXO and explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination resulting from fighting between Japanese and Allied forces in the Aleutian Islands during World War II. 
  • Roly Evans from the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) provides a historical perspective on the contribution of mine detection dogs over the past eight decades by looking at where they add significatvalue while also understanding their limitations. 

Digital EORE: Robin Taol (MAG, Mines Advisory Group) discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic and recent conflicts have required organizations to adapt their EORE to a digital means of delivery to access hard-to-reach individuals and communities affected by explosive ordnance.

Gender and Diversity in Mine Action: Raphaela Lark, David Hewitson (Fenix Insight Ltd), and Domonic Wolsey (GICHD) present results from their study of gender and operational efficiency in field-based mine action roles, addressing the stereotypes and assumptions that may still exist regarding women’s performance and availability to work. 

Free From Explosives (FFE): In his article about making explosive items FFE/INERT for training and demonstration purposes, Roly Evans (GICHD) discusses the issues encountered when assessing or making items FFE, and argues that there needs to be consistent procedures and processes employed by the mine action sector when making explosive items FFE.

Physical Security and Stockpile Management: Lee Moroney (Golden West Humanitarian Foundation) and Mark Veneris (US European Command) discuss the evolution of physical security and stockpile management, analyzing how methods have changed from “first-aid fixes” to more holistic, capacity-building approaches. 

We sincerely appreciate our contributors’ time in writing and willingness to share their research and program work, as well as the successes and challenges they have encountered in their operations over the past year. As we look ahead to our 27th edition of The Journal, we encourage the community to continue to share their reflections, experiences, and lessons learned—perhaps even more important than ever as the sector looks toward conducting operations in Ukraine, the South Caucasus, and Syria. With this in mind, please review our new calls for papers, highlighting the interconnectivity of the mine action sector and evolving global events, environmental concerns, and reflection of societal changes through diversity and inclusion initiatives.


Suzanne Fiederlein

Suzanne Fiederlein, PhD 


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Published: Monday, October 10, 2022

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2023

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