A message from the director

A message from the director

By Suzanne Fiederlein, PhD

CISR Journal

This article is brought to you by the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) from issue 27.2 of The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction available on the JMU Scholarly Commons and Issuu.com.

Suzanne FiederleinIt has been a busy time here, with CISR hosting leadership from the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI); a delegation of Ukrainian mine action personnel who met with JMU faculty, CISR staff, and representatives from Washington, D.C.-based mine action organizations as part of the Open World program sponsored by the U.S. Congress; Aleena Inthaly of Legacies of War and former U.S. Ambassador to Laos, Douglas Hartwick, who presented to JMU students on Laos and its deadly unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination; Colin King and Leon Harris of Fenix Insight Ltd, who provided a demonstration of Fenix Insight Online; and Giles Duley, documentary photographer and improvised explosive device (IED) survivor who presented to the JMU community, and whose visit coincided with CISR’s recent discussions on how we can draw attention to global conflict while sharing the stories of those who have experienced trauma respectfully and with dignity. Through our programs and publications, we continually strive to learn from our partners.

With this in mind, we greatly appreciate the information shared by our most recent contributors in this issue of The Journal.

  • Abigail Hartley (United Nations Mine Action Service), Lionel Pechera, and Sasha Logie (Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining) provide a summary of the most recent updates to the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) including the release of one new IMAS on the management of human remains; updates to several IMAS including personal protective equipment, victim assistance, marking of explosive ordnance (EO) hazards, glossary of terms, and information management in mine action. Additionally, one new Test and Evaluation Protocol has been published and one existing Technical Note for Mine Action has been revised.
  • Markus Schindler and Anthony Connell from the Fondation suisse de déminage (FSD) discuss their operations in Ukraine, highlighting FSD’s work to help clear the country’s vital agricultural lands of UXO and the key challenges they have encountered, while also underscoring the link between food security and mine action. 
  • Authors Nils Hegel and Jonathan Walsh (Mine Mark Foundation) introduce their organization and both the challenges and opportunities posed by smaller nongovernmental organizations operating in the mine action sector as well as their innovative digital explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) interactive games and the importance of tailoring EORE to specific audiences, as trialed by Mine Mark in Azerbaijan.
  • In her article on environmental mainstreaming in mine action, Emily Chrystie of The HALO Trust (HALO) encourages the sector to continue to apply the do no harm approach to mitigate the environmental effects of clearance while also encouraging us to move beyond this, understanding the full impact of EO contamination (pre-, during, and post-conflict) to take advantage of the full remit of environmental mainstreaming in mine action.
  • Hayashi Ontoku Akihito of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) discusses JICA’s partnership with the Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) to promote South-South and global cooperation, an effective program that leverages a country’s expertise in mine action and shares it with countries with less experience managing legacy or new contamination. 
  • Katherine James, Pedro Pacheco (HALO), and Gert Riemersma (Routescene) outline their work with an unmanned aerial vehicle mounted light detection and ranging (Lidar) mapping system in detecting and mapping minefields in Cuito Cuanavale, Angola. The authors also discuss the benefits of the data derived from Lidar surveys including a reduction of human bias in data analysis, potential use in training of machine learning, and building a database of country-specific minefield features.
  • Author Nicholas Ross from the Social Policy Group highlights the less discussed issue of land rights in relation to mine action, identifying how the clearance of EO and release of land can lead to land disputes amongst civilians and pinpoints key strategies for mine action stakeholders to mitigate risks, curtailing the potential negative consequences of cleared land while increasing its positive impacts.
  • Adam Harvey’s (VFRAME.io) and Emile LeBrun’s (Tech 4 Tracing) on a computer vision algorithm creation workflow developed to automate the detection of 9N235/9N210 cluster submunition, heavily deployed in the current war in Ukraine. The authors detail computer vision as a promising AI technology that can enhance future mine action.

As the seasons change, so too have there been changes for the editorial team at The Journal and To Walk the Earth in Safety. Steve Costner, former Deputy Director  at the US Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement retired after a career off of thirty-three years. We are forever grateful for his support, expertise, and the time and effort he put into both publications for well over two decades. We, along with so many others, remain deeply appreciative of his commitment to our sector and wish him the very best in his retirement.

In looking ahead, I am eager to see everyone at the upcoming APMBC Intersessionals and the 26th International Meeting of Mine Action National Directors. Mine action is at the forefront of many current global issues, from active conflict in Ukraine, mine action’s impact on the environment and food security, to the use of AI detection technology and the current warnings regarding its potential future use, The Journal is eager to hear from researchers and mine action practitioners and organizations as they actively address these issues through their programs, research, field work, and operations.

Ми на боці України.
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Published: Thursday, June 22, 2023

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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