A Message from the Director

A Message from the Director

CISR Journal

This article is brought to you by the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) from issue 28.2 of The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction available on the JMU Scholarly Commons and Issuu.com.

A woman with short gray hair smiles.As ever, it's been a pleasure for CISR staff to connect with mine action colleagues at the 27th National Directors Meeting in Geneva in early May; the Third International Conference on Mine Action in Azerbaijan in late May, where the focus was on mitigating the environmental impact of landmines; and in June, at the Explosives Ordnance Seminar Europe in Serbia. In this issue of The Journal, we discuss a variety of topics, including how the mine action sector uses words and imagery to share the stories of those we serve, preventing arms diversion in Ukraine, studying the effects of aging on underwater munitions, and localization efforts in mine action, amongst many others. 

  • Our first editorial by Jon Brown (Mines Advisory Group) discusses the power of imagery and language, and the importance of ethical storytelling. “Words matter. The imagery we use matters. When we tell the wrong story (or the right story in the wrong way), it damages us as organizations … as a sector … and causes distant but lasting harm to the very communities we exist to serve … “

  • In his editorial, “What Can Artificial Intelligence Offer to Humanitarian Mine Action?”, Russell Gasser, PhD, argues that the mine action sector must set forth a clear path forward, understanding what AI can and cannot realistically provide to mine action operations while standardizing AI training data and defining success criteria.

  • In her article, “Preventing Arms Diversion in Wartime Ukraine,” Olena Kryzhanivska, PhD, (Forum on the Arms Trade) presents an overview of Ukraine’s and its partners’ counter-diversion efforts, addressing the current challenges of monitoring international military aid in the face of active conflict.

  • Anda Riza and Andro Mathewson (The HALO Trust) evaluate the role of open-source research in mine action, from mapping conflicts and their effects to informing survey and clearance operations in current conflicts, such as in Ukraine and Yemen.

  • Nicole Neitzey (Center for International Stabilization and Recovery) and Colin King (Fenix Insight) present their study analyzing the effects and implications of the underwater environment on munitions, and the importance of removing munitions that may have been buried for decades.

  • Riccardo Labianco, PhD, and Myriam Rabbath (Mines Advisory Group) present their study on the effects of humanitarian mine action on food security, drawing on community interviews in Lebanon with local farmers, consumers, and agricultural workers.

  • Mark Wilkinson, PhD (DanChurchAid), Lisa Mueller-Dormann, Camilla Roberti (Danish Refugee Council), and Lene Rasmussen (DanChurchAid) discuss the principles and challenges of localization in mine action, examining the tenets the authors believe should guide the development and design of future projects.

  • In his latest photo essay, Sean Sutton, traveling with Norwegian People’s Aid, takes us to Lucala-2 in Angola, where he met with local citizens who portrayed the impact landmine contamination has had on their community since the Angolan Civil War ended in 2002.

We hope you find this issue of The Journal as insightful as we have. While recognizing the significant challenges the mine action community faces—such as explosives contamination, tech innovation, environmental concerns, as well as how we ethically share the stories of those we exist to serve—the authors in this issue offer paths forward, representing the dedication and service our community contributes on a daily basis to make this earth a safer place.



Suzanne Fiederlein



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by Suzanne Fiederlein, PhD

Published: Monday, July 1, 2024

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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