The Mine Action Support Group (MASG) Newsletter -- Third Quarter of 2007
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
October 31, 2007
Inside this newsletter:
1. Update from UNMAS:
I. POLICY COORDINATION
Meetings of the IACG-MA and its Sub-Groups
UNMAS continued to chair the IACG-MA at the working level on a monthly basis. Key policy issues discussed were the drafting of the Secretary-General's Report on Assistance in Mine Action and preparations for the IACG-MA Principals Meeting scheduled for September focusing on the issue of cluster munitions. UNMAS also organized and convened the Steering Committee on Gender and Mine Action to finalize preparations for the second annual Gender Workshop held in Nairobi in September (see below).
The IACG-MA Principals met on 17 September 2007 under the chairmanship of the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and adopted a position on cluster munitions which encapsulates and highlights prior statements made by the Secretary-General. The IACG-MA Principals agreed to the following position:
"1. Calls on Member States to address immediately the horrendous humanitarian, human rights and development effects of cluster munitions by concluding a legally binding instrument of international humanitarian law that:
- prohibits the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians;
- requires the destruction of current stockpiles of those munitions; and
- provides for clearance, risk education and other risk mitigation activities, victim assistance, assistance and cooperation, and compliance and transparency measures.
2. Until such a treaty is adopted, the UN calls on Member States to take domestic measures to immediately freeze the use and transfer of all cluster munitions."
General Assembly consideration of Assistance in Mine Action in the Fourth Committee
The Secretary-General's Report on Assistance in Mine Action was published on 24 August 2007. The Report notes achievements and challenges facing the sector, recounts progress made towards the achievement of each of the four strategic objectives outlined in the current five-year inter-agency mine action Strategy, and offers a 14-point forward agenda to guide future UN engagement in mine action. The Fourth Committee is expected to discuss the Report under the agenda item of 'Assistance in Mine Action' during 6 and 7 November 2007. It is hoped that Member States will welcome the Secretary-General's report and adopt a supportive resolution on Assistance in Mine Action.
Preparations for the Eleventh Meeting of National Directors and UN Advisers
Next year will mark the Eleventh Meeting of National Directors and UN Advisers. This annual meeting brings all mine action stakeholders together to meet and assess progress and challenges of the sector. Stakeholders include national mine action directors, UN advisers, international implementing partners (both NGOs and commercial companies), and technical experts from donor governments. The Eleventh Meeting will be the first one to be held in a mine-affected region and to highlight mature mine action programmes with national support. The Meeting is being planned for April 2008 and will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia and ?ibenik, Croatia.
For the Eleventh Meeting, the UN Mine Action Team has extended its partnership in the planning process to the Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC) and the International Trust Fund (ITF) for Demining and Mine Victim Assistance of Slovenia. Accordingly, UNMAS has contacted the Permanent Missions of Croatia and Slovenia in July 2007 regarding support for the Eleventh Meeting of Mine Action National Directors and UN Advisers. The Permanent Missions welcomed the initiative. Follow-up by UNMAS is ongoing.
Further updates will be provided as they become available. In the meantime, stakeholders are being asked to 'save the dates' of 12 to 20 April 2008.
International Legal Frameworks and Treaty Implementation
UNMAS coordinated UN input to the draft Dead Sea Progress Report which will form the basis of deliberations at the Eighth Meeting of States Parties of the APMBC.
The UNMAS Geneva Liaison Officer represented UNMAS at the Costa Rica Regional Conference on Cluster Munitions(San Jose3-5 September 2007) as well as in an informal update of the Oslo process on cluster munitions convened by Norway in Oslo on 19 September 2007.
The Head of the Programme Management Section and the Geneva Liaison Officer represented UNMAS at the Oslo Conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the APMBC on 18 September 2007.
UNMAS submitted to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Secretariat an electronic template for the recording and maintaining of information on explosive ordnance used or abandoned during conflicts in support of the implementation of Article 4 of Protocol V on ERW.
Advancing Gender Equality in Mine Action Programmes
UNMAS convened the second Gender Equality in Mine Action Workshop at the Peace Support Training Centre in Nairobi, Kenya from 25 to 27 September 2007, funded by the Government of Denmark. Over 50 participants attended from mine action programmes in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Lao, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Somalia, and Sudan. Mine action practitioners from Jordan and Lebanon, as well as from mine action NGOs, joined UNMAT members and donor representatives to assist these programmes to develop actions plans which mainstream gender into their planned activities. The High Commissioner for Canada in Nairobi, H.E. Mr. Ross Hynes, hosted a reception for the Workshop.
Integration of Mine Action into Cross-Cutting Issues
UNMAS contributed to the following UN Reports:
- the Secretary-General's Report to the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians, coordinated by OCHA, which contains a section dedicated to the issue of cluster munitions;
- the Secretary-General's Report to the Security Council on Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, coordinated by OSAGI;
- the Secretary-General's Report to the Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), coordinated by the Office of the SRSG for CAAC; and
- the Machel Strategic Review Report to the General Assembly on CAAC, coordinated by SRSG/CAAC and UNICEF.
II. RESOURCE MOBILISATION
Portfolio of Mine Action Projects
The Mid-Year Review of the 2007 Portfolio of Mine Action Projectswas presented to the donor community and posted on EMINE (www.mineaction.org). Fifty-four per cent of the total appeal of US$440 million had been received by the end of June 2007. While some programmes suffered critical funding gaps (Tajikistan, Colombia and Occupied Palestinian Territories), UNMAS-managed programmes were generally well-supported by donors.
The production of the 2008 Portfolio of Mine Action Projectsproceeded at full pace, with some 33 countries making submissions via the new web-based system. The eleventh edition of the Portfolio will feature new countries such as Cyprus, Egypt and Senegal, and will be launched on 20 November 2007, both in New York and during the course of the Eighth Meeting of States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) to be held in Jordan from 18-22 November 2007.
Contributions to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action:
Third Quarter: July - September 2007
HQ Coordination (2007)
TOTAL = $26,354,066.05
*Not recorded in second quarter due to receipt of CRV after preparation of newsletter submission.
Confirmed Pledges to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action:
Third Quarter: July - September 2007
Amount donor currency
HQ Coordination (2008)
CDN 1,800,000 .00
III. TECHNOLOGY AND STANDARDS
The UNMAS Technology Coordinator has been heavily involved with the Centre for European Standards on the development of new standards for testing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the follow-on processes after machines, and the effect of soils on metal detector performance. UNMAS also initiated blast testing of a new face mask design and testing of heat treatment on old visors to remove scratches. These will be carried out by SWEDEC and Canada, respectively.
The Technology Coordinator represented UNMAS at two international meetings on technology research and development - United States Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining Requirements Workshop and the Gordon Research Conference on Detecting Illicit Substances - Drugs and Explosives - as well as provided advice to the International Test and Evaluation Programme (ITEP) Executive Committee meeting on how to manage the cancellation of planned tests of dual sensor detectors in October.
Work on International Mine Action Standards has resulted in two new standards - on drafting of mine action contracts and on mechanical demining -endorsed by the IACG-MA Principals on 17 September 2007 and subsequently published. Four additional standards are nearing completion.
IV. DEVELOPMENTS IN UNMAS-MANAGED PROGRAMMES
The Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan continued to conduct tasks in support of the humanitarian and development objectives throughout the country despite a range of serious security incidents occurring over the reporting period. These included raids by anti-government elements on NGO implementing partner compounds in Kandahar in late June and early July, the abduction and later release of 19 NGO personnel in Ghazni in late June, the abduction and killing of three NGO personnel in the Panjwayi Valley area of Kandahar in August, and three ambushes on a single NGO convoy moving from Kandahar to Kabul in September, resulting in the abduction of a further two staff. In addition to the continued holding of the two NGO personnel from this last incident, over US$500,000 of equipment has been stolen or destroyed in these incidents over the last three months, seriously debilitating continued operations in these locations. As a result, the Programme has relocated the bulk of assets from the Southern area to more secure locations in the Central and Western areas, while overall security procedures have been increased nationwide.
Meanwhile, on-going consultations among UNMAS, the UN Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (UNMACA) and the Government of Afghanistan seek to identify optimal approaches for eventual transition of responsibility for mine action from the United Nations to the Government. Additional discussions on the planning and support of this process were also held between UNMAS and senior UN officials in Afghanistan from UNAMA and UNDP, as well as representatives from the donor community in order to ensure an integrated approach. It is anticipated that a Mine Action Symposium will be held for all key partners in mid-December 2007 in order to arrive at an agreed framework for future action.
The donor community has reaffirmed its confidence in the programme, with significant increases in funding beginning in 2008. Current pledges from the Government of Japan are for $15.5 million for 2008-9 and from the Canadian International Development Agency for US$80 million over 2008-2011 as well as anticipated secondary payments of existing agreements from the European Commission of approximately US$13 million. This will greatly support the sustainability of the programme in the medium term which is a critical element of any transitional process.
Efforts by the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC) to persuade the newly-established government of the need to facilitate the establishment of a national mine action structure continued. The visit of the UNMAS Director in early October will be an opportunity for further discussions with government officials. Meanwhile operational mine action activities continue apace under the coordination of the UNMACC.
The new Programme Manager for the UNMEE Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC) for the Temporary Security Zone in Ethiopia and Eritrea assumed duties in Asmara. The end of the wet season has allowed for increased mine action activity, which was temporarily slowed due to access difficulties over the last few months. Mine action activities continued to feature as a critical component of the mission's success, reflecting the high degree of positive engagement with local communities and security forces. UNMACC hosted the mission's World Peace Day activities in September with a capability demonstration and mine risk education activities.
One year after the July/August 2006 war, new cluster munitions strike locations continue to be discovered in south Lebanon (15 additional sites since last Newsletter). By end of September 2007, their combined geographical locations added up to an estimated contaminated area of 37.9 million square metres. This area is likely to continue to increase. Israel has yet to provide Lebanon with the exact strike data on the type, location and quantity of cluster munitions dropped during the 2006 conflict. Without this information, detailed parameters of the size and scope of the problem remain elusive and operational planning is constantly being adjusted to meet the newly found reality on the ground.
From the time of the cessation of hostilities until end of September 2007, the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre South Lebanon (UNMACC SL) coordinated the clearance of 40% of the surface and 20% of the sub-surface. While 130,251 unexploded sub-munitions (CBUs) have been already destroyed, 32% of south Lebanon remains contaminated and claims new victims regularly. Since the ceasefire, a total of 208 civilians have been killed or injured by cluster munitions. In the meantime, since the beginning of clearance operations in south Lebanon, several demining incidents have killed 12 deminers and injured 32 others.
Based on the 8 May 2007 request from the Director of the Lebanon Mine Action Center (LMAC) for UNMACC to extend its presence to end of 2008, throughout this period the UNMACC and LMAC developed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining their respective roles and responsibilities. The MOU negotiations have concluded, and it includes a commitment by UNMACC and LMAC to the transition process whereby LMAC will assume full responsibility for management of mine action activities in south Lebanon after 2008. In support of the transition process, UNMACC also nominated the LMAC Representative at the MACC SL to participate in the James Madison University Senior Manager's Course organized by UNDP for five weeks in October-November, 2007. This Course is an excellent opportunity for the LMAC to gain additional management experience in light of their upcoming responsibilities for 2008.
By the start of the rainy season, UN mine action teams coordinated under the UN Mine Action Office (UNMAO) of UNMIS had made considerable progress and cleared 1,032 of the 2,366 dangerous areas identified to date and opened 21,133 kilometres of roads. With the onset of the rains, however, the focus turned to the recruitment and training of deminers and prioritization of routes and areas to be cleared in the dry season in collaboration with UN agencies, State Governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UNMIS and AU/UN mission in Darfur. During the reporting period, the in-country training and accreditation of the incoming demining teams of the five UNMIS military demining contingents following their annual rotations was completed, with all new teams now operational. UNMIS and UNICEF provided targeted mine risk education to 166,992 people living in or intending to return to mine-affected areas, while landmine safety briefings were conducted for 804 United Nations and NGO personnel.
On 13 August, the first National Strategic Framework for Victim Assistance was approved by the Government, establishing guidelines for the implementation of programmes and activities to support mine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) survivors and their families for the next five years. Also in August, the second National Victim Assistance Workshop, organized in collaboration with the National Mine Action Centre (NMAC) and South Sudan Demining Commission (SSDC), was held in Khartoum where, for the first time, a large number of people from both north and south Sudan living with disabilities and/or survivors of mine and ERW attended.
During the reporting period, the SSDC opened an office in Wau, while the NMAC completed preparations for the establishment of regional offices in Kadugli and Damazine, ready to open as soon as the rainy season ends. Preparatory operations also began for the first national NGO to be funded by the United Nations to carry out demining activities, while the UN supported and implemented three national capacity-development courses, specifically designed to build the capacity of national mine-action staff in the management of mine-action programmes and so ensure a sustainable indigenous national mine-action capacity.
Under the Security Council Resolution 1769 of July 2007, UNAMID is to provide technical mine action advice and coordination, and operational demining capacity to support the Darfur Peace Agreement. To support UNAMID, the mine action component deployed to Darfur since 2004 will increase its current international staff by two for a total of eight and be supported by 22 national staff. New offices will be opened in Nyala and El Geinina, in addition to the existing office in El Fasher. As the major threat in Darfur is not landmines but ERW, the main focus will be emergency route verification to support the deployment of UNAMID and movement of IDPs and returnees; survey, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), and Battle Area Clearance (BAC); and appropriate mine risk education for affected communities.
The monitoring of the safe storage of Maoist improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Nepal and assistance in their subsequent destruction overseen by the UN Mine Action Unit (UNMAU) within the UN Mission in Nepal has been progressing through the sub-contracted services of a specialised commercial company, ArmorGroup. Full implementation of the project has been hindered by recent political developments, including the resignation of Maoist ministers from the Eight-Party Alliance Government on 18 September 2007, and minimal cooperation from Maoist Commanders. Despite these setbacks, demolitions of IEDs have occurred at three of the seven Maoist cantonment sites, and it is expected that the project will be completed, albeit with some delay. ArmorGroup has also been contracted to conduct demining training for the Nepal Army. Thirty-two army personnel have been trained and certified as deminers, and are currently conducting supervised demining of a live minefield as the final part of the training programme.
An official request for UN assistance to mine action was submitted by the Government of Nepal to the UNMIN SRSG in September, and, as a result, UNMAS is in the process of coordinating a UN inter-agency assessment mission for November 2007. Also, the UNMAU is in the process of initiating a new project to verify all Nepal Army minefields and anti-personnel mine stockpiles, as well as to seek information about IED contamination.
Western Sahara (MINURSO)
Landmine and ERW survey and clearance activities continue in Western Sahara (MINURSO). Recruitment is now completed for a newly created position of Senior Mine Action Adviser and the selected candidate is in the process of deploying.
UNMAS prepared for the deployment of a mine action component as part of the newly established mission for Chad/CAR (MINURCAT) to deal with ERW and possible landmine contamination in the border areas of eastern Chad. Routes to be used by MINURCAT, the UN and humanitarian agencies will need to be assessed and verified as safe for traffic. The principal challenge relates to ERW contamination although there is a potential for newly-laid landmines directed at specific targets.
Following a recommendation from an interagency assessment mission to Somalia in June 2007 organised and led by UNDP/UNMAS, a programme officer has been recruited by UNMAS to work on mine action within the UNDP Rule of Law and Security Programme for Somalia, based in Nairobi. This office is responsible for existing mine action programmes supported by UNDP in the Somaliland and Puntland regions of Somalia. The Terms of Reference of the Programme Officer include preliminary planning for potential mine action activities in South Central Somalia, fundraising, and liaison with African Union planning staff in Addis Ababa.
Other Operational Support
UNMAS aims to develop the Landmine and ERW Safety Training DVD in multiple languages and in web-compatible form as part of an effort to make the product more accessible to users.
Feedback from agencies attending the Rapid Response Plan exercise conducted in June 2007 with Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) has been universally positive. Planning for the 2008 exercise is underway with the aim of widening the participation of UN agencies and NGOs.
UNMAS participated in the Integrated Mission Planning Process consultations within the UN Secretariat from 27 to 29 August 2007, and a number of staff are now included in the Community of Practice process. This activity is seen as critical to ensuring the full integration of mine action issues into the initial situation assessments, development of mission plans and implementation.
2. Update from UNDP
The following is a summary of key achievements, challenges, objectives and funding issues for UNDP-supported country programmes, presented by region:
- UNDP contracted the French NGO Handicap International to conduct a mine risk education needs assessment. This study will enable the mine action programme to identify the most at-risk population, and to measure the level of awareness of the population and their behaviours in situations of risk. In addition, the study will identify the existing awareness means and the actors involved in sensitizing in order to better target the action. A presentation of the results will take place beginning of November.
- An invitation to tender for a socio-economic study was launched and an operator selected.
- The UNDP-supported Iraqi Humanitarian Mine Action NGO based in Basra, registered as Rafidain Demining Organization (RDO), received its first partner agreement with UNDP from 1 October 2007 for a project funded through the International Reconstruction Funding Facility for Iraq (IRFFI) as well as through AUSAID. The contract period is 18 months. In order to overcome local political and other difficulties, UNDP is utilizing a small component of DDG as an oversight body for the execution of this project and further support to RDO. This is a new modality as it is not possible for UNDP staff to physically visit the work sites.
- The Republic of Iraq acceded to the Ant-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty (APMBT) on 15 August 2007, becoming the 155th State Party. The Treaty will enter into force on 1 February 2008. Iraq's initial transparency report required under Article 7 is due no later than July 2008. Iraq's treaty-mandated deadline for the destruction of all stockpiled anti-personnel mines is 1 February 2012, and its deadline for destruction of all anti-personnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control is 1 February 2018.
- The Government took the decision to transfer the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) from the Ministry of Planning and Development Cooperation to the Ministry of Environment. The handover process has commenced and should be completed within one month.
- The UNDP Mine Action Advisor and the Mine Action E-governance Advisor provided Information Management Training to the Ministry of Planning, KRG, and several mine action organizations from 23 June to 5 July 2007. The purpose of the training was to provide the students with an in-depth understanding of the manual processes involved in operational resource planning in mine action and to enable them to accelerate the planning process through the use of decision support systems. As a courtesy measure, a representative from the Jordan NCDR was invited to attend the training.
- A successful Mine Action Exchange Programme (MAX) for NMAA and RMAC South staff in the Kurdistan Region took place from 9 to 21 September 2007. The MAX Programme involved 15 members for a period of two weeks. This event was made possible through a project funded by the Government of Japan.
- A two-year UN joint project between UNDP and WHO on victim assistance in northern Iraq, funded by the Government of Japan, was launched during September 2007 in Erbil. For the execution of the project, mainly national NGO partners are being used. The project will also revitalize the Victim Assistance capacity that was developed under the UNOPS Mine Action Programme as part of the Oil for Food Programme that was closed in 2005 due to lack of funding.
- UNDP, UNICEF and WHO will launch a joint Mine Victims Surveillance pilot project early in November 2007. The project is jointly funded by the three agencies and the purpose of the project is to lay the foundation for a full fledged Victim Surveillance system for Iraq.
- NPA: The Wadi Araba project in the southern third of the country is well ahead of schedule, with clearance activities to conclude in October. The NCDR sampling teams have been working alongside NPA and it is expected the verification process will be completed by early 2008. This will mean that NPA/NCDR will have returned over 7 million square metres of SHA in two years. Some of the land is in the most intensive building/development areas in the country, with over US$1 billion in investments going into areas where there were once minefields.
- REC Jordan Valley: Through a grant from the EC, the Royal Engineers are completing the final tasks in the northern Jordan Valley. The estimated completion is early 2008.
- NPA/NCDR Northern Border: Clearance along the last major remaining minefield running over 100 km along the northern border is set to commence on 20 October. The total cost of the project is US$11 million and will be supported by Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, and the EC.
- Landmine Retrofit Survey (LRS): The LRS came to a close in October and has contributed invaluable technical information on the northern border minefield, which has both anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, as well as fragmentation mines.
- NATO Project: The LRS team has been retained to do a survey of UXOs in Jordan which have become a serious problem since the fighting in Iraq in 2004. Scrap metal dealers have endured a very high rate of accidents since this time. The survey will be funded via NATO.
- With technical assistance from UNICEF and funding from the U.S., a targeted MRE programme is now running in the border area of Mafraq. This is a very positive step as there has never been a sustained MRE programme in Jordan until this time. The Jordan Red Crescent is helping to implement the project.
- A technical assistance project to train Jordan medical professionals in orthopedics and physiotherapy was signed by CIDA and will commence in early 2008.
- Preparations in advance of the Eighth Meeting of States Parties (8MSP) are going to plan, ranging from logistics to substantive issues.
- Finish Jordan Valley by January 2008.
- Finish Wadi Araba November 2007.
- Successfully support the 8MSP, including bringing in more representation from the region.
- Northern Border Project: The complexity of the border and the fact that a replacement fence will need to be built in tandem with the actual demining will alter the project both from a management and a technical perspective.
- UXOs: UXOs are causing more injuries than mines and it is critical that a programme is developed to find and remove them.
- More than 126,000 cluster munitions' bomblets have been cleared since the cessation of hostilities in August 2006. To date, 50% of the clearance has been achieved through national assets and the remainder through UNMAS or bilateral agreements. In addition, the UAE is providing the funding necessary to clear by the end of 2007 the remaining Israeli landmines in southern Lebanon left after the 2000 withdrawal of Israeli forces.
- The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) has taken full responsibility for the clearance of the Nahr Bared Camp in northern Lebanon. The LAF Engineer Regiment will now clear the areas known as the 'Old Camp,' an area previously scheduled to be cleared by MAG, as well as the previously agreed 'New Camp.' The Lebanon Mine Action Centre (LMAC) will coordinate all clearance activities once the area is no longer classified as a military zone by the Lebanese Armed Forces.
- Through MRE and clearance, postwar mine victims were reduced by over 15-fold over six months. It is estimated that the initial MRE multi-media campaign after the conflict, conducted with support of the National Steering Committee for MRE and UNICEF, reached over one million people. LMAC will coordinate MRE for the Nahr Bared crisis.
- The Lebanese Mine Action Authority has decided to take full national ownership of mine action management in Lebanon by the end of 2008, a change from the previous date of the end of 2007; this will include an independent quality management system and national operations centre for mine clearance.
- A Long Term Plan (2008-2012) issued to reflect the 2006 conflict and clearance scheduled for 2007 is being revised to include the extension of cluster munitions clearances in southern Lebanon in 2008. The 2008 period will continue the focus southern Lebanon and the 2009-2010 period will focus on LIS high- and medium -mpacted communities in central and northern Lebanon that have been neglected since 2006.
- Clearance of all areas affected by the 2006 conflict by December 2008.
- Development of a fully national-executed programme with a focus on management capability and planning and including a phased exit strategy for UN and other technical assistance by third quarter of 2008.
- Mine action in Mount Lebanon and northern Lebanon has been placed on hold while national assets have been diverted to undertake clearances in southern Lebanon and the Nahr Bared camp.
- Development of a transition between a national/UNMAS programme and a fully national programme by the end of 2008.
- The LAF has been placed on increased operational stress due to the security situation in Lebanon and the 2007 crisis in northern Lebanon.
- Funding for mine clearance outside of southern Lebanon remains low.
- Funding for mine victims assistance projects remains critically low.
- The National Humanitarian Demining Programme for Development (PNDHD) was transferred to the Ministry of Decentralization and Territorial Management effective 21 August 2007, providing greater visibility and transparency to mine action activities. The PNDHD Steering Committee met on 5 September to present the 2007 work plan and approve a national budget for the rest of the year (US$ 100,000).
- A national mine action strategy has been developed, based on LIS results, to achieve Ottawa Treaty obligations by January 2011.
- A Japanese delegation (Japan Mine Action Service) visited Mauritania in September to access the feasibility of conducting demining operations in 2008. A draft proposal for technical survey and demining activities was submitted.
- Funding from the U.S. Department of Defense enabled the design and production of MRE material - to be distributed in November 2007.
- Funding from the Government of France (US$ 200,000) and the Government of Mauritania (US$ 38,800) was secured on 21 September to enable the continuation of mine action activities.
- A delegation from NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency met the Coordinator of PNDHD to explore potential mine action projects of mutual interest
- The national legislation was revised and will be submitted to the government for approval.
- The UN Certification Committee certified Mauritania's Landmine Impact Survey.
- A Mauritanian delegation was sent to Jordan under the MAX Programme to investigate raking techniques and examine mechanical assistance.
- Implement mine action activities funded for 2007.
- Conduct workshop for national strategy.
- Address funding shortfalls outlined in national strategy.
- The National Demining Institute (IND), after conducting the final quality assurance of the HALO Trust's Mine Impact Free Districts (MIFD) programme, has submitted a reportto the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for review and comments. The MOFA's comment on this report soon will be sent directly to Halo Trust. The MIFD was conducted over the last three years and included visiting every community in the four Northern provinces - 51% of the country's total land mass.
- A 'Preliminary Report' on the extensive Baseline Assessment - commissioned to Halo Trust in the remaining six provinces of Mozambique and begun during the first quarter of 2007 -- has been submitted to the IND for review and comment. The final report will be presented in mid-October 2007. The outcome of the survey, among other elements, will clearly highlight the effort required, in both time and resources, for Mozambique to meet obligations under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty.
- The release of the final version of the National Mine Action Plan (NMAP (2007-2010)) has been postponed following a joint decision with the donor community until the results of the aforementioned joint survey is made available.
- A National Workshop (with some international participants) on 'Mine Action in Mozambique and the Way Forward' will be held in Maputo from 24-25 October. This is being co-organized by the Government of Mozambique and the Government of Norway. Among other issues, the outcome of the above-mentioned 'Baseline Assessment' will be presented and discussed during the workshop.
- Three IND staff attended the GICHD-sponsored IMSMA Verson-4 training in Benin during September and the programme will explore transferring the new data from the Baseline Assessment in Version-4 beginning in November 2007.
- National Mine Action Standards (NMAS) will be ready for approval by the National Mine Action Steering Committee (NMASC) in November 2007.
- The Comprehensive Victim Assistance Planning Conference (first in an African country) was successfully completed.
- The Strategic Plan for Victim Assistance was completed. This Plan will be presented during the upcoming Eighth Meeting of States Parties meeting in November 2007 by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
- Second field test on victim assistance indicators was completed.
- Technical survey/EOD/clearance operations were completed in 36 hazardous areas.
- A Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the Office of the Prime Minister and Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Demining for a multi-year support of the Uganda Mine Action Programme.
- A Memorandum of Understanding for demining support was signed between the Office of the Prime Minister and Danish Demining Group (DDG) utilizing DANIDA funds. DDG demining experts were fielded.
- Four additional multi-purpose demining teams to be deployed (splitting existing teams)
- Mine Risk Education (MRE), paramedic, team leader, quality assurance/quality control, post clearance survey training to be conducted.
- Project Document for national execution of the mine action programme by OPM and UNDP to be signed.
- Landmine Survivor Surveillance Network database to be field tested.
- Approval/Adoption of NMAS by the NMASC.
- SOPs to be revised in line with the National Mine Action Standards.
- Targeted needs assessment in Acholi sub-region to be completed.
- Preparations for the deployment of a mine detection dog component in cooperation with Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) to be completed.
- National NGO to be contracted to conduct MRE activities.
- The return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) is proceeding and there is an ongoing urgent need for mine action operations as a pre-requisite to respond to a safe and protected return process.
- There is a risk of segregation in northern Uganda affecting landmine survivors with disabilities.
- Non-extension of the Victim Assistance Advisor's contract, although extension till end of 2008 was highly recommended by Government, BCPR missions and external mine action evaluators and related funds were pledged by the Government of Norway.
Funding shortfall for 2007:
- All required funds are for planned urgent victim assistance activities as:
- Affirmative Actions (US$ 300,000)
- Referral and Access to Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy for LMS (US$ 450,000)
- Sustainable Livelihoods for landmine survivors in areas of return (US$ 730,000)
- Danish Church Aid (DCA) continued working with six local demining teams on clearance activities with funding from the U.S. Department of State through the International Trust Fund (ITF). At the end of September about 300,000 square metres were released.
- On 18 July, the Deputy Minister of Defense and the UNDP DRR signed the renewed Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Defence and the UNDP for bilateral cooperation on the implementation of the Albanian Mine Action Programme.
- On 20 July, the Steering Committee Meeting of the EC-funded projects in mine action was held at the Ministry of Defence. General consensus was expressed about the results of the projects and negotiations were held for further funding from the EC.
- On 25 July, the fourth Coordination Workshop for the Portfolio of Mine Action Projects was held at AMAE office in Tirana. An updated National Strategy was discussed and 12 submissions were presented (one for Clearance, three in MRE, six in Victim Assistance and two in Multiple) totaling a value of some US$ 3 million.
- On 31 July, a one-day workshop on "Internal Quality Management Methods and Procedures" in the frame of National Mine Action Standards (NMAS) has been organized in Kukes by the UNDP Technical Advisor (Swiss in-kind contribution) with participation of KFOR Representatives and AMAE key staff.
- On 18 September, the new EC Delegate in Albania paid a visit, along with the UN Resident Coordinator and Project Officers from EC and UNDP, to the Mine Action Programme field activities in North East Albania. The EC mission found the developments of the Albanian Mine Action Plan to be very successful and confirmed its commitment for further support.
- A second mission from the GICHD IMSMA Department will take place from 2 to 8 October for the installation of the new version of IMSMA and relevant practical training to the AMAE Operations staff.
- On 2-4 October, an Albanian Delegation will be attending the Conference on Cluster Ammunitions in Belgrade.
- From October 15 until November 15, the AMAE MRE and VA Officer will be attending Senior Management Training at the James Madison University.
- On 16 October, the fourth N1KD will be held with U.S. Embassy support to assist the socio-economic reintegration of youth mine survivors in attending the post-secondary studies.
- Maintain zero accidents in nort-east Albania.
- Consolidate the clearance capacity.
- Approval of National Mine Action Standards by the AMAC.
- Construction of the National Ortho-Prosthestic Center in Tirana, with an amount of $ 250,000 provided by the Albanian Government.
- Releasing about 700,000 square meters land to the comunitty of north-east Albania by the end of 2007
- Implementation of the Completion Plan for Mine Action 2008-2010, securing full funding particularly for the clearance component and the coordination and monitoring activities of the AMAE.
- Integrate MRE into extracurricula activities in school.
Funding Update 2007
Coordination & Monitoring
Donors supporting the programme this year include the European Commission and UNDP BCPR through UNDP, U.S. State Department through the ITF, UNICEF, and ICRC.
- National Standards: The National Standards were completed in draft in the first quarter and were translated into Lao during the second/third quarter of 2007. They were disseminated in English but the Lao documents are yet to be completed. They will be sent to the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) board during the fourth quarter. A full review of the National Standards will be organized in November 2007.
- Accreditation: Chapter 2 of National Standards addresses accreditation of operators. Two commercial clearance organisations completed the accreditation process successfully in the third quarter and one NGO submitted the paperwork in application for accreditation.
- Risk Management and Mitigation Study: UNDP commissioned a risk management study in 2006 through GICHD. The main objective of the study was to design and specify a new approach in addressing UXO contamination problems in Lao PDR that would be based on risk management and help target resources more productively. The study recommended two management models, one for a national and strategic role - top down; and the other for community level - bottom up. The study's premise envisaged that the sector would move towards a risk-oriented approach to land clearance, in place of the historical hazard-driven approach, by using these models to assist planning. A field trial of the system was carried out during the second and third quarters, revisions were made based on lessons learned and a new model will be received in Laos during the fourth quarter.
- Prioritisation: Although no national guidelines have yet been issued on prioritisation an assessment of summary progress by all clearance organizations operating in Laos showed the average density of UXO cleared per hectare almost doubled in 2007. There were 6.7 explosive items found and destroyed per hectare cleared in 2006 while through the second quarter of 2007 the statistics have improved to 12.3 items per hectare. The assessment was relatively crude but the statistics speak for themselves.
- Casualty Information: The NRA has been working towards the establishment of a data collection system for both historical and continuing accidents/victims. Agreement was reached with the National Dermatology Centre of the Ministry of Health to use its data gathering network as it was the most comprehensive, and the system was satisfactorily trialed in July. However, the Ministry of Health has since determined that another of its departments should undertake the data collection exercise and negotiations continue to try and ensure that this scheme will operate satisfactorily. Funding has been secured but the project has yet to be initiated.
- UXO Lao: The national clearance operator UXO Lao downsized its staff to just over 1,000 but increased subsequent productivity through a combination of new technology and better procedures.
- International NGOs: MAG, as the largest clearance NGO, has increased its productivity by a factor of 5 through 2007 by employing better procedures and modern technology. FSD supported WFP as a clearance service provider to food for work projects. HI-Belgium integrated victim support, MRE and clearance operations into a comprehensive programme in one province.
- Commercial Clearance: Millsearch, PCL and BACTEC supported various clients through the third quarter of 2007.
- The Oslo Process: Lao PDR sent delegations to Lima to participate in the Oslo Process to address the global problem of cluster munitions.
- Install and roll out Information Management System on Mine Action (IMSMA) as the national sector database.
- Make progress with the dissemination of draft national standards and work towards the first review.
- Start the accreditation process of clearance operators.
- Advance the risk management and mitigation approach to clearance plans.
- Improve prioritisation of areas for clearance.
- Produce new MRE materials in line with various recent study recommendations.
- Initiate implementation of a comprehensive Victim Surveillance system nationwide.
- After long deliberation, IMSMA was chosen as the Lao National Database. The latest version was installed in July by the GICHD at the NRA to be rolled out to all stakeholders. However, this latest version (v5) proved to have some challenges handling large volumes of data. The information department of the NRA spent August and September testing and de-bugging the system but at the end of the quarter it was still not operational.
3. Update from UNICEF
The following is a summary of key achievements, challenges, objectives and funding issues for UNICEF country programmes:
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)
During the period July to September 2007, UNICEF continued to provide technical, financial and logistical support mainly to the BiH Mine Action Centre (BHMAC), and to implementing agencies involved in mine risk education (MRE) and Landmine Victim Assistance (LMVA).
With UNICEF support in August, the BHMAC organized a three-day workshop for the revision of the BiH Mine Action Strategy 2004-2008, including MRE and Landmine Victim Assistance (LMVA) sub-strategies, and preparations for the new 2009-2019 Mine Action Strategy. The objectives of the new strategies were defined, including strategic and operational goals and the financial plan.
The BHMAC continued with daily activities related to the management and quality assurance of MRE, preparing the documentation needed for the development of MRE plans, collecting and approving MRE plans, and updating the MRE database. The BHMAC provided assistance to local and international mine action organizations and NGOs with analyses, recommendations and technical opinion on MRE and LMVA project implementation and proposals.
From September, with UNICEF's support, the local NGO GENESIS Project, in collaboration with the Ministries of Education, started implementation of a new project on landmine and Small Arms (SA) risk education and Participatory Action Research (PAR) on SA in eight locations. By the end of 2007, the project will result in the training of 100 schoolteachers on sustainable MRE and SA risk education, 100 children directly and 700 children indirectly will receive knowledge on landmine risk and MRE peer-education methodology. The PAR on SA will result in the finalisation and implementation of three SA Action plans based on recommendations from children from the previous school semester in three BiH communities.
In Cambodia, UNICEF is continuing to provide financial and technical support to the Mine Action sector for national MRE coordination through the Cambodian Mine Action/Victim Assistance Authority, Community-Based Mine Risk Reduction, the mass media campaign through the Cambodia Mine Action Centre, and school-based MRE for children through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. MRE materials are also provided to different MRE operators. Prostheses, wheelchairs and other mobility devices, as well as assistances for rehabilitation to children and women victims of landmines/UXO and other causes of disabilities also continued with the support of UNICEF.
In August 2006, 39 new casualties were reported by the Cambodia Mine/UXO Victim Information System. This indicates an increase of 12 casualties in August 2007, to a total of 51. From the total of 51, 58% were men, 29% were children under 18 years of age, and 7% were women. 57% of the casualties were injured or killed by UXO, and 43% by mines. For activities, 50% of the victims were injured or killed while tampering with UXO and 8% were injured or killed at the time of farming, 7% of official de-miners were injured or killed while demining. For the last 8 months in 2007, the number of casualties reaches 281. This shows a decrease of only 78 casualties, compared with the same period in 2006 (359).
In Chad, UNICEF continued its lead role for MRE providing coordination, technical and financial support to the Government's National High Commission for Demining (HCND, according to its French acronym).
During the third quarter, there were limited days of MRE in the western and southern regions due to the rainy season and the inaccessibility of a large part of the country.
A new leaflet has been produced with pictures of mines and UXO that are found in the east of Chad (not the same as those previously used).
The first meetings with the Ministry of Education took place to study the methodology for the Training-of-Trainers for inspectors and pedagogical animators. The primary purpose is to ensure the sensitisation of the teachers in the activity.
Mine/UXO Victim Assistance
In order to continuously maintain data collection activities, the ICRC proposed the utilisation of a network of national Red Cross volunteers. Training was conducted for the benefit of Red Cross volunteers, as well as field partners of the ICRC in the eastern part of the country, on the completion of questionnaires relating to victims.
Mine/UXO Victim Information
In 2007, the total number of casualties reported from January to September reached 182. This represents 25% more than the total of all casualties for 2006.
In 2007, the casualty figures are as follows:
- civilian: 96.2% / military: 3.9%
- child victims: 81.3% / adult victims: 18.7%
- killed: 28% (with 84% being children)
- victims maimed: 32% (with 29% being children)
- UXO incidents: 96.7% / mines incidents: 3.3%
In June 2007, the Government of Colombia elevated the political status of the National Landmines Observatory through its transformation into a Presidential programme for Mine Action and a new national director was appointed. UNICEF is the United Nations System's focal point for coordinating mine action. In this capacity, UNICEF has led the design and implementation of a multi-year strategy for mine action, which has included active and sustained participation of more than 14 actors.
The continued use and presence of mines and UXO and the absence of humanitarian demining means that the development of Mine Risk Education activities provides the only opportunity to mitigate the threat to the lives of the civilian population. For that reason, UNICEF and partners have given the highest priority to an accident prevention strategy based on risk reduction education methodologies in those municipalities and communities that are directly affected. In this way, UNICEF is providing support to a field capacity of 43 focal points for mine action. UNICEF is currently providing support to mine action activities in some of the most affected municipalities in the departments of Antioquia, Cauca, Narino, Bolivar, Sucre and Choco, through MRE programmes which include training-of-trainers and direct intervention in affected communities. These prevention activities will ensure that an estimated 75,000 people are equipped with knowledge of how to protect themselves and others from the dangers of landmines and UXO in their daily lives. UNICEF and its partner organisations have developed community-based methodologies for Municipal Needs Assessment, MRE relevant data collection (using a specifically designed methodology for this purpose), and participatory design of MRE activities and materials at a community level.
Together with its counterparts in the departments of Antioquia, Cauca, and Magdalena Medio, UNICEF has developed a training programme for local authorities and landmine survivors on the rights of victims of the situation of violence caused by illegal armed groups. To date, some 5,000 local civil servants have been trained. The programme also provides direct support to landmine survivors who are in the process of claiming the humanitarian aid established by law. Approximately 300 landmine survivors have received support to date. Until June 2007, UNICEF supported Handicap International in the identification, rehabilitation and social reintegration of 73 mine survivors in two departments and the Centre for Integral Rehabilitation in Colombia (CIREC) in the identification, rehabilitation and social reintegration of 265 people with a disability. This partnership involved working with local institutions to promote the rights of victims of landmines and to ensure that the duty bearers respond to their obligations in their treatment and wellbeing. Seventeen landmine survivors have already established productive projects and a further 15 are currently in the process of training and preparation. The project was a success and there are some valuable lessons learned. The results have been systematised and it is hoped that we will continue to develop similar initiatives in the near future.
During the third quarter of 2007, the UNICEF Child Protection Programme provided support through the UXO National Regulatory Authority (NRA) for a workshop on MRE Monitoring and Evaluation with the technical support of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). The workshop brought together approximately 35 persons working on Risk Education for three days. The main topics were monitoring of UXO risk education in Lao PDR, existing capacities and gaps, data, data collection and indicators and initial suggestions for a system for monitoring UXO risk education. In addition, UNICEF is working with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to develop new risk education messages including those related to scrap metal collection. Several new messages are currently being field tested and the final versions are expected in November 2007. The development of a parenting module for families in highly contaminated areas of Lao PDR is also on-going with assistance from Handicap International Belgium.
In the area of Victim Assistance, UNICEF is supporting the NRA in a national data collection project for UXO accidents and UXO victims.
UNICEF coordinated three meetings of the Mine Action Joint Working Group (MAJWG) with the total participation of twenty-three organisations/institutions. The group collects and disseminates information on the impact of IEDs, mines and other explosive devices; develops common standards and common prioritisation mechanisms for prevention. By early 2008 the coordination role should be handed over to the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction (National Mine Action Technical Committee).
One hundred seventy-three MRE focal points from 53 districts have now been trained by UNICEF and the Red Cross Society/ICRC in emergency MRE, and provided with an 'Emergency MRE kit.' This network includes Army and Police staff, Red Cross volunteers, and district officers from the Ministry of Education, UNICEF local offices and NGOs. The kit has been designed to conduct quick response MRE in the most at-risk areas. Over the last three months, the network has been able to deploy systematic emergency MRE within a week, in response to victim-activated explosions or the identification of new risks.
As part of their induction training program, UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) arms and civilian monitors received a one-hour safety briefing on IED, mines and ERW conducted by UNICEF. As of the end of September, 180 arms monitors and 78 electoral monitors had benefited from this programme.
UNICEF provided 5,000 Hazard signs to the Nepal Army and to the CPN (Maoists) Army. Fifty-three Nepal Army minefields and seven Maoist Army storage areas have been marked. Two thousand additional signs will be provided to the Nepal Police for the systematic marking of 48 IED fields.
In Sudan, UNICEF continued its lead role for MRE within the framework of the UN Mine Action Office (UNMAO), providing coordination, technical and financial support to government and NGO partners.
During the third quarter of 2007, UNICEF, in collaboration with the National Mine Action Center (NMAC) and South Sudan Demining Commission (SSDC), implemented a range of MRE activities throughout the country. These included support to NGOs for implementation of direct MRE sessions to at-risk populations including IDPs, returnees and local communities; a total of 40 MRE teams from eight different NGOs operated in IDP camps, Returnee Way Stations and affected communities reaching a total of 177,334 persons with MRE.
In addition, UNICEF, in collaboration with the NMAC and the Ministry of Education (MoE) in three states of Kassala, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, implemented the "School-Based MRE" project. During the reporting period, the following activities were conducted as part of this project:
- A kit of MRE materials which includes a range of printed materials and a manual for teachers was developed and 3,000 copies produced;
- Three five-day Training of Master Trainers courses were organised for a total of 62 master trainers from the Ministry of Education;
- The Master trainers organised and conducted a series training-of-trainer (ToT) courses on to a total of 1,041 teachers in their respective states (741 in Kassala, 120 in Blue Nile, and 180 in South Kordofan) and distributed the MRE materials kits to them;
- UNICEF, along with colleagues from the UNMAO and the NMAC, monitored the process of training in all three states.