The Mine Action Support Group (MASG) Newsletter -- Fourth Quarter of 2006
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
December 31, 2006
Inside this newsletter:
1 Update from UNMAS:
I. POLICY COORDINATION, TREATY IMPLEMENTATION, INFORMATION, AND RESOURCE MOBILIZATION
Meeting of the IACG-MA Sub-Working Group in Geneva (30 November 2006)
In an effort to encourage and facilitate the active participation of all members of the IACG-MA/UN Mine Action Team, UNMAS initiated a meeting with working level Geneva-based partners to increase greater information-sharing and consultations, particularly with OCHA, OHCHR, and UNHCR, and thereby enhance the coordination capacity of the main decision-making body in New York.
The first of what are likely to be quarterly meetings was held at the UNHCR offices in Geneva. Topics discussed included the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and recent reports to the Human Rights Council on the use of cluster munitions in Lebanon by a Commission of Inquiry and a group of Special Rapporteurs.
Promoting the rights of persons with disabilities
On 13 December 2006, the 61st General Assembly adopted the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol by consensus and UNMAS is advocating for early ratification by all mine/ERW-affected states. On 28 November UNMAS briefed the Forum of Mine Affected Countries (FOMAC) on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and urged them to consider ratifying the new convention when it opens for signature and ratification on 30 March 2007.
UNMAS has encouraged mine-affected countries to engage in the drafting of the new convention over the past three years and has specifically targeted Mine Ban Treaty states parties to draw the link between their article 6 obligations towards mine victims and the far more explicitly articulated obligations in the new convention. Ambassador MacKay of New Zealand, the former Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee that drafted the new convention, is now a co-rapporteur of the Mine Ban Treaty's Standing Committee on Victim Assistance (SCVA). This will help ensure that Mine Ban Treaty states parties are well aware of the complementarity between the two treaties. The convention will enter into force when ratified by 20 states.
The theme of this year's International Day of Disabled Persons, celebrated on 4 December 2007, was "E-Accessibility" for the visually impaired. Article 9 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities addresses "Accessibility" and explicitly states that persons with disabilities have the right to access to barrier-free buildings and accessible documents (Braille).
Participation in the CCW Meeting of States Parties
The Third Review Conference of States Parties to the CCW Convention took place in Geneva from 7 to 17 November 2006. The UN team at the meeting comprised representatives of DDA, UNMAS, UNDP, UNICEF and UNIDIR.
Contributions from the UN included:
- The UNSG message to the Third Review Conference
- The IACG-MA statement to the Third Review Conference
- The UNSG message at the special event for the entry into force of Protocol V
- The IACG-MA statement during the special event on Protocol V.
The UNSG message and the IACG-MA statement on 7 November included the current UN position on cluster munitions. The message was welcomed by a number of delegations and participants and clearly served to encourage some delegations to move forward on the cluster munitions issue. The Cluster Munitions Coalition explicitly stated appreciation for the UNSG message and the ICRC called for action on cluster munitions.
The Review Conference decided that the mandate of the GGE will extend into 2007 but only on ERW and with a special focus on cluster munitions. No negotiation mandate was agreed on MOTAPM, but MOTAPM would be discussed at a Meeting of the States Parties. Moreover, it was decided that a meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the First Conference of States Parties to Protocol V will take place on 18 June 2007.
The GGE will meet from 19-22 June 2007, (including meetings of Military and Technical Experts), to consider: (1) the application and implementation of existing IHL to specific munitions that may cause ERW, with a particular focus on cluster munitions, including the factors affecting their reliability and their technical and design characteristics, with a view to minimizing the humanitarian impact of the use of those munitions; (2) the results of the meeting of experts on cluster munitions to be held by the ICRC (March 2007). The First Conference of States Parties to Protocol V will take place on 5 November 2007.
The Ninth Annual Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II will take place on 6 November 2007. The States Parties to the CCW will meet from 7-13 November 2007 with up to 1 day dedicated to the issue of compliance, up to two days dedicated to MOTAPM, and up to two days for general meetings.
A compliance mechanism applicable to the Convention was adopted. This includes the establishment of a pool of experts. The UN will prepare and update a list of experts with information provided by High Contracting Parties (HCP). A voluntary Sponsorship Programme (SP) was established and will be managed by the GICHD. A plan of action for the universalization of the CCW Convention and its Protocols was adopted as was a declaration on the occasion of the entry into force of Protocol V.
Advancing Gender Equality in Mine Action Programmes
Over the past two months UNMAS has met with representatives of the Governments of Germany, Denmark and Canada, all of whom are very supportive of UN efforts to ensure that UN-managed and supported mine action programmes involve men and women, and are planned to ensure that men, women, girls and boys benefit equitably. Recent and planned initiatives were described to the MASG at their 30 November meeting in Geneva. At that meeting UNMAS and the Government of Denmark reported on the workshop on Gender Equality in Mine Action Programmes held in Dubai in early September 2006. The workshop sought to assist representatives from the mine action programmes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Sudan, and Yemen to develop draft action plans based on the Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes. Representatives from NGOs including NPA, DDG, MAG, DC and the Swiss Campaign participated, as did a gender expert from Canada and the DPKO Gender Adviser from UNMIS. Canada and Denmark sponsored the workshop and Denmark urged MASG members to join in this initiative, by requiring that the proposals they consider funding explicitly indicate how gender considerations will be addressed. MASG members were also asked to share with UNMAS any gender-sensitive impact assessment tools they might use in evaluating their mine action projects; the IACG-MA Steering Committee on Gender and Mine Action aims to review such tools and determine whether new or revised tools to determine the impact of mine action on target populations are required. As Chair of the IACG-MA Steering Committee on Gender and Mine Action, UNMAS has spearheaded the fund-raising of approximately $225,000 from Canada and Denmark to support gender mainstreaming in mine action.
Plans for the coming year involve several elements, the first of which is a document audit, which will ensure that that gender considerations are integrated into all of the strategies, guidelines, evaluation templates, terms of reference, and other working tools that guide routine UN mine action initiatives. As a part of this initiative we will review pre- and post-clearance assessment tools to ensure that mine action programmes are taking stock of the impact of mines/ERW, and of mine action programmes themselves, on all members of affected communities. We will also revise our Gender Guidelines for Mine Action Programmes with gender-sensitive indicators to guide field colleagues in their effort to implement the Guidelines and measure their own progress.
The second element is the development of training materials for UN mine action programme staff and the provision of targeted training for specific initiatives within particular mine action programmes (e.g., conduct of surveys, revision of human resource policy and practice).
The third element involves convening regional implementation workshops for field staff engaged in the planning and execution of key tasks in UN-managed or supported programmes.
The fourth element involves supporting and monitoring the implementation of the action plans that should flow from the regional workshops. UNMAS is seeking donor support for the implementation of concrete initiatives in both Afghanistan and Sudan.
In addition, UNMAS headquarters staff remains fully engaged in system-wide, agency-specific and departmental working groups and task forces that seek to advance gender equality and we are constantly bringing lessons learned from the mine action sector to the attention of colleagues in other sectors. Field colleagues are urged to engage in similar initiatives at field level.
Portfolio of Mine Action Projects 2007
The UN spokesman announced the release of the Portfolio of Mine Action Projects 2007 on 14 November in New York, and a launch event was held in Geneva on the same day. An audience of some 50 people representing member states, NGOs, the GICHD and UN partners heard a panel of speakers, including UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Erika Feller, who described the links between mine action and the "humanitarian protection cluster approach", UNMAS Director Max Gaylard, who described the field-driven Portfolio preparation process, and Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs Nobuaki Tanaka, who referred to the impact of cluster munitions and read a message from the Secretary-General. Associated Press and Reuters covered the launch and placed stories in newspapers around the world. Discussion after the presentations focused on how to meet funding gaps, general trends in donor interest, the situation in Lebanon, links between donor support and treaty obligations, and integration between the CAP and the Portfolio. Launches also took place in e.g. Albania, Colombia, DRC, Laos, Mauritania, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Zambia involving a wide range of mine action stakeholders, including donors, ministry officials, and the media.
On 28 November the Forum of Mine-Affected Countries met in New York and discussed the Portfolio. Issues discussed included the increasing degree to which national authorities participate in the development of the Portfolio, including the capacity building aspects of increasingly having nationals undertake the role of CPCs and the importance of ensuring that the Portfolio reflects national strategies and plans.
At the 30 November Mine Action Support Group meeting in Geneva the Portfolio was once again presented as a product of the entire UN Mine Action Team and the result of a field-driven, coordinated process involving a range of stakeholders (including national authorities, local non-governmental organizations and donors).
The online version of the 2007 Portfolio is available at www.mineaction.org. Since the issuance of the printed version, Chad has joined the Portfolio, bringing the total number of participating countries/territories to 30, with a total of 313 projects. The Chad country-submission can be found online.
II. NEW PLEDGES, EARMARKINGS AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE VOLUNTARY TRUST FUND (VTF)
Contributions to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action for the 4th Quarter October - December 2006
Total = $30,603,154.71
Confirmed Pledges to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action for the 4th Quarter October - December 2006
Amount donor currency
Sudan, ICBL, Geneva Call
UN Common Fund
During this period there were several meetings of the Centre for European Standardisation (CEN) Workshops. These Workshops contribute to Mine Action by producing Workshop Agreements (WA) on subjects not covered by International Mine Action Standards (IMAS). The Kick-off meeting of the Workshop on Post Mechanical Clearance Requirements (28) and Sampling after Mechanical Clearance (29) took place in Brussels as well as a working meeting of the Workshop (7) on the Characterisation of Soils. Later the Workshop on testing Personal Protective Equipment (26) met for the third time.
The Japanese machines, selected at the meeting in Tokyo in June, remained in Cambodia for tests and the third trial in the series of the Standard Testing of Metal Detectors was completed in Croatia. Results of both these trials will be available on the ITEP website (www.itep.ws).
In addition, the International Test and Evaluation Programme (ITEP) conducted an in-country demonstration trial of the Way Industries' Bozena 4 mini flail and the Dok-ing MV-4 mini flail, at the International Mine Action Training Center in Nairobi, to identify suitability for operations in Sudan.
VI. DEVELOPMENTS IN UNMAS-MANAGED PROGRAMMES
The Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan continued its shift to its winter operations cycle with the onset of snows and poor weather in a number of areas in the North and North East of the country requiring the shift of assets to more accessible locations. During the fourth quarter, MAPA fielded over 8,250 national staff as part of 148 manual clearance teams, 41 mechanical demining units, 28 mine detecting dog teams, 80 EOD/BAC teams, 62 survey teams, 55 Landmine Impact Assessment teams, 41 MRE/VA teams and 80 items of mechanical equipment operating as part of 17 implementing partners throughout the country.
UNMACA continued the accreditation of mine action assets in accordance with the Afghan National Mine Action Standards during the last quarter. In particular this was focused on mine detection dogs, which saw 101 dogs from seven implementing partners completing the process before weather conditions shut the testing facility. At that time the remaining unaccredited dogs were stood down from operational tasks and redirected to refresher training in the interim period to enable the rapid completion of accreditation when it recommences in the new year.
During the last quarter the MAPA also initiated the evaluation and preparation for a shift to one man lane clearance drills in 2007. It is anticipated that this process will substantially increase the operational tempo and productivity of clearance activities and enhance both safety and effectiveness. This process will also require the reorientation of clearance equipment within the programme to ensure that enough assets are available for work, while a procurement programme to support the ongoing replacement of older equipment is also being planned for the first quarter of 2007.
The UNMACA continued the process of nationalisation, with the recruitment of a national Chief of Operations completed in November 2006. Additional senior positions will continue to be nationalised in the near future as part of the ongoing capacity building process within the MACA that will be accompanied by an increase in training and ongoing conduct of exchange visits to other programmes to share lessons learned and perspectives. Work to support transition to Government responsibility was also continued, with a range of consultations and meetings with relevant Ministries within the Government of Afghanistan, and with other institutional partners. Additionally, the annual budget for mine action was presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the Afghan National Development Strategy process.
The critical funding situation of the MAPA was relieved at the end of the last quarter as funding was received from the European Commission (US$6,030,330 as 2nd tranches from previous contributions), the Netherlands (US$1,533,280 as a first tranche of US$3,066,560), Spain (US$1,636,250) and Lithuania ($15,295), while additional funding agreements were also signed in the last week of December with the European Commission for 20 million EUR for disbursement over 2007-8 and 2.4 million Euro for use over 2007. These funds will enable the continuation of operations for the first part of 2007 but it is anticipated that additional funds will be required to enable the MAPA to support current capacity throughout the year.
In 2006, a total of 695,366 square meters of land in inhabited areas of Equateur, Katanga, North and South Kivu and Orientale provinces were cleared with a total of 539 mines, 7,788 items of unexploded ordnance and 74,023 other small ammunitions destroyed. Since the beginning of coordinated clearance operations in 2002, 3,267,370square meters and 260 km of roads have been cleared with 2,903 mines and 25,103 Unexploded Ordnances destroyed. The programme conducted 941 Mine Risk Education sessions reaching 141,971 people living in mine/ERW affected areas.
The objectives for 2007 are to reduce further the casualty rate in the most affected provinces, to develop a mine/ERW victim identification system and associated assistance and to expand freedom of movements of people living in the most affected districts. In order to ensure a lasting response, assistance to the recently formed Government to develop national mine action capacity, while integrating mine action requirements into national development and reconstruction plans will be given top priority in 2007.
The final quarter of 2006 saw an increase in the number of mine accidents, several related to newly laid anti-vehicle mines on roads previously known to be safe. On such accident on 08 November 2006 on the Tsorena-Forto road involved staff from MECHEM, UNMEE's clearance contractor that resulted in serious injury to two MECHEM international staff members.
In December a civilian truck in the area of Humera also struck an anti-vehicle mine on a previously safe route and two additional AV mines were discovered on the Badme-Sembel road by Ethiopian forces and removed. Additional reports were received by UNMEE peacekeepers, including reports of an Ethiopian Armed Forces truck that struck an AV mine, injuring two and killing one and a civilian vehicle that struck a mine on the Shilalo-Sheshibet road. Investigations of those reports are ongoing.
The MACC also assisted in an operation to recover the body of a 60 year old Eritrean woman, who wandered into Ethiopian territory in the area of Sera, in Sector Centre. The woman was allegedly shot and her body was thought to be lying in a mined area. MECHEM personnel cleared a safe path to the body and assisted in the repatriation of her remains to her village of origin.
In total, the programme cleared 200,000 km2 and 200 km of roads resulting in the destruction of two AV mines and 94 UXO during the final quarter of 2006. MRE teams reached 471 men, women, boys and girls in affected areas.
The extent of contamination from unexploded ordnance (UXO), namely from cluster bomblets and sub-munitions, has become clearer since the last newsletter. As of 21 December 2006, the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre, in conjunction with the Lebanese National Demining Office (NDO) has identified 838 individual cluster strike locations, having a total of 34 km2. Each strike location potentially contains hundreds of individual bomblets or sub-munitions. The humanitarian impact of these explosive remnants of war on civilians has resulted in at least 18 deaths and 145 injuries, the vast majority of these casualties have been young men and boys. One of the key aims of the MACC SL in the short term is to reduce the casualty rate, with a medium to long-term aim of preventing the casualty figures from increasing once agricultural activities restart in the spring. The following graph shows how this aim of MACC SL is being achieved through the dropping of casualties' figures.
The Israeli Forces have provided some maps to UNIFIL/MACC-SL regarding cluster strikes, however they are not specific enough to be of use to operators on the ground. All efforts are being made to get from the IDF detailed information regarding the exact location, quantity and type of cluster munitions utilized during the conflict.
In addition to cluster munitions, unexploded bombs, rockets, mortars and other ordnance litter the south and areas in the north and east of Lebanon. During the last quarter of 2006, eight deminers were killed and 17 injured in a number of demining and CBU accidents involving clearance organizations and Lebanese military engineers' teams.
To date, the coordinated efforts of all demining teams in the ground, including bilaterally-funded, UN-contracted, UNIFIL and the LAF teams, have resulted in the destruction of over 94,000 individual cluster munitions as well as thousands of other unexploded ordnance. Up to 50 EOD and BAC teams from BACTEC, Armor Group, MAG, SRSA, NPA, FSD, HI and DCA are currently deployed under of the coordination of the MACC-SL alone and more are planned for the coming weeks.
As at 20 December 2006, UNMAS reported a total amount of $12,499,868 received in 2006 and earmarked for South-Lebanon programme. The total amount of both confirmed and unconfirmed pledges made by donors for the year 2007 are in the amount of $11,284,988.
With the end of the rainy season, production rates in survey and clearance activities increased. Security is presenting a significant challenge to demining operations. Fighting in Malakal led to the suspension and relocation of demining tasks, while the volatile security situation in Darfur is heavily curtailing demining activities. Force Protection requirements in South Sudan are also hampering the progress of demining operations.
Of note is clearance conducted by MAG in the highly contaminated area around the Customs Market in Juba as well as the clearance of the Juba Airfield fence line and Juba Airport Battle Area by FSD and ArmorGroup. The clearance on the road from Kassala to Hamoush Korieb in eastern Sudan was completed and the road is now open for humanitarian traffic with a width of eight cleared meters. In North Darfur, a full route assessment of the Malha Region was also concluded.
The Programme continues assisting and facilitating the work of UNMIS Military Demining Companies across the country. The Bangladeshi Military Demining Company worked on clearing the minefield southwest of Jebel Kujoor (Juba), while its explosive ordnance disposal teams have been clearing an area at the foot of Jebel Kujoor which contains a large number of UXO. The Egyptian Military Demining Company completed clearance operations in Julud village, while the Kenyan Military Demining continues its survey activities in Wau. The Cambodian Military Demining Company is currently surveying the region surrounding Malakal and has been conducting emergency survey and clearance after recent fighting in Malakal town. DPKO conducted an evaluation of UNMIS that included an UNMAS staff member to evaluate the work of the military demining companies. The recommendations from the evaluation are to be released in early 2007.
MRE activities continue to facilitate the safe return of IDPs, refugees and other at risk population groups. Production of a short MRE film has started in collaboration with the National Mine Action Center and Omdurman Radio/TV. AAR Japan field tested MRE leaflets and has begun their production for distribution in South Sudan.
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:
I. AFRICA REGION
Key achievements / challenges:
- On the 6th September 2006 the National Mine Action Strategic Plan for 2006/2011 was approved by the Council of Ministers.
- The National Mine Action Strategic Plan was developed by CNIDAH to provide Angolan authorities and all stakeholders in the Mine Action and the Development sectors with a guiding instrument to efficiently handle the threat and its long term effects.
- A key purpose of the 2006-2011 Mine Action Strategic Plan is to provide a unifying framework for all mine action operations in Angola. A key part of this is to establish a national planning and reporting framework.
- The Strategic Plan describes the key tasks to be conducted in line with goals and objectives, clarifies role of stakeholders, provides guidance to develop national institutional capacity, national-provincial planning and coordination capacity and ultimately describes how the Mine Action pillars address the priorities.
- Consolidation of CNIDAH as the National Authority for Mine Action;
- Provincial coordination has been consolidated with the opening of 17 provincial operations rooms during the last year.
- Donors and international operators have provided significant contributions for the success of the mine action programme in the country, and are currently involved in clearance work, Mine Risk Education and victim assistance
- The Government of Angola has also provided important financial contribution for the Mine Action public sector in 2006
- Clearance operations are today undertaken by Government Organizations under the umbrella of the Executive Commission (Army and MAC), International NGOs and Commercial Companies
- MRE and Victim assistance are developing National Action plans
- Landmine Impact Survey (LIS): Data collected includes 15 provinces that have been completed with all data entered into IMSMA at CNIDAH; 3 provinces where data collection is ongoing and the entry of data to the IMSMA database continues. The data collected to date reflects 90% of the localities (settlements) in Angola (20,824 of 24,032 known settlements have been identified in the survey to date). First quarter 2007 is the expected date for completion of LIS. Using the LIS default impact scoring process the total contaminated area is divided as follows (extrapolation for the whole country):
- High Impact: 41 communities equals to 57 km2
- Medium Impact: 471 communities equals to 495 km2
- Low Impact: 1529 communities equals to 752 km2
- Excess of 2.2 Million Angolans are affected on a daily basis by the presence of mines
- It is estimated that after technical survey the mine action situation in Angola could have the following picture:
- Contaminated area 1,304km2 will be reduced by 83% and will leave an area of 235.5km2
- The current annual clearing capacity (10 km2/year), would need 23.5 years to clear the whole country.
- Confirm CNIDAH's role as National Authority by establishing it as a permanent government structure
- Consolidate CNIDAH's internal functions at central and provincial level in order to promote high quality standards in the sector
- Ensure that government funding is increasing for the Mine Action sector and ensure that donors funding will be maintain for International NGOs
- Ensure that Angola establishes a long term and cost efficient Mine Action capacity
- Develop Annual national work plans on line with defined priorities at national and provincial level and ensuring involvement/participation of community on setting the priorities
- Clear high and medium impacted areas as a priority for both humanitarian and national reconstruction priorities
- Strengthen Mine Risk Education (MRE) methodologies (shifting focus to group at risk using LIS data)
- Improve the situation of mine victims within the context of broader disability issues
- The 3 EOD teams of the MAG DOS program were deployed in Zouark頩n the Tibesti Region. MAG will end this program in December 2006 instead of February 2007.
- The tender launched in September 2006 for Battle Area Clearance in the Capital and the Eastern part of Chad did not receive any proposal from the short listed operators. A new tender for the same purpose was launched in December 2006.
- In December, the Government of Chad sent a letter to UNDP Chad to inform that its contribution will be of 500,000 US$ for the end of 2006 and of 1.5 million US$ for 2007.
- The Coordinator, the Program Administrator and the CTA went to Yaounde, Cameroon for a fund-raising mission and met with representatives of Canada, Spain, Great Britain, Holland, Italy and Japan.
- Signing a contract with an operator and start the implementation of the planned BAC operations in the capital and in the Eastern part of the country.
- Up-dating of the HCND data base.
- Redeploying the HCND deminers and EOD who have been unemployed since mid-December 2005.
- Receiving the 2006 contribution from the Government.
- The situation continued to be unstable in the area of the border with Sudan. In December different battles took place in this area between the National Army and different rebels groups.
- To recruit and deploy an operator as funds were given by BPCR in order to start UXO clearance operations in the Capital, Southern and Eastern Regions, and to resume demining operations in Fada.
- Reduce the number of accidents. In 2006, Chad identified 93 casualties of which 26 were fatal.
- Implement a nation-wide technical survey.
- Resource mobilization in terms of obtaining the World Bank/Government's contribution and engage other external donors including UNDP Chad. Note that this remains the first key objective for the short term.
- Include EU on the Chad Board of Mine Action Donors.
- As of 31 December 2006, the contributions to the project for 2006 was limited to 314 000 US$ from the Government, 228 385 US$ from UNDP Chad and 321 840 US$ from BCPR. The needs expressed in the Portfolio 2006 were 5,786,444 US$.
- The 2009 deadline set by the anti personnel mine ban treaty for Chad to clear all known areas containing antipersonnel landmines will not be reached without any external support.
- Mine Clearance in Basra region: Under the field supervision of the Danish Demining Group (DDG), 10 national explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams improved the safety of more than 300 farmer families. This was done by the disposal of more than 52,000 explosives items along with the clearance of approximately 35,400,000 square meters from May 2005 until the end of December 2006.
- Joint Programming on Victim Assistance in Kurdistan Region: A joint program on comprehensive victim assistance has been prepared between UNDP and WHO. The programme activities consist in the provision of physical and psychological rehabilitation, vocational training and job opportunities, in consultation with the Kurdistan Regional Government. It is expected that the programme will commence in April, 2006 for a period of 2 years.
- Increased institutional capacity of the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA): fully functional with a full political commitment from the Government of Iraq.
- Apposing signature to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty.
- Increased national mine clearance operational capacity: A fully functional NGO capable to operate in accordance with the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) established in Basra region, in cooperation with the Regional Mine Action Center (RMAC) South.
- Increased management, coordination and technical capacity in Kurdistan region: Successful merger of the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Center (IKMAC) and the General Directorate for Mine Action (GDMA) for fully functional mine action activities in the region.
- Deteriorating security situation in center and southern Iraq.
- Lack of governmental coordination: According to media "in a meeting on 2nd November 2006, The Presidential Council of Iraq agreed to issue a law for Republic Of Iraq to join the Treaty of using, stockpiling, producing and transporting antipersonnel mines and demolish all, in which it has been agreed on in Ottawa on 2nd December 1997." This information came as a surprise to NMAA and IKMAC/GDMA.
- The above achievements have been realized through the financial support from the Government of Italy, the European Commission, and the Government of Japan.
- For 2007, additional support will be provided through the IRRFI (International Reconstruction by the Governments of Greece and South Korea trough the Iraqi Trust Fund (ITF) for the development of a fully functional national NGO capable to operate in accordance with IMAS.
- The UNDP Policy and Technical Advisor for the NMAA for the year 2007 will be supported by the U.S. State Department.
- Additional funds for the development of national Victim Surveillance and Assistance structure (approx. US$ 3.6 million), equipping and training of retired soldiers for de-mining (approx. US$ 12 million), and the development of fully functional regional mine action centers (approx. US$ 1 million) will be needed.
- The transfer of BNDH from the Military to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development (MAED) was signed on 20 November by the Minister of MAED outlining the new institutional arrangements in a Decree. The new coordinating body will be named "National Humanitarian Demining Programme for Development".
- The German Embassy continued to fund the remaining 6 weeks of clearance activities in Tmeimichatt. The third mission in Tiemichatt was completed on 2 December and attended by representatives from the German Embassy and HAMAP. The third mission cleared 5,300 square meters and destroyed 13 antipersonnel mines and 15 items of UXO. The fourth mission commenced on 5 December.
- The Swedish Rescue and Services Agency visited Mauritania in December to confirm mechanical requirements under development in Sweden.
- The national authorities hosted the 2007 Portfolio Release and Donors Conference at BNDH facilities on 29 November, attended by the UNDP RR, UNICEF, bilateral partners, MAED, National Commission and military representatives
- Through UNDP BCPR, 204,526 USD were allocated to reinforce national capacity in 2007.
- The German Embassy will fund in 2006 equipment (visors and personal protective equipment) in amount of 100,000 euros.
- Technical Survey activities in Bir Mougrein and Nouadhibou (PK55) commenced in early November and will last until mid-January 2007.
- Obtain UN certification of LIS.
- Finding resources to draft the LIS final report.
- Secure funding to complete LIS data analysis and drafting of final report for government acceptance.
- Continue with Technical Survey in HIGH impact areas identified in LIS.
- Conduct Landmine Victim Study with UNICEF.
- Conduct MRE and marking activities with UNICEF.
- Prepare a project document for mechanical equipment.
- Host visit by Ambassador Nellen (GICHD) from 26 Feb - 3 Mar 07.
- Conduct project evaluation by UNDP.
- The Landmine Monitor Report was launched on 3rd October and attended by senior officials from GOM/IND, donors, UN, ICBL and MA Operators.
- A draft National Mine Action Plan - NMAP (2007-2010) has been prepared and shared with all the stake-holders. The national workshop on the NMAP (2007-2010) will take place some time early 2007. The final version will be available after this workshop.
- FSD visited Mozambique in November 2006. The visit was in connection to FSD's task to evaluate and undertake the ground-work for IND to receive Austrian Government's grant for its regional office in Beira.
- An IT Advisor from UNDP/CNIDAH-Angola was seconded to the IND/UNDP Mozambique for a period of 2 weeks, to look at the information management systems and GIS database of IND.
- Resource mobilization to support the strengthening of the management and operational capacity efforts of the 2 Regional Offices of IND namely Beira at the central region and Nampula at the northern region of the country.
- Finalize the NMAP (2007-2010); Annual Activity Plan-2007 and Annual Progress Report 2006.
- Prepare a 'Business Plan' for the 5 provinces in the Center and South of Mozambique in collaboration with HI, NPA, and APOPO and based on the data being collected by them.
- The MA Capacity Building programme will require US$1,100,000 for CY-2007. The shortfall is however, around US$500,000.
- Somaliland Mine Action Center (SMAC) quality control teams have completed physical checking of a sampled area (1226m2) of an ex-minefield cleared by HALO and released it to the community. IMSMA was updated with the assistance of GICHD.
- LIS Phase III recruited and trained LIS staff, and deployed the field staffs to the sites in Sool and Sanaag regions and Buhodle district.
- Police EOD Teams for Hargeisa visited 21 villages for UXO collection and destroyed 1,178 items of UXO. During those visits they have delivered MRE messages for 1277 persons living in 18 villages.
- Puntland Mine Action Center (PMAC) upgraded IMSMA database with the assistance of GICHD.
- An UXO incident happened in Galdogob, a town near the Border between Puntland (Somalia) and Ethiopia injuring three persons.
- Training was provided to Police EOD team in Garowe on GPS for EOD activities.
- 15 Police personals were selected from the Somali Police in Baidoa and were sent to Nairobi, Kenya for EOD training at IMATC course.
- HALO Trust and DDG are continuing their operations in Somaliland. HI has started KAP Survey (Knowledge, Attitude and Practice) to get an understanding of the best way MRE messages could be delivered.
- Obtain funding for 2007 to maintain current operations in Somaliland and Puntland.
- Improve and strengthen management and coordination mechanisms for the two MACs
- Upgrade SMAC IMSMA database.
- Upgrade skills of the two MAC's staff and Police EOD Teams.
- Review and revise SMAC's Strategic plan, the SOPs, Mine Action Policy and technical procedures for the Quality Management System.
- Improve financial reporting system.
- The Security situation in the south and central of Somalia is deteriorating by the current fighting between Islamic Courts and the transitional Federal Government.
- Mine action is a key entry point to the security and development landscape; strengthening and establishing a sustainable national demining (EOD and Mine Clearance) capacity could be essential for enhancing security.
- The funding from UNDP BCPR for Somaliland has been covering only until December 2006, and from January there is no fund available for SMAC.
- Canada continues to support the Puntland Mine Action Centre (PMAC); however, this funding is due to expire in early 2007.
- With technical, advisory and financial support from UNDP, offices of the National Mine Action Center based in Khartoum, and Southern Sudan Demining Authority (SSDA) based in Juba are fully equipped, staffed and operational with funds from the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden. Some 20 national staff members of the national mine action authorities are located within those premises.
- All national staff members have been recruited as civil servants and are on the payrolls of the respective government authorities. This will naturally ensure the sustainability of the project.
- Twenty recruited staff members of the national mine action authorities received initial training by Cranfield University in Nairobi during July-August 06 with Funds from the US DOS. In addition, two special Middle Level Mine Action Management Training were organized in Amman, Jordan during November and December 06, one in English and on in Arabic. Each of these courses were attended 25 staff participants, national mine action staff.
- UNDP supported a Mine Action Exchange (MAX) programme to Bosnia Herzegovina to provide mine action personnel from Sudan with the experience and lessons learned from the BiH mine action programme in terms of: the process of transition from a UN-led to nationally-managed mine action programme, legislative and institutional frameworks, planning and prioritization processes, coordination mechanism. At the end of the mission, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was singed between the NMAC and BHMAC for cooperation and collaboration in various areas.
- Targeted District Needs Assessment in Gulu is ongoing. Already 40 suspected hazardous areas (SHA) have been identified.
- Eight out of twelve SHA in the district of Lira have been demined.
- A Landmine Survivor (LMS) cooperative has been established in Kasese.
- The development of national mine action standards started with support from GICHD.
- Five APM, one ATM, 435 piece of UXO and 2 M79 sub-munitions were destroyed during rapid EOD operations in Kasese, Kaberamaido, Lira, and Gulu.
- Approximately 50% of mine action funds required for 2007 (CAP 2007 US$ 5,200,000) are already raised.
- Complete targeted Needs Assessment in Acholi sub-region by March 2007.
- Complete technical survey/clearance/EOD operations in Lira and Soroti and continue in Gulu.
- Deploy the first quality control team and train two national mine risk education teams
- Deploy mine action coordinators for Acholi sub-region and for Lango/Teso sub-regions.
- Conduct a LMS needs assessments in Northern Uganda.
The return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) gains momentum and there is an ongoing urgent need for mine action as a pre-requisite to respond for a safe and protected return.
Current funding shortfall for 2007:
US$ 2,700,000 (Approx. 50% of required mine action funds in CAP). Most of the still required funds are planned for victim assistance activities
II. ARAB STATES REGION
- Preparations for the 8MSP are already underway, with the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center at the Dead Sea booked as the venue of the meeting and initial requirements identified. The Implementation Support Unit (ISU), the UNDDA and UN Conference Services have undertaken their first planning mission and held meetings with a number of partners and stakeholders on the Jordanian side.
- The Government of Japan has signed an agreement to support the Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) in their project to clear the Wadi Araba area from the Dead to the Red Seas (December 2006).
- The NCDR, REC and NPA have held many meetings and have undertaken field reconnaissance visits to the Jordan-Syria border area to plan for clearance operations in this last major mined area in Jordan. The NCDR and the REC have also reviewed the plan and timeline to clear the Jordan Valley.
- Jordan Demining Project is ongoing. The REC operations are progressing in a timely fashion according the approved plans for the Jordan Valley area.
- The REC has seconded two officers (GIS and data entry) to help with the NCDR IMSMA database.
- NCDR arranged for fourteen officers from Sudan to undergo a training course in mine clearance at the Royal Engineering School for four weeks.
- The Swiss Government donated US$35,000 worth of equipment to the REC for the disposal of deep buried mines. A training course was conducted by a Swiss instructor on the use of this equipment at the REC training centre.
- National Technical Standards and Guidelines for Mine Clearance Operations (NTSG): The document is currently being translated and will be available in English and Arabic in January 2007.
- The Landmine Retrofit Survey (LRS) Baseline Data and Gazetteer have been compiled from information gathered from all identified major information sources. (NCDR, Royal Engineering Corps, Royal Geographic Centre, Department of Statistics, Ministry of Planning, Royal Medical Services and some NGOs). A number of maps were updated or developed to show required information related to population, gender, number of households, roads, schools, etc. The project identified and confirmed of 264 hazard areas, containing 48 mine affected communities. Basic information was also complied regarding MRE activities carried out in 2004-2006.
- Based on the information provided by the LRS, the MRE Department has identified the priority areas for its program. It was decided that the Jordan Civil Defense and the Jordan Red Crescent, will be two of the main partners in implementing the program and a senior civil defense officer will be seconded to the NCDR for that purpose.
- The GICHD visited the NCDR in October to assist in the final preparations of the MRE work plan.
- The Survivor and Victim Assistance (SVA) Department has been compiling the National Register for all landmine victims in the country. A series of meetings are being held with various partners to look into their lists of survivors with a view to arriving at one unified document for the country. The NCDR has also contacted all survivors on its own lists to assess the assistance awarded to them by the various partners in the field.
- Complete joint NCDR/NPA Jordan-Syria Border Mine Clearance Project proposal and submit to local donor community. The Border represents the last large untouched mine-belt and is expected to take 24 months to complete. The minefield along the border is 120 km long and represents the last major task for the Jordan demining programme. If funded, Jordan will be well on the road to comply with the APMBT Article 5 2009 deadline.
- With the support of the Netherlands, undertake high-level trips to Gulf countries to advocate for signing the APMBT (January - March 2007).
- Recruit and train a second NCDR QA team to be deployed full-time in the southern region.
- Continue with the community LRS questionnaire process and working with IMSMA database team to accurately record and represent the data in GIS format.
- Since the cessation of hostilities, over 92,000 cluster sub-munitions and 3,500 UXOs have been cleared.
- Development of a mine action working group encompassing international and national NGOs, municipalities and UN agencies.
- Utilization of agricultural data in the prioritization of cluster munitions clearance.
- Clearance of all areas affected by the 2006 conflict by December 2007
- Development of a fully national executed programme with a focus on management capability and planning and including a transition strategy for UN and other technical assistance by January 2008.
- Mine action in Mount Lebanon and North Lebanon has been placed on hold while national assets have been diverted to undertake clearances in southern Lebanon.
- Development of a transition strategy from a National/UNMAS programme to a fully national programme by the end of 2007.
- Some 725,000 USD for the capacity building programme is needed to create a fully national mine action structure by the end of 2007.
- Funding for mine clearance outside of southern Lebanon and funding for UXO clearance remains low.
III. EUROPE AND THE CIS
- The NGO Danish Church Aid completed its clearance activities with funding from EC, US DoS, Germany and the UK (DifD). At the end of December 2006, DCA released through survey and clearance activities 1,360,853 square kilometers which were then handed over to the communities by AMAE.
- In October-November 2006, AMAE organized field visits for delegations from Denmark, Great Britain, Czech Republic and the US DoS.
- GICHD assisted with the drafting of the National Mine Standards.
- The AMAE Director gave a presentation on the status of the Albanian Mine Programme and the national strategy for completion of Article 5 obligations at the MASG meeting in November 2006.
- During a ceremony, Otto Bock materials and equipments were handed over to the Ministry of Health to support the National Orthopedic Prosthetic Center and Prostheses Support Center in Kuk볮
- Albanian Government will provide $ 250,000 USD for the construction of the National Ortho-Prosthetic Center in Tirana.
- UNDP with EC funds started a project that will provide 30 mine survivors with vocational trainings in small electronic repairs, hairdressing, and computers.
- An AMAC meeting was held on 14 December 2006 with participants from various Ministries, international experts, mine action implementing partners and representatives from the donor community.
- On 20 -21 December 2006, a retreat for the "Overview of Mine Action Operations" was held in Tirana, with the participation of demining organizations, UNDP and AMAE.
- Reviewing and developing further the National Mine Action Standards as well as ratifying the National Humanitarian Mine Action Law.
- Conducting an evaluation of the Mine Action Programme and AMAE Capacity building Project.
- Implementation of Completion Plan for Mine Action 2007-2010.
- Provide medical equipment and supplies to the 30 village nurses and physiotherapy equipment for the physiotherapists at Kukes and Bajram Curri Hospitals.
- Surgical equipments will be provided to the Kukes Regional hospital with funds from the USDoS through ITF.
- Construction of National Ortho- Prosthetic Center in Tirana.
Funding update for 2006:
Programme donors for this year include the European Commission, US State Department, Germany, DfiD through ITF, European Commission, France, SIDA through UNDP BCPR and UNICEF, UNDP Albania and ICRC.
- New approaches for integrated use of mechanical equipment, manual clearance and mine detecting dogs (MDDs) are being implemented for area reduction operations before the construction of the settlements for IDPs in Fizuli district can take place.
- The Resource Center in Ganja city ran by the local NGO Ojag opened its doors after the renovation took place. The project aims at reintegrating mine victims into society and is funded by European Commission and supported by UNDP. During four months, 25 people with disabilities or their family members will be trained in carpet weaving and tailoring.
- The "UXO Operators" training course was completed at the Regional Office in Khanlar. The course aimed at increasing the UXO Team's capacity and expanding EOD knowledge of QC inspectors.
- ANAMA Emergency Response Team-ERT has been deployed for emergency clearance task in Terter town to clear initially 26 houses upon request from local authorities and subsequent task from the GoA.
- MDD teams passed intermediate licensing at the Regional Accreditation Site in Fizuli. As a result 4 teams joined field operations.
- New technologies developed are being implemented at Saloglu Project site to dispose UXOs, including small arms and light weapons found in big amount.
- With the participation of ANAMA specialists, ICRC and Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society held the opening ceremonies of Safe Play Areas in different districts of Azerbaijan
- ANAMA implements two approaches to address the needs of 400 persons with disabilities. First one is the provision of legal assistance and other is meeting needs in social care through opportunities within community. Expected outcomes are: 1) strengthening mine survivors' social protection; 2) growth of real income of families due to changes implied; 3) acquisition of knowledge on rights and opportunities; 4) raise awareness to the difficulties encountered by disabled people.
- From 14 to 16 November the ICRC in close cooperation with the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) and AzCBL held a workshop for local journalists to raise their awareness about the role of the media in reducing the problems caused by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW).
- Two-hundred teachers from more than 100 schools passed the special MRE training sessions jointly supported by USEUCOM and UNICEF and implemented by ANAMA. Materials were distributed to schools through the district education departments.
- A 130 mine survivors from various districts received medical care in sanatorium.
- Fourteen persons involved in tailoring courses conducted by the local NGO Ojag are to sew 600 completes of bed linen for mine clearance teams.
- Conduct area reduction activities to further build IDP settlements in Zobjug area (Fizuli district).
- Continue Saloglu Project on UXO clearance in Aghstafa district.
- Increase capacity of the Emergency Response Team for house clearance operations in response to requests from local authorities and population.
- Reintegration of mine survivors into society through psychosocial support, vocational rehabilitation and provision of employment opportunities.
- Launch a series of VA projects and ensure their smooth implementation.
- Resource allocation to conduct area reduction operations before the construction of IDP settlements.
- Timely ensure mine/UXO safety to the project works on construction of 7 settlements in Fizuli districts for 2,104 IDP families.
- Promote continuous medical care and integration of mine survivors into society through provision of income generation opportunities
- Maintaining sustainable capacity for mine victim support activities through adequate and timely funding.
- Needs expressed in ANAMA Work Plan for 2007 are US$ 6,408,000. The shortfalls are US$ 2,232,000 mainly for strengthening mechanical capacity, continuing the Saloglu UXO clearance project and the Mine Victim Assistance strategy.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
- The first phase of demining activities in Bihac (demining of a ski center) was successfully completed. A total of 106,840 sqm has been demined through mine clearance and technical survey activities.
- Studies of effectiveness of the BHMAC priority setting system, the implementation of a socio-economic evaluation of land use post clearance, the impact of mine contamination on tourism, and resource mobilization in mine action have been conducted
- A contribution of US$602,000 was received from the Netherlands' Government;
- Armed Forces demining teams for the first time achieved the annual mine action plan for the current year with 2 square kilometers demined.
- An additional 32,192 square meters were released through Direct Demining Project (DDP) activities.
- Provide equipment to the Armed Forces demining capacities;
- Continue provision of support to BHMAC daily activities.
- IMAP's funding shortfall for 2007 amounts to US$450,000.
- DDP's funding shortfall for 2007 is set at US$630,050 and the project is scheduled to end in December 2006 as the Italian funding had not been secured for 2007.
- The training plan for further nationalization of the TMAC was initiated. Internal training continues. External training is ongoing. Two staff members recently returned from MAX exchange training in Azerbaijan.
- After concerns were raised in September that the 2006 targets would not be achieved, productivity and cost effectiveness of mine clearance has more than doubled since 2005. This has been partly due to the success of the recently initiated Mine Detecting Dog project. In 2006, 277,913 square meters have been cleared at a cost of $6.69 per square meter compare to 129,156 square meters cleared in 2005 ($13 per square meter) and 60,321 square meters cleared in 2004 ($21 per square meter). Clearance productivity is expected to further increase in 2007, however the purchase of a demining machine would contribute reaching the goals.
- A total of 72 landmine victims continue to participate in a 2-stage Income Generation project. Twelve survivors were provided with prosthesis, psychological assistance or medical treatment in orthopedic centre and National Research Institute. Funds were raised from private donors for medical and economic assistance to six survivors. MRE volunteers conducted 153 meetings with community members in affected rural poor communities and 1792 people received mine awareness activities. MRE monitoring was conducted in four districts (Isfara, Kanibadam, Ashat, Shahriston). More than 300 MRE publications were distributed and a new MRE flip chart presentation has been designed. Monitoring of two safe playgrounds in Zarafshon Valley (Mogiyon & Amondara) is on-going.
- Continue supporting the TMAC in order to increase the national mine action program capabilities to assess challenges, plan initiatives and mobilize donor support for future projects.
- Ensure coordination of activities between governmental agencies and other stakeholders on realization of the mine action programme.
- Support government efforts to implement an complete the reporting requirements of the APMBT
- Continue to further increase cost effectiveness and productivity of mine clearance in order to further reduce the impact of landmines on poor communities.
- Support mine survivors with appropriate socio-economic, medical and psychological rehabilitation assistance
- Funding is a challenge. No victim assistance project received funds in 2006.
- TMAC conducted a study on the needs of mine clearance in Tajikistan, and it was recommended that mechanical clearance be introduced. The program is currently looking for funds to purchase a demining machine which will greatly contribute to improvements in productivity and cost-effectiveness of mine clearance, and government's obligations towards the APMBT.
Current funding shortfall for 2007:
- The budget for mine action in 2007 tallies $6,127,997 of which $595,000 have been committed so far.
- The National Regulatory Authority (NRA) became fully operational and almost fully staffed.
- NRA hosted a legislation workshop facilitated by GICHD.
- UNICEF hosted an MRE strategy workshop with assistance from GICHD.
- Technical Working Groups for MRE, Clearance and Victim Support met at the NRA for the first time during the last quarter of 2006 and will continue on a regular basis. Participants were from Government, commercial organizations, UXO/mine action NGO's, developmental NGO's, donors and UN.
- All UXO sector datasets have been uploaded into a single National Database accessible through the NRA website ( www.nra.gov.la )
- National Standards were distributed to all stakeholders for review and comment. The Standards will be revised and finalized in January 2007 ready to be submitted to the Government for authorization.
- MAG signed MOUs with the Government for work funded by the Humpty Dumpty Institute and for support to the French developmental NGO Triangle.
- FSD continued clearance in support of WFP food for work programme.
- NPA continued to support UXO Lao through technical Advisors.
- UXO Laos received 132 new Ebinger 421 locators funded by Japan, implemented a new "enhanced technical survey" procedure adopting a more risk management approach than before and finished the year having exceeded their clearance target by 115% . 1,824 hectares were released to beneficiaries.
- Community Awareness: 528 villages visited more than 140,908 direct beneficiaries. This is 99% of the 2006 work targets.
Achievements in 2006:
- Area Clearance: 1,996 hectares cleared with more than 319,061 direct beneficiaries. This is 109% of the 2006 work plan.
- Survey Tasks: 936 villages visited, completing 1,559 tasks.
- Roving Tasks: 667 villages visited, completing 1,489 tasks.
- UXO removed/destroyed: 79,653 items (554 big bombs, 42,997 bombies, 248 mines, and 35,854 other UXO). It should be noted that cluster Bombs (Bombies) make up the largest items cleared.
- Implement the recent GICHD Risk Management Study recommendations and frame the criteria for task clearance, prioritization or cancellation in government policy.
- Improve the National Database making it more easily accessible and usable. IMSMA v4 will be brought to Laos in the first quarter of 2007 for consideration and possible use.
- Operationalise National Standards and initiate external Quality Assurance and Control.
- Design and institutionalize a comprehensive casualty data gathering and management system.
- Capturing all UXO casualty information in an institutionalized and sustainable system.
- Improved inter-sectoral linkages between Mine/UXO Action and development.
- Formalizing UXO sector legislation through Government.
- Review and revision of the National Strategy, "The Safe path forward".
- Designing and implementing a pre and post-clearance survey system with developmental follow-up assistance to maximize post-clearance use of land.
- There is optimism across the UXO sector and donor support is strong, but there are still gaps in pledges to cover all agencies 2007 plans.
3. Update from UNICEF:
KEY ACHIEVEMENTS: October - December 2006
National Training of Trainers workshop on Solution-Based Mine Risk Education (MRE):
From 9 to 16 October, UNICEF, together with the National Intersectoral Commission for Demining and Humanitarian Aid (CNIDAH) organised a 6-day Training of trainers' workshop on solution-based Mine Risk Education for mine action operators. There were over 90 participants from international and local NGOs implementing MRE, all CNIDAH provincial liaison officers, provincial teacher training officers and other CNIDAH staff from all over Angola. There was a lively discussion on how Angola can best adapt this new methodology. Lessons learned from MRE organisations such as the Association of Aid and Relief (AAR) of Japan and Danish Church Aid (DCA), which are actually implementing solution-based MRE projects, were included to provide a developed background on strategies that did and did not work. At the end of the training-seminar, many participants requested that the next training seminar be held in the field so that they can see and learn from the actual projects already implemented in villages.
Event on the Mine Ban - Ottawa Treaty:
On 4 December, UNICEF, together with CNIDAH, supported the local NGO 'Club de Jovens' to organise the "National Conference of Art against Mines" and the "National Conference to Ban Anti-personal mines" to celebrate and promote the, "Mine Ban - Ottawa Treaty" in Huila Province.
The National Conference of Art against Mines (4-9 December) took place at the exhibition centre called Nossa Senhora do Monte. The Vice Governor of Huila Province, who is in charge of Provincial Mine Action, opened the events. Mini-instructors, groups of school students, trained by local NGOs to teach MRE in schools, performed theater pieces, poems, songs and dancing to pass on MRE messages to other children and adults. About 100 people participated in the opening ceremony. At the exhibition centre, drawings on mine risks painted by school children for the drawing contest were exhibited and the winner of the best painting was announced on 9 December. Mine Action organisations who implement projects in Huila, including the CLUB de Jovens, AMIGA, Handicap International (Belgium and France), INAD, and the Prosthetic Centre, had exhibition booths and displayed information boards about their activities, equipment such as mine detectors, uniforms, prosthetics, and educational materials.
The National Conference to Ban Anti-Personal Mines was held to discuss on the Angolan Government's activities to fulfill their commitment on the Ottawa Treaty. The Vice Governor of Huila presented a plan on how Huila province has been implementing Mine Action Activities to fulfill the obligations for the Ottawa Treaty. The UNICEF representative talked about UNICEF's commitment to Mine Action, especially for MRE and how it encourages and supports Angolans to fulfill the obligations of the Ottawa Treaty. CNIDAH's section representatives for demining, MRE, mine victim assistance and stockpile destruction presented their activities to fulfill their obligations on the Ottawa Treaty. After their discussion, participants asked critical questions to the presenters to clarify issues. Active discussion was exchanged especially on issues concerning victim assistance and stockpile destruction. The entire session was broadcasted via radio.
Both events were broadcast widely by national and provincial media. Through national radio systems an estimated 12 million people received information on these events; and through national TV news an estimated 7 million people received information on these events.
MRE through National NGOs in the most mine affected areas:
UNICEF continues to support NGOs to implement field-based MRE in most mine affected provinces. MRE projects have been on-going in Uige, Huila, Malange, Moxico and Kuando Kubango throughout this reporting period.
In this reporting period, UNICEF distributed the following additional materials to the NGOs in the field: 7,000 "Story Cards"; 7,000 teachers guides for Story Cards; 3,475 Jogo de Paz; 7,200 MRE posters; 480 T-shirts for MRE mini-instructors (children); 500 plastic bags; 7,000 MRE pamphlets targeted for drivers; 100 new uniforms for the community-based MRE instructors.
Provincial MRE Training for School Teachers:
In collaboration with local NGOs, 220 teachers were trained in Puri municipality in Uige.
Community and school based MRE:
74,000 people received mine risk education. This was possible through efforts by MRE teams, MRE Community Volunteers and school teachers who have received the MRE Training-of-Trainers. In cooperation with the Eritrean Demining Authority (EDA) and the Ministry of Education, the establishment of MRE school clubs in all regions is on-going.
Sensitization efforts are reinforced by the broadcasting of MRE radio programmes in five languages. Journalists are encouraged to visit MRE teams and affected communities to enrich the programmes.
160 Parent Teacher Association (PTA) members, sub-regional and village authorities from highly landmine/UXO/ERW impacted villages that are receiving resettled IDPs were trained on MRE. In doing so, the capacity to provide MRE services in the village schools increases and the risk of children being injured is minimised.
Material Development and Dissemination:
To support school MRE clubs, 56 MRE kits supplies were procured and provided to the Ministry of Education. 200 MRE school clubs were provided with the necessary supplies such as stationery for the implementation of the school-based MRE activities.
Monthly MRE meetings are organised by the EDA with the participation of all mine action partners of the country i.e. government line ministries, NGOs, civil societies, international organisations and the UN agencies such as UNDP, UNMACC and UNICEF (as co-chair). During such meetings, all agencies present their respective monthly action plans, map out common programme activities, and share good practices and problems encountered.
MRE Materials Review:
A comprehensive review of materials available in Iraq has been completed in November. Different types of materials from eleven organisations and government agencies working in Mine Action were included in the review. The purpose of the review was to analyse the gaps in the consistency and accuracy of messages, appropriateness of the messages as per the target groups, adequacy to address the problems and safe behaviour, recommend required changes, and to suggest an overall package as a basic minimum resource tool. This will ultimately help to prepare/ develop a package of appropriate materials for MRE with consistency of messages and appropriate to address the problems of target groups. The results of the Review will be presented to all stakeholders in a workshop in January 2007, and a package of generic Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) material will be prepared with consensus.
Short Term MRE in the North:
A short term MRE project in northern Iraq (Sulyemaniah and Khanaken) covering 10 contaminated villages has started in December. The project is implemented by a local NGO called DARASTAN Group for Child and Media in coordination with the regional mine action centre-General Directorate for Mine Action (GDMA). The project aims to reach 400 children and adolescents, mainly shepherds and their families through participatory approaches. The project will also partially support the production of a child magazine with MRE messages, information on safe behavior, human rights, and child rights, which will be used for targeted beneficiaries as well.
UNICEF supported project with INTEROS:
The project concludes in January 2007 and has achieved so far:
- The Training of 200 Master Trainers was completed in November. The Master Trainers are mobilised to train 2,000 other teachers.
- MRE IEC materials for teachers and children were developed, printed and disseminated in October-December. The materials included: one Magazine for children called "Our Friends" with poems, stories, puzzles and games related with warning, informative, and behavior change messages; Color Book for primary school children with MRE messages; A Plastic Bag for stationeries for children and teachers with warning message; and one Cartoon on MRE.
- Ongoing follow ups of community-based MRE in Nassiriah and Basrah governorates.
- More than 15,000 men, women and children including community members, IDPs and returnees received mine risk education and knowledge about safe behavior in their areas.
- 158 Community Volunteers trained, and a network established for community liaison, follow up on MRE and to monitor behavior change in project areas.
- Five national NGOS from Baghdad are trained on MRE techniques to cover at risk populations and communities.
- Four teams have been trained as trainers on MRE and each team has four members.
In December, the UNICEF Child Protection Section and the Laos UXO National Regulatory Authority (NRA) prepared a plan of support for 2007. This plan will include the development and piloting of new safety messages based on findings and recommendations from a UXO risk assessment study which was conducted with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and finalized in September 2006. Other activities planned for 2007 are a workshop on Monitoring and Evaluation in MRE and a regional workshop on MRE issues.
A four-day UXO Risk Education Strategy Planning Workshop was held, with technical support from the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), with UNICEF and the Lao Youth Union. The translation of the IMAS Best Practice Guidelines for MRE is continuing and this Lao version document will be reviewed in early 2007.
Support for development of UXO legislation and advocacy for the universalisation of the Mine Ban Treaty compliance with relevant treaties and other international instruments, in particular the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and relevant human rights instruments is ongoing.
As UNICEF increases support and collaboration with the UXO NRA and the development and piloting of new risk reduction strategies, UNICEF continues to seek new funding to expand support in this area.
Ongoing surveillance of victim-activated explosions:
The newly established national surveillance systems on victim-activated explosions, based on media reports (UNICEF) and victim reports (NGO 'Informal Sector Service Centre' [INSEC] and supported by Handicap International), allowed the organizations to emphasize, improve and guide their mine action activities in advocacy, risk reduction strategies and victim assistance. One hundred forty-five new civilian casualties from victim-activated explosions have been reported in 2006 and a significant increase of victim-activated explosions has been identified (86 incidents in 2006 compared to 47 in 2005).
Retrospective survey on victim-activated and intentional explosions:
Media-reports of all types have been analyzed by UNICEF, with a longer term trend analysis perspectives (three years instead of one), in order to 'quantify' the different data and to observe different types of recurrence over time (i.e. seasonal recurrence).
UNICEF provided technical advice to the UN mission during the preparatory negotiations for the "Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies", signed on 28 November 2006. UNICEF supported the facilitation of the UNMAS technical assessment mission (TAM), as part of the general UN TAM mission, which had the mandate to prepare the report of the Secretary General on Nepal's request for UN assistance in its peace process.
The Nepali Campaign to Ban Landmines organized a seminar on the 'Comprehensive Peace Accord and Identification and Destruction of Landmines/IEDs' where both sides, the UN, the ICRC and civil society could share their views on future prospects for mine action in light of the new Agreement.
Field test of the MRE Aide Memoire:
One of the key components for the prototype of the emergency MRE kit has been field tested in one of the most affected districts, with a scientific approach by UNICEF and the Red Cross Society. 380 questionnaires have been analyzed.
UNICEF convened the monthly Mine Action Working Group with civil society (a network of 15 NGOs, the Red Cross Society and OCHA) and organized bilateral meetings. The role of the working group is to coordinate and prioritize prevention activities; the development of MRE tools, activities and proposals; the development of advocacy activities for the Mine Ban Treaty and the CCW; and Victim Assistance.
Handicap International's report:
After six weeks in the country, an international consultant from HI completed a mine action assessment in the country. Together with the HI country office and INSEC, the report 'Explosive Remnants of War and Landmines in Nepal: Understanding the Threat. Situation analysis and recommendations for future action' has been issued in late December.
Field Epidemiology For Mine Action Course (FEMAC):
A delegation comprising members from four organizations (Handicap International, ICRC, INSEC and the Demining Unit of the Nepali Army) were invited by UNICEF and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a comprehensive regional training in Field Epidemiology for Mine Action in Cambodia.
Russian Federation, North Caucasus
Mine Risk Education:
UNICEF, with financial support from the European Community Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), continued to strengthen the MRE school course through one-day trainings for teachers, organised and delivered by the NGO 'Voice of the Mountains'. A total of 154 teachers benefited from the trainings in Groznensko-selskiy, Urus-Martanovskiy, Vedenskiy and Achkhoy-Martanovskiy districts of Chechnya. In parallel, VoM continued to deliver MRE presentations for affected communities in the above-mentioned districts, thus covering some 2,245 children. MRE drama presentations have also been organised by UNICEF, with financial support from the Swiss Government, for children living in Vedenskiy, Shatoiskiy and Sharoyiskiy districts of Chechnya. A group of 58 children from the same districts have also been trained in staging techniques by actors from the State Chechen Drama Theatre. Upon receipt of decorations and stage costumes from UNICEF, these children will start organizing MRE drama presentations for their peers.
With the aim of further building the capacity of professionals who are working directly with children, MRE trainings have been organised by UNICEF for primary school teachers from Nozhaiyurtovskiy and Vedenskiy districts. New MRE materials, developed with ECHO financial support, have also been distributed to all participants.
During the reporting period, UNICEF continued to closely monitor the mine/UXO incidence trend through its 15 data gathering monitors, and with the financial support from ECHO. Five new casualties were reported in October, November, and December 2006. A total of 3,065 civilian casualties have been registered by UNICEF as of 28 December 2006.
Children from affected communities continued spending their free time at the 31 leisure centres established by UNICEF with support from USAID, ECHO and Germany. Different entertaining programmes are being organised by local NGOs for the children in the centres.
Assistance to Mine/UXO Survivors and Children with Disabilities:
Within its survivor assistance programme, and with financial support from the German and Swiss Governments, and the Dutch National Committee for UNICEF, UNICEF continued to provide child mine/UXO survivors with prosthetic and orthopedic appliances, in partnership with Grozny's Prosthetic Workshop. A total of 38 children completed their treatment course within the reporting period. In addition, UNICEF also supports the provision of physical rehabilitation to children with disabilities, in partnership with the Republican Clinical Hospital in Grozny. Some 13 children completed their treatment during the reporting period, thus receiving physiotherapy procedures and re-amputation operations.
At the Psychosocial Centre in Grozny, which is supported by UNICEF through the NGO 'Let's Save the Generation', and with financial support from Germany and the Swiss Government, psychosocial support is also being provided to mine/UXO-affected children. Some 34 children from Grozny and Shalinskiy district have been receiving psychosocial treatment through group and individual counseling as well as music, dance, and drawing therapies.
In the framework of its activities, which are aimed at promoting the social integration of children with disabilities, UNICEF continued to support its vocational training project in tailoring and carpentry for children living in Grozny, Achkhoy-Martanovskiy and Urus-Martanovskiy districts of Chechnya, through its local partner (Society for the Disabled), and with the financial support from Germany and the Dutch NATCOM. Some 60 children are currently benefiting from the project.
During the reporting period, UNICEF supported Mine Risk Education capacity building and coordination in Mine Action in the following areas:
Development of MRE programmes through mass media and IEC materials:
At the local level, people from different ethnic groups in affected areas of 3 provinces including Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue continued to learn about mine risks and preventive measures through MRE messages broadcasted on either radio or television in both national and ethnic languages and through posters. At the same time, a number of children in Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces have learned about mine risks and preventive measures through illustrated story books.
Community and school based mine risk education:
UNICEF continued to support community-based MRE activities, which use the form of child to child education through artistic performances with MRE messages, and which create space for children to play and learn about UXO/mine risks and preventative measures, such as week-end play-ground, quizzes and camping events, for example. These activities reached both adults and children in affected areas of six provinces including Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An & Ha Tinh. In addition, UNICEF supported the expansion of mainstreaming MRE into primary school education in Quang Tri province by providing training to all primary schools managers and satellite trainers throughout the province.
Capacity building and coordination:
A number of review activities took place at provincial and national levels to draw lessons learned and experience for future planning and interventions. In addition, translation of international standards for MRE into the Vietnamese language was available for reference. This is a starting point for establishing national standards for MRE and will serve as a foundation for the coordination of MRE activities.