DFID Background Briefing: Humanitarian mine action
1.DFID 's Humanitarian Mines Action Strategy , approved in late 1997 and implemented over three years to March 2001,seeks to enhance UK assistance for reducing the social and economic impact of landmines and other unexploded ordnance on developing countries.An initial progress report was issued in March 1999.This Second Progress Report covers subsequent developments.
2.The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use,Stockpiling,Production and Transfer of Anti- Personnel Mines and on their Destruction came into force on 1 March 1999 for the UK and other states which had ratified it by the end of September 1998.By July 2000,The "Ottawa Convention" (or "Mine Ban Treaty" as it is sometimes known)had been signed by 137 states,of which 100 had also ratified.This is remarkable progress for an international treaty (Annex 1).
3.The First Meeting of States Parties was held in Maputo,Mozambique,on 3 -7 May 1999,and attended by States Parties,non-States Parties, United Nations agencies and other international and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).It adopted the Maputo Declaration which called for renewed commitment to rid the w rld f the scourge of landmines.To maintain the international momentum of the "Ottawa Process" over the period until the Second Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2000,five Intersessional Standing Committees of Experts (SCEs)were established.Mozambique and the UK co-chaired the SCE on mine clearance which met in September 1999 and March 2000.
4.Article 6 of the Ottawa Convention requires those States Parties in a position to do so to assist other States Parties.The UK G vernment recognises this obligation and this forms the basis of DFID 's programme of assistance.The Secretary of State for International Development launched our Humanitarian Mine Action Strategy in October 1997,and pledged to raise DFID 's annual bilateral spend on humanitarian mine action from just under £5 million in 1997/98 to £10 million in 2000/01. This has been exceeded already with DFID expenditure of approximately £15 million in 1999/00,including exceptional expenditure of about £6.4 million for humanitarian mines action in relation to the Kosov crisis.In addition,the UK attributable share of expenditure through the European Commission (EC)is provisionally estimated at around £3.3 million for 1999.We anticipate that the £10 million target will be exceeded again in 2000/01.Mine action programmes supported by DFID have c vered 18 countries.They are implemented through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS),UN Development Programme (UNDP),UNICEF,other international organisations,national Mine Action Centres (MACs),and NGOs.
5.The four objectives which make up DFID 's Humanitarian Mine Action Strategy are
- To promote the globalisation of the ban on Anti-Personnel Mines (APLs)and to help developing countries to implement their obligations under the Ottawa Convention;
- To undertake effective programmes of humanitarian mine action in poor countries, strengthening and expanding indigenous capacity where possible;
- To strengthen the international community 's capacity -and particularly that of international organisations -to provide a more coherent,timely and cost-effective response to the global challenge of landmines;
- To encourage technological innovation to meet humanitarian mine action needs,thus improving safety,effectiveness and efficiency.
6.Through diplomatic fora such as the Conference on Disarmament and the Review Conferences on the UN Weaponry Convention ,the UK continues to encourage the widest possible permanent ban on APLs.
7.A country 's status under the Ottawa Convention is taken into account in making decisions on assistance,though in some cases urgent humanitarian reasons may justify support for mines awareness education or clearance even where the government concerned has not ratified the Convention.But opportunities are taken to encourage those countries to move t wards ratification,given that donor assistance helps the host country to fulfil its Ottawa obligations.The status of the country helps determine the form or channel which assistance takes.For example,no assistance through government channels can be considered where re-mining is taking place with the encouragement or connivance of the government.
8.DFID has encouraged NGOs to promote the benefits of adhering to the Convention.For example,a seminar was held in Nigeria to encourage civil society interest in promoting understanding of the Convention,urging the Government to sign and give a lead in a region troubled by several conflicts.DFID has also supported the production of Landmine Monitor, published by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines,which contains annually updated information about the mine problem in each country and how it is being addressed.Advocacy in favour of the Ottawa Convention is also undertaken by UNICEF as part of a DFID-funded programme f capacity building in mine action.
Undertaking mine action and building indigenous capacity
9.About 90%of DFID funding is devoted to country-based programmes of mine action.In turn, most of these funds are applied to the clearance of landmines and other unexploded ordnance (UXOs).
10.Humanitarian mine action contributes towards DFID 's fundamental goal,the elimination of p verty.It also assists in fulfilling more specific objectives,such as the reduction of conflict and the immediate prevention of suffering.The initial impetus for involvement in mine action is humanitarian -to save lives and prevent injuries, and to enable displaced communities to return to their homes by making travel safe,and educating populations on the dangers posed by mines and UXOs.Beyond this,humanitarian mine action seeks to restore (or create)access to resources,such as land,forests and water,and to enable services, such as schools,clinics and public administration, to be safely provided.Once the immediate humanitarian priorities have been met,longer term considerations to sustain the livelihoods of people living in mine/UXO contaminated areas come into play to ensure that the social and economic benefits of costly mine action programmes continue to be maximised.This includes determining priorities for further mine action at local level to ensure that the benefits are captured by the poorest people.
11.Building indigenous capacity is normally justified where there is a mine problem that will take a lengthy period to resolve.H wever,realistic estimates of a sustainable or appropriate level f national capacity should be made:international resources should not encourage the development of expensive,ver-manned institutional structures.
12.In 1999/00,about 90%of DFID 's mine action programme was disbursed through country-level programmes.By August 2000,DFID assistance had been extended to 18 countries summarised below with plans for assisting another two (Ethiopia and Eritrea)under consideration.(Further details are at Annex 2 ).
Figures quoted represent spending since April 1999:
- Afghanistan:£1.7 million through the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan which works with the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan.
- Albania:£80,000 for a mines information liaison officer and explosive rdnance disposal (EOD)training equipment through an EOD unit of NATO.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina:£500,000 through the Government of Slovenia 's International Trust Fund for Mine Clearance in the Kupres region.
- Cambodia:Nearly £3 million for mine clearance programmes managed by The HALO Trust,Mines Advisory Group (MAG), and the Cambodian Mine Action Centre.
- Chad:£270,000 through UNDP towards a Level 1 Survey of the mine threat.
- Croatia:£250,000 through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)in support of the work of the Croatian Mine Action Centre.
- Georgia:About £340,000 through The HALO Trust for mine clearance and awareness education in Abkhazia.
- Guinea Bissau:£20,000 for training and mine clearance.
- Iraq:Support to MAG 's long-standing integrated mine action programme in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq was continued at a cost of £452,000.
- Jordan:The first phase,initiated at a cost of £587,000,of a programme to improve the efficiency of mechanical clearance equipment in support of the Jordanian Army 's humanitarian clearance programme.
- Laos:A further phase of support to tackle the extensive UXO problem at a cost of £833,000 through MAG.
- Lebanon:Some £333,000 through UNMAS and UNICEF for mine awareness education and co-ordination in south Lebanon.
- Macedonia:£52,000 through UNICEF for mines awareness.
- Mozambique:£403,000 through The HALO Trust 's programme in Zambezia province.
- Nicaragua:An initial £283,000 contribution to the new clearance programme managed by the Organisation of American States through the Nicaraguan army in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region.
- Sierra Leone:About £4,500 in support of the UN assessment of the mine threat.
- Thailand:£300,000,through the Survey Action Centre,for a Level 1 survey to identify mine affected areas.
- Yugoslavia -Federal Republic:£6.4 million in support of the UN Mine Action and Co- ordination Centre (UNMACC)emergency clearance programme in Kosov and for mines awareness for refugees in Montenegro.
£6.4 million was spent on humanitarian mine action out of DFID 's total emergency spend of around £107 million in relation to the Kosov crisis in 1999/00.This reflected the seriousness of the UXO/mines problem which caused some 50 casualties per month in the period following the entry of NATO peacekeeping forces into the territory.DFID 's strategy in tackling the mine/UXO threat in Kosov was twofold:to render urgent assistance to address immediate dangers,and to assist the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS)to set up an effective and properly co-ordinated longer term programme.
In June 1999,as soon as hostilities ceased and NATO troops moved in,DFID contracted five organisations (BACTEC,Defence Systems Ltd,European Landmine Solutions,The HALO Trust and Mines Advisory Group) to send 12 self-contained Rapid Reaction Teams to carry out survey and emergency clearance tasks under the direction of UNMAS.The HALO Trust was commissioned to conduct an initial survey of the location of minefields and UXO strikes and provide an early estimate of the size and scope of the problem. DFID continues to support these organisations which are tasked by UNMACC as part of a phased clearance programme to the end of 2000,with commitments of £8.6 million.
DFID supported the establishment of the UN Mine Action Co-ordination Centre (UNMACC)in Pristina,with grants,specialists and equipment.Particularly important was the provision of information technology and expertise,with the support of the UK Ministry of Defence,to develop a local database,Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA),to facilitate co-ordination and programme planning.
With the rapid movement of populations and high initial rates of injuries,mines awareness was crucial.DFID contributed to UNICEF 's mines awareness activities,initially for refugees in Macedonia,Albania and Montenegro and then in support of the resettlement of returnees in Kosovo.
The overall impact has been very favourable.Casualty rates have dropped significantly and UXO/mine clearance is contributing to Kosov 's physical rehabilitation.
13.The progress and impact of country programmes has varied,particularly where there are unresolved conflicts,such as in Afghanistan. On the other hand,working with different sides to the conflicts,as in Georgia/Abkhazia,has made a significant contribution to peace-building.Other programmes,such as Mozambique,have been operating in a fairly stable context,with a clear end in sight for the phasing out of a large scale clearance programme.In several countries,such as Cambodia,the problem will remain a sizeable one for many years;in such a case,developing the capacity of the host country to take fuller responsibility for managing the national programme remains essential.Overall,global mine contamination is being reduced in the absence of re-laying of new mines in most countries,though accident rates remain alarmingly high in some places.Better measures of the wider impact on community development are still needed,and progress towards establishing an agreed approach has been made ver the past year.
14.A common constraint to fuller and more effective indigenisation is limited available management capacity and experience,often to a greater extent than the shortage of technical skills alone.At the request of UNDP,DFID has funded the development of appropriate management training syllabuses and materials,specially tailored for senior staff of mine action centres,with the aim of enhancing this capacity at country level.The first course for senior managers (July-September 2000) was funded by DFID at Cranfield University in the UK.
15.The Kosov crisis required the rapid mobilisation of a range of emergency mine clearance resources,which,for the first time,were selected through a competitive process.(See Kosov box in paragraph 12).We intend to look for further opportunities to widen the range of organisations which undertake mine action and widen the use of competitive selection procedures. This is intended to improve cost effectiveness and incentives for efficiency and high performance standards.
16.A systematic approach to mine clearance is not always possible where violent conflict continues or where there are immediate emergency needs to be addressed.But,where feasible, programme planning should include a full appraisal of the nature and extent of the mine threat and a consequent setting of priorities.The international mine action community is giving growing recognition to the need to undertake such surveys to enable the better planning and deployment of resources.DFID is contributing to the cost of Level 1 surveys in Thailand and Chad to be undertaken by the Survey Action Centre on behalf of the national Governments and the UN.At short notice,DFID also contributed to a brief initial UNMAS survey of the mine threat in Sierra Leone to enable the UN to decide how to tackle it,and to provide essential information for the safe deployment of UN peacekeepers.UNMAS has recently requested DFID assistance to arrange an immediate survey of the mine/UXO threat in the areas of Eritrea and Ethiopia affected by the recent conflict.The survey will facilitate movement within the Temporary Security Zone and the return and resettlement of displaced communities.
17.Finding mines -or confirming their absence -is exacting and dangerous work and there is often no alternative to painstaking manual clearance.The task is time-consuming and labour- intensive.Hence,even when maximum use is made of local resources,clearance operations are expensive.Adequate attention has not always been given to measuring the threat and the consequent benefits of clearance to determine priorities.Cruder measures,such as numbers of mines identified and destroyed,or area of land cleared,do not in themselves indicate how the land is used -what it produces and who benefits from its regained productivity.Therefore,DFID is participating with others in a UN study,managed by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD),which seeks to identify better measures of the social and economic impact of landmines.
18.DFID,in liaison with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence,is also considering how we might help developing countries to dispose of their stockpiles of mines.UK expertise may be useful in advising on means of disposal and safety and quality control issues.The problem is at its most acute in several countries in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Strengthening the international response
19.The UK has actively promoted a strong co- ordinating role for the UN in global mine action, and provided financial,political and technical support for UNMAS as the focal point for mine action.Constraints of staffing,organisation and resources facing UNMAS have been identified. These require decisive action if the full potential of the UN 's role is to be realised and discussions have been initiated with like-minded contributors to international mine action.Meanwhile,UNMAS potential was demonstrated when speedy UK assistance helped them to set up the UN Mine Action Co-ordination Centre (UNMACC)in Kosov , to versee a major new programme.The new UNMAS response in Ethiopia/Eritrea is being modelled on this.
20.The EC 's mine action programme totalled some £18 million in 1999 of which about £3.3 million is attributable to UK.The programme has focused on mine clearance in 7 countries and the development of improved detection systems.We continue to work with the EC towards greater co- ordination to achieve more international effectiveness in deploying available resources.
21.However extensive and effective the resources made available for mine clearance,it is not usually possible to eliminate the mine threat very quickly. Hence mine awareness education remains essential,especially in new or changing circumstances such as the return of refugees and internally displaced persons,or during continuing conflicts and mine laying.Within the context of a long-term partnership with UNICEF,DFID has committed funding for a three-year programme t enhance UNICEF 's world-wide capacity to provide mine awareness education.
22.DFID has also followed up its initial core funding by providing technical expertise and administrative support to the newly founded Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining.The GICHD was set up mainly to assist the UN by providing services for mine action. Staffing and administrative constraints in the UN system do not apply to the GICHD,which is undertaking on behalf of the UN a number of studies and other pieces of work which will promote better understanding of the issues and more effective and efficient ways of proceeding.As part of the programme,DFID is supporting the following:
- Revision of mine action standards and equipment procurement guidelines.
- Study of operational needs -to analyse shortfalls in existing technical capabilities of current mine action programmes in relation to the needs of mine action operatives.
- Socio-economic impact study -the impact of landmine contamination on social and economic development.
- Standards and Criteria
- Measures of Impact and Benefit
- Planning and Prioritisation
- Building National Capacity
25.We are channelling a larger proportion of our new country mine action initiatives through multilateral channels,notably through the UN.This approach encourages greater commonality of purpose among different donors,reduces the administrative burden on individual programme countries and often brings more influence to bear than a bilateral programme alone can do.F r example,in Nicaragua,we are funding (jointly with the USA)a clearance programme in one region through the Organisation of American States and we are joining Norway and USA in funding the Level 1 Survey in Thailand.We have revived our programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina by contributing through the International Trust Fund for Mine Clearance established by the Government of Slovenia.
26.Mine clearance can be speeded up enormously by the application of suitable technologies,though the dream of a single catch-all solution is likely to remain as such.Instead,a range of technologies to suit particular types of soil, terrain,landmine type and distribution has to be deployed.
27.DFID has funded the development,testing and field trials of particular pieces of equipment,for example "The Tempest" vegetation clearance vehicle and the "Pearson Tractor" in Cambodia. DFID,as part of a European consortium,has co-funded development and field trials in Mozambique of an airborne multi-sensor detection system. Where possible,we encourage local production of equipment,such as the "Tempest" in Cambodia.
28.A new mine action research programme (MAR)was launched this year.This encourages inventors,entrepreneurs and mine action operators to make proposals to DFID which will foster promising technological solutions to mine action problems by providing funding for the development of prototypes which can be tested first under laboratory conditions and then in the field.MAR also welcomes proposals for furthering the range of approaches and techniques available to the mine action community for the application of more effective principles and procedures in tackling the global mine threat.Although this initiative is mine action specific it is modelled on DFID 's successful wider Engineering Knowledge and Research Programme.The first call for mine action related proposals,in late 1999,stimulated nearly 40 responses under the themes of minefield survey, mine detection,clearance,operational safety and management systems.Five proposals were shortlisted and final arrangements are being progressed,subject to the outcome of negotiations.
29.The UK has also agreed to join the International Test and Evaluation Programme for Humanitarian Demining (ITEP).Under ITEP,a number of national centres of excellence will undertake the testing and evaluation of equipment and share information.This will reduce duplication and streamline existing testing practices,and promote shared approaches in the provision of technological solutions.The designated UK centre of excellence is the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA)of the UK Ministry of Defence.
Policy and management
30.Within DFID,the humanitarian mine action programme continues to be supervised by the Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department (CHAD).DFID 's particular contribution to removing the threat posed by landmines and UXOs fulfils the UK 's obligations under Article 6 of the Ottawa Convention on International Co-operation and Assistance.DFID works in close collaboration with the FCO and MOD in the Interdepartmental Working Group on Demining,whose reports are lodged in the Library the House of Commons.
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