Mine Action Support for Armed Violence Reduction: Mission Creep or Responding to Wider Security Needs?

SUMMARY

This policy brief is based on the findings of a study undertaken by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) in 2011-12 on the role of mine action organisations in supporting armed violence reduction at an operational level. This policy brief examines the increasing involvement of mine action organisations in efforts to reduce armed violence and promote public safety. It looks briefly at how the focus on AVR has developed and the types of programmes that mine action organisations are implementing, as well as the rationale for this shift from ‘traditional’ mine action to AVR. It concludes with a summary of key findings and lessons learnt.

INTRODUCTION

In 2006, a study undertaken by the GICHD found that there were few examples of existing synergies between SALW programmes and mine action. However, the study noted that there was scope for using mine action technical expertise “…to manage the explosive threat through mines/ERW (Explosive Remnants of War) clearance, SALW collection, and ammunition stockpile reduction, including by destruction and demilitarisation.

”The purpose of this policy brief is to illustrate how an increasing number of mine action organisations are using their mine action technical expertise and their capacities to operate in difficult environments to reduce armed violence and promote public safety. Several organisations now have AVR-related policies, programmes and staff in place. For example:

Danish Demining Group (DDG) has developed an AVR framework4 and is implementing community safety programmes in Somaliland, South Sudan, Uganda and Yemen

Mines Advisory Group (MAG) uses the term AVR5 to describe its work on identifying stockpiles and ammunition, stockpile assistance and safe storage, destruction of surplus and obsolete weapons and ammunition, and marking and tracing weapons

Several organisations are implementing Physical Security and Stockpile Management programmes (eg, DDG, Swiss Demining Foundation (FSD), HALO Trust, MAG, Organisation of American States (OAS), United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)) to improve the security of arm- ouries and storage depots, strengthen ammunition management capacity, reduce the risks of unplanned explosions and prevent theft from stockpiles

Action On Armed Violence(AOAV) is implementing a reintegration training programme in Liberia for ex-combatants, and HALO Trust employs and trains ex-combatants as deminers in Afghanistan, both of which support broader DDR efforts

In addition to mine risk education, Handicap International (HI), Dan- ChurchAid and DDG also deliver SALW risk education to prevent SALW- related accidents, raise awareness and reduce the impact of SALW misuse