1. Due to the extended Sudanese Eid holiday period and the shortness of the month of February this report will combine the reporting period of January and February into a single report.
2. This reporting period has seen significant clearance activity in Nuba Mountains and the realisation of a cross-line training course where personnel from both GoS and SPLM controlled areas have been brought together for joint de-mining training. A number of visits have been hosted and briefings given to donors and interested mine action organisations.
3. The Machakos Peace Talks have now resumed with emphasise on the subject of Security. A Machakos led peace agreement will likely result in a cessation of hostilities and commencement of the six-month pre-interim transition process. The ceasefire would be monitored or observed by an international structure. UN DPA and DPKO have joined the talks for this session.
4. As a prelude to DPKO joining the Peace Talks the UN STA was invited to brief representatives from DPKO. This briefing took place on 23 January 2003 at UNMAS HQ, New York; representatives from OCHA, UNICEF, UNDP and UNOPS were also present. The briefing focused on current mine action situation in Sudan, post conflict requirements and mine action responsibilities to be included in any future ceasefire document.
5. During the period 26 January to 2 February the DFID UK mine action advisor, Mr Alistair Craib, visited Sudan. The purpose of his visit was to assess current UK expenditure to the UN Emergency Mine Action Programme in Sudan and review potential DFID UK continued support to the Programme.
6. Throughout the visit he was accompanied by Mr Matt Baugh, First Secretary, UK Embassy, Khartoum. Representatives of the GoS, national and international NGOs as well as the UN RC ai and UN OCHA Chief were meet in Khartoum before travelling to Nuba Mountains where Clearance Operations were visited as well as the Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) Evaluation/Accreditation location and JMC HQ. GoS State, military and security officials were also met.
7. On 31 January and 1 February this visit combined with a delegation from the Canadian Government (Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)).
8. Both groups visited the DCA run joint de-mining training and the DCA tented camp at Um Sirdiba and had the opportunity to witness individuals from both GoS and SPLM areas sharing sleeping/eating facilities and working together in the common cause of addressing the mine contamination threat in Nuba Mountains.
9. With the facilitation of JMC, both groups were then able to partake in a general meeting with the SPLA leadership in Kauda. Topics discussed were current landmine usage and possibilities to commence destruction of mine/UXO stockpiles.
Mines Advisory Group (MAG)
10. The director of MAG also accompanied this visit with the intention of building upon their MOU agreement with GoS and SPLA.
11. Their intention following this visit and discussions with the UN STA indicates that MAG will attempt to raise funding, and develop a proposal, to support the Technical Survey requirement for the Nuba Mountains. Further discussions in Geneva confirm this and the proposal is currently being prepared.
Steering Committee on Mine Action
12. On 2 February, the UN STA gave a formal presentation to the Steering Committee on Mine Action. The presentation focused on the current situation regarding mine action in Sudan and the immediate needs following any general ceasefire and/or peace agreement.
13. Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the Survey Action Centre (SAC) followed up after the presentation and both indicated intent to begin activities in Sudan.
GoS Military Engineers/Internal Security/Military Intelligence
14. On 26 February, the UN STA gave a formal presentation to personnel from the GoS military, security and military intelligence communities. The briefing was facilitated by HAC with the intention of broadening these organisations interest and understanding in mine action activities.
GICHD EDD Specialist
15. Following a request from UNMAS the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) deployed an EDD specialist to Sudan to appraise the evaluation/accreditation area and to give guidance on the best use of EDD teams in Nuba Mountains. Mr Connie Akerbloom arrived in Khartoum on 25 February and following issue of the necessary GoS travel permit, travelled to Kadugli on 1 March. He will spend a week in that location and then debrief findings to both GoS and UN STA upon his return.
Cross Line Activity
16. DCA have successfully consolidated their agreement with SPLM and GoS and commenced a joint de-mining training course in Nuba Mountains on 7 January 2003. The course takes 20 SPLM based personnel, under the organisational umbrella of OSIL (SPLM based NGO) and 20 GoS based personnel, under the organisational umbrella of JASMAR (GoS based NGO), brings them together in a tented training camp and will instruct them in basic de-mining techniques. The course is due to finish on 12 March and each component will then deploy to mine clearance tasks under the tasking co-ordination of the National Mine Action Office.
17. This approach is fully supportive of the principals and spirit of the Nuba Mountains Ceasefire Agreement and in accordance with the GoS/SPLM/UN tri-partite MOU. Many obstacles to this notable event have been encountered and DCA are to be commended for their perseverance and success in meeting and resolving each challenge as it occurred.
18. The current DCA funding will soon be expended and additional donors are required to sustain and expand this ground breaking cross-line activity.
19. The regular fortnightly mine action co-ordination meeting for Nuba Mountains was held in Um Sirdiba on 22 February. This landmark meeting, for the first time, brought together mine action actors from both GoS and SPLM areas, in Sudan, and marked a significant milestone in the development of a true cross-line mine action programme. The meeting was not only attended by NGOs, but GoS and SPLA military, along with a representative from the SPLM HQ Mine Action Committee, were also present.
20. The cross-line mine action technical committee, consisting of UN STA and representatives from SPLM HQ and SCBL, also met on 22 February at Um Sirdiba and key co-ordination issues were discussed and resolved. During this meeting the SPLM representative raised concerns that whilst much activity was taking place in GoS controlled Sudan, a corresponding and equal amount was lacking on the SPLM side. The UN STA recognised this and agreed to explore ways to address this disparity during the coming months.
21. Fighting in Upper Nile continues between various militia leaders and their supporters, OLS staff in Yambio have been re-located. An OLS vehicle was ambushed outside of Lokichoggio this weekend, killing the driver.
22. The Southern Sudan Mine Action Co-ordination Office is now established in Rumbek and the UN TA is continuing with field assessment trips and data gathering. The Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) is now fully installed and previously gathered data is currently being entered. In accordance with GoS/UN/SPLM MOU the System will be exclusive to SPLM controlled areas and information will only be released with the consent of SPLA.
23. The Lokichoggio/Kapoeta road remains the focus of interest and a number of follow up assessment missions have been conducted. The presence of mines along this route are blocking access routes to key areas and forcing the bulk of all food/aid relief to be delivered by air; all at tremendous, ongoing cost. Should this route be properly cleared of a mine/UXO hazard the resulting dividend in terms of increased movement and transit of humanitarian and logistic supplies would significantly reduce the cost of humanitarian intervention in South Sudan.
24. An outline proposal to provide the core capacity/combination of Technical Survey and Clearance assets has been prepared and indications of funding support are necessary to allow planning and preliminary deployment to occur so that maximum and immediate benefit is gained from any Machakos settlement and subsequent stabilisation of South Sudan. A Machakos initiated ceasefire agreement would rapidly provide the appropriate circumstances necessary for a sustained mine/UXO clearance operation. Should appropriate clearance assets be deployed against this type of threat the location of the actual hazard may be identified, isolated and quickly cleared. Based on current information, it is believed that this may be progressively achieved over a 12-month period. The UN TA, in Rumbek, will continue to build a logistic support dossier to assist any future clearance operation regarding the key Lokichoggio/Kapoeta/Rumbek supply route and operational planning will continue to provide the best possible circumstances for any future funded operational clearance assets.
25. In accordance with paragraph 18 above, the UN STA will explore ways of increasing current support to SPLA controlled Southern Sudan.
26. In November 2002, UNOPS issued a request for proposals for an integrated mine detection dog and manual clearance capacity. The tender was evaluated in December 2002 and a contract was awarded to RONCO Consulting Corporation. Two integrated mine detection dog teams and manual deminers deployed in January 2003 to Kadugli, Nuba Mountains and became operational on 17 February 2003. These operational assets will assist in better defining the mine problem in the region and will also assist in promoting peace between the parties by opening routes and allowing for freedom of movement.
27. The operational branch of the Mine Action Co-ordination Office is now located in its own office space within JMC HQ/Tilo. The Information Branch will be established in Kadugli centre as soon as the pledged monies are available. Once this is complete the IFAD location will be closed down.
28. Mine clearance operations in the Miri Hills region have been commenced to coincide with the opening of a new JMC Sector HQ. These two, combined, activities have already encouraged several hundred IDPs to return to this fertile and rich area. RONCO are ferrying in water on a daily basis and working with JMC to re-drill the destroyed water wells.
Sudan Landmine Information Response Initiative (SLIRI)/ Landmine Action-UK (LMA)
29. No information currently available.
Dan Church Aid (DCA)
30. A small team of Kosovo Albanian deminers has been deployed temporarily to enable the EDD Teams to start work whilst local personnel are selected and trained. This combined manual/EDD team are following up on the areas of the minestrike last year, in the vicinity of the El Hamra-Um Sirdiba road. Accreditation and Licensing of their Manual Clearance Team has been completed as well as temporary accreditation for the EDD teams. Full EDD accreditation will be achieved in March, when the Evaluation/Accreditation area is operational.
RONCO EDD Teams
31. RONCO is now established in a tented field camp in the Faruk al Krup area of Miri Hills, Nuba Mountains. All pre-operational administration is completed and they became fully operational on 17 Feb 03. Accreditation and Licensing of their Manual Clearance Teams has been completed as well as temporary accreditation for the EDD teams. Full EDD accreditation will be achieved in March, when the Evaluation/Accreditation area is operational.
32. WFP are enhancing this clearance task with a Food for Work programme that supports the return of the displaced villagers and provides for a labour force to upgrade/rehabilitate the road as it is cleared.
33. A US Department of State combined manual and EDD team has also been pledged to support JMC. Unless JMC has specific tasks for this asset it will co-locate and enhance the existing RONCO clearance capacity.
Mine/UXO Clearance Statistics
34. The clearance results for the period under report are as follows:
Currently no clearance activity.
El Hamra - Um Sirdiba Road
|This is the last portion of the route from GoS Kadugli through to SPLA Kauda. When complete and upgraded, will provide an all weather route for delivery of humanitarian aid.||Estimated to be complete by 15 March. JMC are standing by with necessary resources to upgrade.|
Farek al Krup area of Miri Hills
|This is a rich and fertile area of Nuba Mountains with a once thriving community. The combined mine clearance of routes and suspected areas, coupled with re-drilling of the water wells will both encourage and establish a stable environment for those returning.||
35. WFP deployed a specialist consultant from the Swiss Federation for De-mining (FSD) to conduct a feasibility and requirement study for clearance of key routes across Sudan. The consultant deployed through both GoS and SPLA areas, has now returned to Geneva and a report is awaited.
Landmine Impact Survey (LIS)
36. During the Steering Committee for Mine Action briefing in Geneva a stated requirement for a prompt Landmine Impact Survey was followed up by a number of organisations and the Survey Action Centre (SAC).
37. SAC are planning to develop a 2 Phase LIS: Phase 1 in Nuba Mountains and Phase 2 to expand throughout affected areas of Sudan as the situation allows.
Landmine Safety Handbook
38. The country specific insert to the generic Landmine Safety Handbook has now been revised and updated. New draft is with UNMAS/NY and a new print, in both English and Arabic, will be run in due course.
Mine Risk Education (MRE)
39. The project cooperation agreement between Sudan Red Crescent - Kassala branch and UNICEF implementing partner for the Emergency Mine Risk Education (MRE) in Kassala, has now been completed. This was a three-month project with the aim to set up an MRE and incident database using the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) Field Module. Two SRC staff members have been trained on how to enter data and an MOU between UN (on the behalf of the National Mine Action Office) and SRC on the handling of such data has been signed.
40. 24 SRC volunteers have been trained on disseminating MRE messages using direct presentation methods to five IDP/refugee targeted areas in Kassala state. The targeted areas are: Dublawait, Wad Sherifi, Adrman, Gulsa and Wad Elhelew. During this period MRE messages reached 14,940 IDP, of which 31% women; 47%children; 22% men. A TV spot has been developed, field tested and broadcasted 3-5 times a day to the local TV/Radio stations. Radio included a 15 minutes warning spot in 3 local languages and was broadcast 5 times a day. This project has also improved the technical and managerial skills of the SRC MRE unit.
41. Whilst SRC have developed an MRE project curriculum, the first of its kind in Sudan, it does not clearly relate to an identified methodology and corresponding target group. This further highlights the need for an objective Needs Assessment.
42. The TOR for the MRE Needs Assessment have now been agreed between all parties - GoS, SPLM, UN and MRE-Advisory Group. It is agreed to establish a Needs Assessment - Task Force (NA-TF) that will include one representative from the GoS Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, one from the SPLM Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency and one from the UN. The role of the NA-TF will be to:
a. Coordinate and supervise the whole process.
b. Provide technical guidance to the selected consultant(s)/ agencies/ NGO
c. Advise UNICEF where and when appropriate
d. Participate in the selection committee for recruitment of the national and international agency/consultant(s)
e. Revise questioners, checklists, and reports prior to their endorsement.
43. The individuals and organisations involved in this will be agreed upon and selected during the coming weeks. The posts for the National MRE counterpart and the Victim Assistance counterpart have been advertised and the selection process will also be completed in the coming weeks.