Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
December 31, 2006
Inside this newsletter:
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 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.
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:
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
III. EUROPE AND THE CIS
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.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Current funding shortfall for 2007:
Achievements in 2006:
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:
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.