Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
September 30, 2006
Inside this newsletter:
I. POLICY, TREATY IMPLEMENTATION, INFORMATION AND RESOURCE MOBILIZATION
Tenth edition of the Portfolio of Mine Action Projects
The tenth edition of the Portfolio of Mine Action Projects features overviews and project outlines for 29 affected countries/territories in addition to a set of Global activities. The 2007 Portfolio continues to see a high level of participation by national authorities, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes appealing for funding. A record 116 appealing agencies submitted proposals for this Portfolio, compared to 103 in 2006, 91 in 2005 and 83 in 2004. There are more cases of joint appealing agencies than in previous years, including many NGO and UN agencies partnering with government bodies.
The combined budgets of all projects in the 2007 Portfolio total US$ 429 million. A portion of the funding required - US$ 111.7 million - has already been secured by some appealing agencies, leaving a funding shortfall of US$ 317.5 million. Africa leads again with the most projects (127) but Asia continues to lead with the highest funding appeal of US$ 189 million.
The 2007 Portfolio has an unprecedented level of clearance, mine risk education and victim assistance project requiring funding to address the humanitarian and socio-economic impact of explosive remnants of war, such as unexploded ordnance, cluster munitions and improvised explosive devices. Projects under the "multiple" pillar, addressing capacity building and integrated approaches, account for the remaining funding appeal.
The Portfolio is tentatively scheduled to be launched in Geneva and New York on 13 November 2006. Copies of the Portfolio will be distributed to MASG members. Next year's Portfolio will also be available at www.mineaction.org beginning in January 2007.
Portfolio Country Team members, and Country Portfolio Coordinators (CPCs) in particular, are engaged in the production of the Humanitarian Appeals (often known as Consolidated Appeals or CAPs) to ensure coherence between the proposed response to the landmine/ERW problem presented in the Portfolio and the humanitarian appeal. Depending on the humanitarian priorities in a given country, mine action might appear in a CAP as a distinct sector or as part of a larger sector such as "protection", "health" or "education". This year, there are 6 countries common to both the Portfolio and the Humanitarian Appeals Process – Burundi, occupied Palestinian territories, Uganda, Nepal, DRC and Sudan. Since the Portfolio was finalized prior to completion of the 2007 CAP it does not fully indicate which Portfolio projects are also included in the CAP. This information will appear in the electronic version of this Portfolio at www.mineaction.org.
The Ninth International Meeting of Mine Action Programme Directors and UN Advisors
From 2 to 6 July, UNMAS, in conjunction with the GICHD, hosted the Ninth International Meeting of Mine Action Programme Directors and UN Advisors in Geneva. The meeting covered topics such as, gender, victim assistance, surveys and surveillance, regional experiences, development mainstreaming, transition and exit, and risk management. Some 150 representatives of governments, international organizations, mine programmes and non-governmental organizations participated in the Meeting and produced lively discussions. Meetings of the Steering Committee on Mine Action, the Forum of Mine-Affected Countries also took place, and the Mine Action Support Group met immediately afterwards. Evaluations by the participants indicated that a large percentage of them found the programme to be highly useful.
Advocacy and Treaty Implementation
From 18 to 22 September, the seventh meeting of states parties to the Ant-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty took place in Geneva. In addition to discussion of matters relating to implementation of the APMBT and the meeting of various contact groups, states parties addressed such topics as the entry into force of Protocol V to the CCW, the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, universalisation of the APMBT, and land release. Extensive attention was devoted to discussion of Article 5 of the APMBT andconcern over the possibility thatsome countries might not comply with their deadlines. Voluntary templates for extension requests and for declarations of completion were discussed, though no formal action was taken on them. A UN Mine Action team statement was delivered, which reviewed several actions undertaken by the UN to achieve the four strategic objectives described in the current 5-year mine action Strategy. The UN mine action team also sponsored a session on Lebanon, which devoted particular attention to the heavy use of cluster munitions in the recent conflict with Israel.
IACG-MA Cluster Munitions Working Group
In September, Mr. Guehenno, Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping, sent a memo to the Chairman of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) recommending that the IASC reiterate its 2003 call for "a freeze on the use of cluster missions until effective legal instruments that resolve humanitarian concerns are in place "We await the IASC's response.
IACG-MA Steering Committee on Gender and Mine Action
The Steering Committee on Gender and Mine Action of the IACG-MA organized a workshop on gender equality in Dubai from 5-7 September 2006. The purpose of the workshop was to advance gender equality in specific mine action programmes managed or supported by the UN. The workshop represented one element in a multi-faceted strategy to achieve gender equality in mine action programmes. The workshop was merely a starting point, and the action plans developed by the six programmes represented in Dubai (Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, occupied Palestinian territory, Sudan, and Yemen) represent a commitment by programme staff, headquarters colleagues from many parts of the UN system, NGO partners and donors to provide the political will and commitment, resources and expertise required to move ahead. DANIDA and CIDA co-sponsored the workshop through contributions made to UNMAS.
The six country programmes participating in the workshop have been challenged to become models of gender-sensitive mine action programmes. Participants will discuss their action plans with their supervisors and colleagues and refine them or amend them as required. The Steering Committee on Gender and Mine Action will remain in contact with the country delegations to determine how HQ colleagues/organizations can support the implementation of the country action plans and the various recommendations emanating from the workshop. The Steering Committee will also consider how to take up recommendations directed at HQ.
Adoption of a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
On 25 August 2006, the Eighth Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities (the eighth session) adopted a draft text of the Convention and a draft Optional Protocol. An advance unedited version is available at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc8adart.htm. The eighth session took place at UN Headquarters from 14 to 25 August 2006. Formal adoption by the 61st Session of the General Assembly should take place by early December 2006. By early 2007, the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) will prepare certified copies of the Convention in all official languages of the United Nations, after which a signing ceremony will take place. UNMAS will promote ratification and implementation of the Convention.
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 3rd Quarter - July to September 2006
Common Humanitarian Fund
Gender and mine action
Rapid Response Plan
Total = $11,376,503.07
Confirmed Pledges to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action for the third quarter July to September 2006
Amt. donor currency
Sudan - LIS
Support through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security for the third quarter July to September 2006
Amt. of earmarking/US$
Several meetings took place during this period in which technical issues were discussed and new information exchanged. The National Directors meeting, in July, in Geneva, provided the opportunity to meet many field based operators and the annual meeting of the IMAS Review Board was held at the end of the week.
The US DoD held their annual Requirements Workshop in July and the first meeting of the CEN Workshop on Personal Protective Equipment was held in Geneva. This Workshop will establish a standard against which demining PPE should be tested.
Several trials also took place this quarter. The Japanese machines, selected at the meeting in Tokyo in June, were put to the test in Cambodia and the third trial in the series of the Standard Testing of Metal Detectors began at last, after a long delay, in Croatia. Results of both these trials will be available on the ITEP website (www.itep.ws). However, the equally long awaited trial of the effectiveness of bees in detecting landmines was regrettably cancelled at the last minute. A new trial, if allowed to be conducted, cannot happen now until the spring of 2007.
IV. DEVELOPMENTS IN UNMAS/DPKO PROGRAMMES
In Afghanistan operations have continued, including preparations for shifts to winter locations. Over summer, in excess of 6.5 million square meters of minefield and 29 million square meters of former battlefield have been cleared, while 7.4 million square meters of minefield and 3.95 million square meters of former battlefield were surveyed. This brings the totals for performance since 1989 to 420 million square meters of minefield and 630 million square meters of former battlefield surveyed, and 369 million square meters of minefield and 753 million square meters of former battlefield cleared. Over summer, this work has been implemented by 125 manual clearance teams, 44 mechanical teams, 33 mine dog groups, 76 survey teams, and 60 EOD teams, under the supervision of 21 Quality Management teams directed by the UNMACA. 90 mine risk education (MRE) teams are also operating nationally including community and clinic based personnel, mobile cinemas and encashment centers, and during 2006 they have reached over 720,000 people in direct campaigns. In 2006 there have been over 360 injured and 60 persons killed according to statistics, but this is considered to be under-reported.
Security continues to be a problem in the country, with operations in the south and eastern areas disrupted both by security incidents and military operations being undertaken by international and Afghan military forces. Additionally, a number of direct attacks have occurred on mine action teams and personnel, including hijackings, thefts and kidnappings. UNMACA continues to monitor the security situation and adjust operations to ensure security of personnel and assets.
Funding for the programme continues to be unstable, with confirmed resources for humanitarian mine action identified only through the end of 2006, and a remaining shortfall of US$1.7million before full support of existing capacity can be achieved. Additional funding for 2007 will be critical to enable continued operations, and to assist in the transition to full Government responsibility, a process that has been hampered recently by changes in Government personnel.
Responsibility for mine action has been assumed by the Government of Burundi, and UN support to the national mine action coordination centre was transferred from UNMAS to UNDP in August 2006.
The nationwide emergency survey was completed in May 2006, allowing the MACC to prioritize mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) tasking and to develop a national mine action plan. Mine/ERW clearance of the three most affected southern provinces along the Tanzanian border (Makamba, Ruygi and Rutana) is ongoing according to previously developed plans. Operational activities are implemented by two international NGOs, the Swiss Foundation for Demining (FSD) and DanChurchAid (DCA).
With the additional EU funding of 1 million euros (EU funding totals 5 million euros) the UNDP Partnership for the Future Mine Action Centre (MAC) is funded until 31 December 2006. The project has focused on clearing the remaining Turkish Forces minefields in and around Nicosia city, within the UNFICYP administrated buffer zone. Work has progressed well with only one of the original thirteen minefields remaining to be cleared. Once completed, the buffer zone in the Nicosia area can be declared mine free.
The Turkish side has agreed to conduct a joint General Impact Survey (GIS) with the MAC to identify additional minefields for clearance. The information gathered from the GIS will be used to develop a strategy for the clearance of the remaining minefields in the buffer zone.
The EU-funded PFF Landmine and Ordnance Clearance project has substantially contributed to the reconciliation process in Cyprus by removing physical barriers such as mines from crossing points between the two sides. The project has in effect been instrumental in underpinning the EU green line regulation. Furthermore, it has addressed various other humanitarian issues. For example, the opening of new crossing points has allowed people from both communities to commute more easily. Farmers are now able to harvest crops from their lands that were plagued with landmines, which were inaccessible since 1974. The idle land brought back into productive cultivation has enhanced economic development. To date the project has successfully completed 26 tasks, releasing over 1.5 million m² of land.
When two communities agree to remove lethal barriers between them, as they have in Cyprus, it’s a promising sign of their future intentions. Landmines affect the lives of all Cypriots, regardless of whether they live inside or outside the buffer zone. It can be said that, minefields in Cyprus represent a "real physical and symbolic divide between" the two sides.
Support to MONUC through deployment sites and routes verification and clearance, and assistance to the DDR programme, in eastern DRC (Ituri, Kivus and North Katanga) will continue within the coming months. In the meantime, four international NGOs are continuing to conduct emergency survey and mine/ERW clearance, and to proceed with stockpile destruction in different parts of the country (Katanga, Kisangani Region and Equateur). When the new government takes office, UN efforts will focus on the development of national mine action institutions and capacities through the involvement of UNDP. In this regard, UNMAS is considering leading an inter-agency assessment mission to the DRC within the coming months.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) remains a threat in the Temporary Security Zone and adjacent areas. Local communities in these areas are still facing difficulties in carrying out their day-to-day activities.
The Mine Action Coordination Center (MACC) received two reports of mine/UXO incidents in July 2006. Both incidents occurred in Sector Center. One boy was killed and another one sustained injuries from the incidents. There were no reports of mine/UXO incidents in June 2006.
The MACC continued to provide support to UNMEE’s Peacekeeping Force, to the UN Military Observers and to the demarcation project of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Boundary Commission (EEBC). In addition, the MACC is tasked to support humanitarian demining operations in the Mission area. During the reporting period, by coordinating demining assets of the Peacekeeping Force elements and the commercial clearance contractor of MECHEM, the MACC cleared 593,111 square meters of an area and 539 kilometers of road. The UNMEE MACC Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Teams operating on both sides of the Temporary Security Zone destroyed 207 unexploded ordnance (UXO) and 4 anti personnel mines.
The two MRE teams of the MACC carried out MRE activities to mine affected communities in Sector West and Sector Center. During the reporting period the MRE teams focused more on recently repatriated communities from IDP camps. The teams provided MRE to 4,104men, women and children.
The MACC conducted mine threat assessment surveys in villages in Sector West and Sector Center. The surveys were carried out to support various agencies with the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes of origin. The MACC is also carrying out a minefield cancellation survey in the sectors in order to identify new minefields.
The MACC continues to reorganize its structure to be able to fully support a demarcation of the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Due to the political situation the increase of the clearance capacity for demarcation has been on hold.
Lebanon- Rapid Response
The 34 days of hostilities between Israel and armed elements based in Lebanon resulted in extensive UXO contamination in the south of Lebanon, mainly in the form of unexploded cluster bomblets and sub-munitions, with more limited contamination in other parts of the country. The UN Mine Action Team invoked the Inter-agency Rapid Response Plan to support Lebanese authorities, namely the National Demining Office (NDO), address clearance and mine risk education needs and support humanitarian agencies and the deployment of an expanded UNIFIL.
A Mine Action Planning Group, including UN agencies and implementing partners, was formed and convened meetings on 27 July and 9 August. In addition to holding a donor meeting at UNMAS on 10 August, the Mine Action Team utilized the MASG network to issue three letters, on August, 18 August and on 19 September, updating donors on the scope of the problem, the operational response and funding requirements.
In Lebanon, the NDO, working in Beirut with a UNDP technical advisor and an UNMAS coordination officer and in coordination with the Mine Action Centre south Lebanon managed by UNMAS, planned and prioritized the response. The National Mine Risk Education Steering Committee, with support from UNICEF, launched a mass media awareness campaign for refugees in Syrian and for people throughout Lebanon.
While the total number of UXO in south Lebanon is unknown, as of 10 October 2006, 770 individual cluster bomb strike sites have been identified. Reported casualties total 126, with 18 killed and 108 injured, mostly from cluster munitions. Two of the dead and 38 of the injured were below the age of 18. Clearance is being undertaken by the Lebanese Armed Forces, Mines Advisory Group (MAG), BACTEC and the Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA). The BACTEC teams and a portion of the MAG teams are contracted through the UN Rapid Response Plan. Already over 40,000 cluster bomblets and sub-munitions have been destroyed. Additionally, the United Arab Emirates, which funded Operation emirates Solidarity (OES) from 2002-2004 to clear Israeli minefields in south Lebanon, has initiated OES 2 with the contracting of BACTEC to clear the remaining pre-2000 minefields (Area 6) near Nabatiya and ArmorGroup to address a large number of the cluster strike sites.
Donor response to the Flash appeal, Early Recovery proposal and the UN three letters distributed through the MASG has been very encouraging and UNMAS would like to extend sincere thanks on behalf of the Mine Action team to all donors who were in a position to contribute. As of 30 September, UNMAS reported $15 million in confirmed and unconfirmed pledges through the Voluntary Trust Fund, which does not include funding for OES 2 and other bilateral contributions. The UN Mine Action team will continue to update donors on resource requirements, which are evolving as the full scope of the problem is fully understood. Additional financial resources will allow for more clearance capacity that will reduce the time required to eliminate the threat to the populations in south Lebanon.
In the reporting period, mine action personnel from the UN Mine Action Office (UNMAO), the national authorities and implementing partners have attended training courses at the International Mine Action Training Centre (IMATC) in Nairobi. The courses were run by Cranfield University (UK) and funded by the US State Department.
The Egyptian Military Demining Company EOD Team reported that they had disposed of 70 PM-1 sub-munitions in the Julud Area of South Kordofan between 1-12 August. Following positive feedback from a quality assurance visit, the Pakistani Demining Company EOD teams have been issued with accreditation certificate and are awaiting orders to deploy from UNMIS.
MRE information was broadcast on the new Juba-based UN radio station "Miraya" in July and August. Discussions are underway about carrying out similar broadcasts on a regular basis. MRE teams from the national NGO JASMAR continued to target IDPs and returnees in Kosti camp and Kosti wharf, as well as children in primary schools and travelers in Rabak bus station. A team is also working at Kadugli bus station, delivering safety briefing to travelers and returnees.
Mine action activities have remained restricted by the onset of the rainy season in most areas of operations in both North and South Sudan. However route verification and clearance efforts continue despite adverse weather conditions in most places where activities are being conducted.
Highlights (clearance activities):
Nimule and Nasito: An 8m corridor has been cleared through the dangerous areas between Nimule and Nasito.
Juba-Yei Road: Clearance is underway of the Anti-Personnel/Anti-Tank minefield in the Mile 40 area.
Wau-Aweil Road: Phase 1 of this task has been completed and the road between Wau and Gette has been cleared.
Wau: The Kenyan Demining Company has completed BAC (battle area clearance) of the Wau railway station.
Juba area: The Bangladeshi Demining Company is working towards clearing the minefield SW of Jebel Kujoor. Two EOD teams have continued with the clearance of a DA at the foot of Jebel Kujoor which contains numerous UXO in varying conditions.
Kadugli area: The Egyptian Military Demining Company is currently working on mine clearance at Julud Village and expects to complete the task by 30th October 2006.
An increase of mine/UXO incidents during the reporting period, especially in Eastern Sudan was observed. Reports indicate three mine/UXOs incidents in Kassala in late August. On 27th August, 4km south of Hamashkorieb, a military vehicle drove over an anti-tank mine, partially damaging the vehicle and injuring 5 soldiers. On Monday 28th August, six persons from one family were killed by an UXO in Girba town. And on 29th August one person was injured and his camel killed by an anti-personnel mine 2km south west of Hamashkorieb. Several UXO incidents were also reported in South Sudan, Nuba Mountains and Darfur.
With a grant from UNMAS and MINURSO logistical support, an international NGO (Landmine Action of the United Kingdom) has started deploying and training local personnel within the POLISARIO controlled areas of Western Sahara in August 2006. Landmine Action will conduct mine/ERW clearance operations, as directed by MINURSO, in order to ensure safety of MINURSO personnel as well as the local population, and to prepare for a safe repatriation of Sahrawy refugees.
The following is a summary of key achievements, challenges, objectives and funding issues for UNDP-supported country programmes, presented by region:
I. AFRICA REGION
II. ARAB STATES REGION
III. EUROPE & CIS REGION
Bosnia & Herzegovina
IV. LATIN AMERICA REGION
MRE through national NGOs in the most mine affected areas:
UNICEF continues to support NGO partners in implementing field based Mine Risk Education (MRE). UNICEF is supporting NGOs both technically and financially to implement six-month MRE projects in four provinces: Uige, Huila, Malange and Moxico, and a four-month MRE project in Kuando Kubango. UNICEF also provides educational materials including Jogo de paz, story cards, posters, leaflets, and T- shirts to be used by the NGOs.
In Uige province, the NGO Secut-Bagos’ focuses on the following MRE activities:
During the six-month project period, Secut-Bagos estimates that there will be approximately 40,000 people, including 25,000 children, 5,000 men, and 10,000 women benefiting from their activities.
In Huila province, the NGO Club de Jovens focuses on the following MRE activities:
During the six- month project period, Club de Jovens estimates there will be about 12,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries.
In Malanje Province, the NGO Palanca Negra focuses on implementing the following MRE activities:
During the six-month project period, Planca Negra plans to implement 288 sessions of MRE instruction. There will be estimated 12,960 beneficiaries.
In Moxico Province, the local NGO Exama de Ableha focuses on implementing the following MRE activities:
During the six-month project period, Exama plans to implement 553 MRE sessions, with an estimated 25,000 beneficiaries benefiting from their activities.
In Kuando Kubango province, UNICEF is supporting local NGOs Club de Jovens and Acadir to jointly implement MRE sessions specifically for the organized Angolan returnees coming back from Zambia. From September to December, an estimated 3,000 Angolan returnees will be airlifted from Zambia to Menongue and will be temporarily hosted by the UNHCR Returnee Reception Centre in Menongue. Club de Jovens will inform these returnees about landmines and UXO contaminated sites in Angola.
Training of Trainers: MRE for School Directors:
In August, 180 elementary school directors from all 18 provinces were trained to use MRE materials "Story Cards" in classrooms as part of their one-week training session to learn basic pedagogical skills and methodologies, school planning and management, parental involvement, and other issues such as MRE and HIV/AIDS. Through a cascade teacher training system, these directors will train other directors in their provinces, and municipalities.
During the MRE session, the CNIDAH MRE coordinating body provided an outline of Angola’s mine contamination situation and what is new in terms of Mine Action in Angola. They provided a description of the Landmine Impact Survey and the most common ways for children to get injured by mines and UXO.
UNICEF presented "Story Cards" and how these materials can be used, and each school teacher received five sets of Story Cards, a user’s guide and MRE posters. Taking this opportunity, UNICEF distributed surveys to find out: 1) how many schools are implementing MRE; 2) Whether MRE is integrated into school curricula; 3) What kind of materials are used in schools; and 4) Whether schools need MRE training or NGO specialists to visit their school to train more teachers. This survey found that over half of the schools are already teaching MRE in some way, but the other half have not done so. The majority of directors feels that they still need much more support to teach MRE and also requested creative educational materials such as story cards. UNICEF has arranged NGOs in provinces to follow up the requests made by directors in their provinces.
Production of materials:
UNICEF, together with CNIDAH, produced 100 sets of MRE materials called "Seasonal Calendars" consisting of a set of 20 picture cards illustrating activities such as fishing, harvesting, hunting, fetching water, and mushroom hunting. Each activity is subdivided by target group: men, women and children. This tool is used to identify different risks that different target group face in different seasons. UNICEF will distribute this tool during the CNIDAH workshop on training of trainers for Solution-based MRE approach (9-14 October). CNIDAH will train NGO trainers and CNIDAH liaison officers on how to use this tool to let villagers who live with mine threats to clearly identify risks in their community (including for women, men and children).
Monitoring and evaluation missions:
During June, July and August, UNICEF MRE staff conducted field missions to Kuando Kubango, Huila, Uige and Moxico to: 1) Monitor and evaluate on-going activities; 2) Establish a good relationship with local vice-governors and CNIDAH liaison officers who are in charge of Mine Action in Provinces; and 3) Understand problems that people face everyday living nearby mine risk areas. In all provinces visited, the MRE projects were appreciated by Vice Governors, CNIDAH Liaison officers, Provincial Departments of Education, and traditional village leaders. However, there are still tragic mine accidents occurring and Mine Action resources are very limited especially in the remote provinces. As UNICEF is the major player in MRE, many government officials, including representatives from Provincial Departments of Education and the Vice Governor’s offices requested our continuous support to play a key role to support effective MRE programmes.
Mind Over Mines - UNICEF’s project uses children’s entertainment to teach life-saving lesson.
When Gayane and Hayk were going to play as usual in their forest meadow, they had no idea what danger faced them.
"Did you know that our forest is full of mines", asks the ginger-feathered Bird quickly approaching the children from behind the colorful tree.
Since May 2005 within the framework of the UNICEF MRE Programme, Gayane and Hayk, the Bird, and other entertaining and educational characters have been cast in "Don’t Touch - Those are Mines!", a puppet play produced for children in Armenia’s "risk zones". Traveling to villages on the border with Azerbaijan, where unmapped and unmarked mines left from the Karabakh war are a hazard, puppeteers teach a life-saving lesson.
What are mines made of? What do they look like? Where they are often placed? How do we recognize areas we should avoid? Answers to these and many other questions get the children carefully following the performance, listening to the stories and advice given by the puppet characters.
Regular performances were held in the 27 most mine affect communities in border regions of the country. In addition to the puppet performances, photo-exhibitions were held in different provinces. Photos by well-known photographer German Avagyan tell about children who suffered from mines.
To ensure that messages on the danger of mines are passed on to children in a continuous manner, UNICEF, jointly with the National Institute of Education of the Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia, has developed two manuals for teachers on how to communicate important messages to school children. The manuals, called "Safety in Our Surrounding", give general information about mined territories of Armenia, as well as the risks connected with them. They provide information on safe behavior in those areas and other essential knowledge, of vital importance.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In the period from July to September 2006, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continued to provide technical, financial and logistical support to the BiH Mine Action Centre (BHMAC) and to implementing agencies involved in MRE and Landmine Victim Assistance (LMVA).
At the beginning of July, an MRE Policy Board Meeting was held by BHMAC, where board members provided suggestions and recommendations on the educational video material for persons employed in forestry, agriculture and construction, developed and presented by the Italian NGO Intersos. As part of the school-based project, Handicap International presented a set of MRE materials for the education sector.
As well in July, an LMVA Policy Board Meeting was held, were the BHMAC information technology department presented the final draft version of the LMVA database and information system. Forms for reporting and obligations of LMVA organizations were introduced and explained.
In August, the newly finalized Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Planning of MRE activities in affected communities and the SOP for Integrated Planning of Mine Action, developed by BHMAC in cooperation with UNICEF, were submitted to the BiH Demining Commission for adoption. During this period, based on previously developed Regulations and Guidelines for Accreditation of MRE organizations, the BHMAC started analyzing documentation submitted by different organizations requesting issuance of MRE accreditations.
In September, with UNCEF support and as part of MRE quality control development, the second part of the MRE Management Training for BHMAC operational staff was held, where seven community MRE plans developed by BHMAC regional offices were successfully presented.
The BHMAC continued with daily activities related to management, quality assurance of MRE in the country, preparing the documentation needed for the development of MRE plans, collecting and approving MRE plans, as well as updating the MRE database. The BHMAC provided assistance to local mine action NGOs with analyses, recommendations and technical opinion on the MRE and LMVA project implementation and proposals.
The local NGO AMI, supported by UNICEF, finalized implementation of a project cooperation agreement aiming at the development of eight MRE plans in high impacted communities, as well as the development and implementation of one municipal MRE plan, including urgent marking in two priority areas, followed with basic MRE sessions. Through this process the needs related to mine problems of specific communities were identified and elaborated in the community MRE plans. Finalized plans were presented and approved by municipal Civil Protection Departments, presidents of local communities, the BHMAC and Entity Army de-mining teams.
The UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Programme is currently supported by contributions from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the UNICEF National Committees of Ireland and Austria. The focus of the programme on local capacity building for integrated mine action requires long term planning and multi annual funding. The current financial situation of the programme is of serious concern, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina urgently requires 500,000 USD for 2007.
From July to September 2006, UNICEF continued to support the implementation of MRE in targeted provinces in collaboration with the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC), NGOs and other partners. UNICEF, in close collaboration with the UNMACC and Handicap International - Belgium, developed and prepared MRE tools such as 500 training displays, 105,000 school books, including MRE warning cartoons, 210,000 leaflets with warning messages in the local language (Kirundi), 47,000 posters, 4,000 MRE training manuals for MRE community liaison agents, 100,000 calendars for children in Kirundi with MRE key messages and 1,000 T-shirts.
The UNMACC, under its transition strategy, has now transitioned to a national agency called the Burundi Mine Action Coordination Centre (BURMACC). Since August 2006, the BURMACC is now responsible for all humanitarian mine action activities.
UNICEF, with the BURMACC, provided support for training and equipping 26 MRE community agents within two national NGOs (ASSOPED and AVMIN).
UNICEF and the BURMACC are currently finalizing plans for an additional 215 primary school teachers and 120 school directors and provincial supervisors from the Ministry of Education to be trained to implement MRE activities during the last quarter of 2006.
UNICEF, in collaboration with the BURMACC, is also supporting development of plans for a small and targeted victim assistance programme in partnership with national and international NGOs to respond to some of the identified needs of disabled children in Burundi.
In Cambodia, UNICEF continues to provide financial and technical support to National MRE Coordination, Community-Based Mine Risk Reduction, as well as Mass Media and School MRE for Children’s projects, and the provision of prostheses, wheelchairs, other mobility devices and other assistances to children and women victims of landmines/UXO and other causes of disabilities.
From 1 July 2006 to 31 August 2006, 57 casualties were reported by the Cambodian Mine/UXO Victim Information System. In the total of 57, 41 were men, 13 were children under 18 year and 3 were women. Thirty-three casualties were injured or killed by UXO and 24 were from mines. Fifty-two of the total casualties received MRE.
The National MRE Working Group has developed two sets of posters showing all risk activities related to UXO and all MRE instructors have changed their approach from educating affected communities in general to more targeted clients especially, for those who are working everyday in the suspected mine/UXO areas and scrap metal collectors. In addition, all MRE teams have been trained on how to remove and destroyed items identified by communities immediately after items are being reported.
UNICEF continues to provide technical, financial and logistical support to the Anti-personnel Landmines Observatory and to implementing agencies involved in MRE and Landmine Victim Assistance (LMVA) in Colombia, focusing on the development of activities as outlined in the national mine action plan 2004-2009.
UNICEF continues to support the decentralization process and the 18 departmental committees for mine action already established. UNICEF also advocates for the development of the remaining 11 departmental committees in order to complete the process of decentralization. Each of the 18 departmental committees has established its own action plans and budgets and UNICEF has provided technical assistance in both the design and implementation of the localized plans, through ongoing advocacy, MRE and Attention to Victims, participating in meetings, sharing methodologies and materials, and project activities. Funding has been provided for institutional capacity building activities with departmental governments of Antioquia and Cauca.
UNICEF continues to support the national NGO Paz y Democracia and its work across 15 municipalities of Antioquia and a further 15 in Montes de Maria (Sucre and Bolivar) and in six municipalities of Magdalena Medio in mine action for communities, public workers, health and other community institutions. Included in the sessions were: general awareness of generic mine action issues and more specifically MRE.
UNICEF continues to provide technical support to the Centre for Integral Rehabilitation in Colombia (CIREC), Paz y Democracia and the Departmental Committee for Mine Action of Antioquia in the development of new MRE materials for use with different population groups. UNICEF is currently conducting field tests of a Facilitator’s Guidebook for MRE with community facilitators and affected communities and hopes to have this finalized in the coming months. This guide will be used with a package of other didactic materials to assist in decentralizing MRE activities to departmental level, training local promoters to manage relevant information and work with communities to develop practical solutions to live safely in a mined environment.
Through a cooperation agreement with COSUDE, the Swiss Development Corporation and the National Landmines Observatory, UNICEF is supporting two institutions, CIREC and Handicap International Belgium, in the Departments of Bolivar, Sucre, and Antioquia to provide integral physical and psycho-social rehabilitation for a total of 265 people with disabilities, including 65 mine victims identified to date.
UNICEF has completed the translation of the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) Best Practice Guidelines into Spanish and intends to develop curricula and training programme based on them in the later part of 2006. A pilot project of teacher training is currently being developed for the department of Antioquia with a range of partners, led by UNICEF, a first experience to trial the newly developed set of materials for use in schools, which includes an agenda for teachers, activity and notebook for children.
UNICEF led the process of the development of the Mine Action Portfolio for Colombia, which was completed in September, coordinating partners towards the creation of complementary projects in support of the national mine action plan. A total of 22 projects were developed. UNICEF Colombia invited donors and other interested parties to a side meeting at the Seventh Meeting of State Parties, where the national plan for mine action and on-going programming and gaps were presented.
The UNICEF Colombia Mine Action Programme is currently supported by contributions from the Governments of Canada, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and DFID.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
UNICEF, in collaboration with Danish Church Aid (DCA), has conducted MRE activities in South Kivu, especially in Fizi territory. South Kivu Province is one of the six most affected provinces by mines and ERW in the DRC.
UNICEF and DCA’s project, which were completed from July to August 2006, noted the following accomplishments:
Due to the first round of presidential elections and school vacations, the number of villages and persons reached during this period has decreased and will increase during September and October sessions.
Eastern and Southern Africa Region
The UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office has established a post for Mine Action, Small Arms and Monitoring and Reporting under Security Council Resolution 1612. This recognizes the link between landmines, explosive remnants of war, small arms, and monitoring and reporting. The post supports UNICEF Mine Action in UNICEF country offices, and works on regional initiatives, like the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (IC-GLR), which includes mine action and small arms initiatives. The post will also support countries with lower levels of contamination to streamline targeted MRE into existing activities.
Community and school-based mine awareness activities:
Material development and dissemination:
Monthly MRE meetings are organized by EDA with the participation of all mine action partners of the country i.e. government line ministries, NGOs, civil societies, international organizations and 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.
Field supervision and monitoring:
The project is frequently monitored through joint field visits to the 10 MRE Teams, Community Volunteers and schools where there are MRE School Clubs with EDA and key GSE ministries, notably the Ministries of Education.
Victim Surveillance and Victim Assistance Workshop:
Following the recommendation of the MRE Coordination Meeting, organized by UNICEF in February 2006, a five-day workshop was conducted from 27 - 31 August 2006 on "Victim Surveillance and Assistance Strategy Development for Iraq", in collaboration with the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) and with the support of UNDP, WHO and UNICEF. Approximately 30 participants from the Government (representing north and south both), local and international NGOs, and survivors and UN agencies participated in the workshop. This was the first workshop of its kind, which addressed the issues of establishing a victim surveillance system for mine/UXO victims and assistance to victim/survivors in Iraq.
Victim assistance is one of the pillars of mine action, which has been neglected in post war Iraq. There is a lack of systematic data collection and national database that provides required information to stakeholders and service providers for assistance to victims and survivors. The workshop concluded with a Plan of Action for integrating landmine/UXO surveillance into the national injury surveillance system in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the NMAA. The workshop also agreed to pilot the surveillance in three governorates, two from the south and one from the north. The pilot surveillance is expected to start from early next year in the selected governorates.
With regard to victim assistance, the workshop discussed six main areas: emergency and existing medical care; physical rehabilitation; psychological support; social and economic reintegration; and laws and policies. A Plan of Action was developed for 2006 – 2009, which focused on these six areas. The workshop also agreed to form a "Coordination and Consultative Committee" lead by the NMAA and in coordination with the MOH and the Iraq Medical Association and will include representation of other relevant line ministries and NGOs. This Committee will prepare a basic framework for the assistance leading towards developing a comprehensive victim assistance strategy for Iraq and will coordinate with all the stakeholders.
The workshop was a first step towards integrated victim assistance and reinforced the fact that the area needs concerted support and technical assistance. It provided a forum for all stakeholders of mine action to discuss and share the experiences from northern Iraq that has a well established surveillance and assistance mechanism and also set an example of inter-agency collaboration for mine action in Iraq.
MRE through summer school covering six villages in Sulaymaniah (Kurdistan region):
UNICEF supported a "summer school programme" for MRE in six high and medium contaminated villages in Sulaymaniah. This two-month project (July - August 2006) targeted the primary and elementary school children and especially the shepherds in the six villages. The project delivered MRE through a participatory approach and with recreational activities such as music, drama, story writing, and English language classes. Almost 300 children benefited from this activity. The main goal of the project was to prevent injuries during the summer holidays by engaging children in recreational activities and educate them about safe behavior and risks from landmines and UXO. Sulaymaniah has the highest number of contaminated villages (582, according to the recent ILIS report) and the highest number of recent victims among the northern governorates. The majority of the victims are between 14-49 years of age, and most of them were herding when the accident happened. Out of 582 contaminated communities 41% have primary schools in the contaminated communities indicating that children are still at risk of landmines and UXO. The project was implemented by the General Directorate of Mine Action (GDMA). GDMA is the regional mine action centre for Sulaymaniah governorate.
Landmines and Small Arms Team – NY
The UNICEF Landmines and Small Arms Team conducted its 5th Annual Mine Action Workshop in Geneva from 13 - 15 September. Nineteen field officers attended from 15 country offices and two regional offices. Intense discussions were held around the development of the UNICEF Mine Action Strategy to 2009, small arms and light weapons, mine action in emergencies, UN reform and its implications for mine action and on funding needs and priorities. Specific focus was also devoted to the sharing of ‘best practice’ information on technical issues from mine action programmes in Sri Lanka, Bosnia Herzegovina, the Russian Federation and Colombia; and to the finalization and follow up to the UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence Against Children, which will be officially released at the General Assembly on 11 October.
UNICEF has been working closely with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) for the past three months to conduct a UXO risk assessment study. A stakeholders meeting was organized at the end of September to discuss the findings and recommendations.
In total 1,312 adults completed a Knowledge Attitude Practice (KAP) questionnaire, of which 54% were men and 46% were women. Focus group discussions were held with 14 groups of men and 12 groups of women. A total of 720 children over 8 years of age completed the KAP questionnaire, of these there were 495 boys and 225 girls. Eighteen focus group discussions were also held with children. In interviewing children, UNICEF ethical guidelines were used.
The study distinguished between intentional exposure (i.e. voluntary) to live ordnance, where actors aware of the risk, purposefully exposed themselves to live ordnance, and unintentional exposure (involuntary). While some of the prevention activities may be the same, intentionality is an important variable and particularly relevant in the Lao PDR where UXO injury due to intentional exposure to live ordnance, for example through the deliberate tampering of ordnance for the scrap metal trade is known to be increasing. The assessment found generally a high level of UXO awareness and knowledge of risk taking and risk reduction behaviors. Despite this however, the assessment also found that many people, including women and children, on an almost daily basis, continue to voluntarily interact with live, or potentially live ordnance.
These findings will be used in close collaboration with the recently established UXO National Regulatory Authority (NRA) to inform MRE strategy development as well as the development of new messages for risk populations, especially children who are attracted to scrap metal collection. The UXO Needs Assessment data provides a unique opportunity to assist the government to take the next strategic steps in development of appropriate messages and responses to more effectively target areas and people.
Upcoming activities include a four-day UXO Risk Education Strategy Planning Workshop to be conducted by staff from the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) with UNICEF and the Lao Youth Union. In addition, finalization of the UXO Risk Assessment as well as translation of the IMAS Best Practice Guidelines will continue. Support will also be given to the Community Awareness Technical Working Group of the NRA for the first technical working group meeting.
As UNICEF gears up to support collaboration with the UXO NRA and the development of new risk reduction strategies, the UNICEF office is trying to source new funding to expand support in this area.
Since July, the national surveillance system on explosive device incidents, developed by the Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), has been set up. This new system, based on primary source of information (casualties or/and their families/communities) is working through a network of informants, which extends to the 75 districts in Nepal. The first bimonthly report will be available on the web by the end of October.
In parallel, UNICEF is running its media surveillance system on ED and is in the process of finalizing the first six-month report for ‘victim activated’ incidents (2006), and the analysis of data on ‘victim activated’ and ‘intentional’ incidents for the years 2004 and 2005. This national media surveillance system will analyze data from 2001 up to early 2007. As soon as the INSEC surveillance system, based on ‘primary source of information’, will be completely running, UNICEF will stop its media surveillance activities on ED incidents.
In early September, UNICEF and GICHD facilitated a Workshop on International Norms and Standards governing Landmines and ERW. More than thirty officers from the Nepalese Army, the Armed Police Force and the Nepalese Police attended this event in the army headquarters. The GICHD mission also met officers of the People’s Liberation Army and gave briefings to the ICRC and UN officials.
At UNICEF’s request, GICHD is conducting a multi-country study of marking and fencing to determine whether greater efforts will lead to a significant reduction in casualties and to offer an analysis of the uses and impact of marking as a discipline. In Nepal, one of the eight countries covered by this study, the GICHD researcher completed her mission by the first of September. At the request of the UNICEF country and local offices and the MRE Working Group, the mission ran also an MRE workshop in the Western region devoted to NGOs.
A first prototype of an emergency MRE kit has been developed and disseminated through UNICEF and the MRE Working Group. New tools have been pre-tested in the field by NGOs and the Red Cross Society. This prototype is still in its initial development phase and will be subjected to a formal field test by November 2006. The prototype was presented at the UNICEF Mine Action and Small Arms workshop in Geneva, mid-September 2006, during which it has been decided to send the final Nepali version, early 2007, to all UNICEF country offices involved in mine action.
Ongoing MRE and Victim Assistance activities have been deployed all across the country by the Red Cross Society and the international/local NGOs. Specifically, a set of radio dramas have been developed by the NGO ‘Digital Broadcast Initiative’ with the technical expertise of the MRE Working Group. The content has been field tested in remote areas through listener clubs and the first MRE drama has been aired by a national radio and a network of 20 local radios.
Russian – North Caucasus
Mine Risk Education:
During the reporting period, UNICEF supported the following MRE activities in Chechnya:
With the aim of further capacity building of professionals who are working directly with children, MRE trainings have been organized for primary school teachers from Gudermessky and Urusmartanovsky districts. MRE materials have also been distributed to all participants.
‘Voice of the Mountain’s’ instructors provided MRE presentations to people living in Temporary Accommodation Centres in Grozny, as well as to children in Urus-Martan, Achkhoy-Martan, Gudermeskiy and Groznenskiy districts of Chechnya. A total of 4,600 beneficiaries participated in the training sessions, which are funded by ECHO, as well as the Dutch and UK National Committees for UNICEF.
The State Chechen Drama Theatre and the NGO ‘Let’s Save the Generation’ (LSG) organized MRE drama presentations for children and adults from Shatoiskiy and Vedenskiy districts of Chechnya. During the reporting period, with financial support from the Swiss Government, UNICEF contributed to promoting safe behaviors among some 2,100 children and adults.
Data gathering on Mine/UXO- related incidents:
With financial support from ECHO, UNICEF continued to collect sex and age disaggregated data on mine/UXO-related casualties in Chechnya. As of 31 August 2006, a total of 3,059 civilians have been killed and injured by mine/UXO since 1995 (according to UNICEF’s database). This figure includes 753 children. A slight increase in the number of victims vis-à-vis 2005 has been recorded so far (24 in 2006 vs. 20 in 2005), which may be linked to the increase in population movement into and across the republic.
Within its survivor assistance programme, and with financial support from the German Government 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. With a view to improving the provision of physical rehabilitation to children with disabilities, two one-month trainings has been organized for six technicians from Grozny’s Prosthetic Workshop, with financial support from USAID, in Makhachkala (Dagestan) and at the Albrekht Institute in St. Petersburg.
Psychosocial support is also being provided to mine/UXO-affected children at the Psychosocial Centre in Grozny, which is supported by UNICEF through LSG and with the financial support of Germany. Some 55 children from different districts/towns of Chechnya have been receiving psychosocial treatment through group and individual counseling as well as music, dance, and drawing therapies. In addition, UNICEF also supports the provision of physical rehabilitation to children with disabilities, in partnership with the Republican Clinical Hospital in Grozny.
In the framework of its activities, which are aimed at promoting the social integration of children with disabilities, UNICEF, with financial support from USAID and through its local partner (Society for the Disabled), continued to support its vocational training project in tailoring and carpentry for 38 children living in Grozny, Achkhoy-Martanovskiy and Urus-Martanovskiy districts of Chechnya.
Senegal (Casamance, Senegal region)
Major events over the period included:
"Geneva Call" will visit in October, as well as a mission from the Landmine Monitor.
No additional specific funding was received to date, and priority activities are relying entirely on limited regular resources.
UNICEF is in the process of creating emergency MRE materials, as well as child-to-child MRE materials. The materials will be developed in the context of UNICEF’s community mobilization and are developed jointly with other IEC materials before field testing. UNICEF has been requested by the authorities in charge of Mogadishu to start MRE in the city, following increased UXO contamination during recent combat actions.
Since the beginning the year, at least 200,000 people have been displaced and 1,900 killed.
MRE is becoming a major pillar of the mine action response in Sri Lanka. Most of the mine clearance activities have been put on hold due to the renewed clashes and lack of access to many areas. The main concern is the number of UXO found after the rounds of shelling, bombing and mortar attacks (as failure rates may range from 10 - 30%) that will mainly affect the children and aid workers operating in contaminated areas. There have also been unverified reports of new landmines being laid. For example, from the time of the ceasefire in February 2002, the number of mines/UXO casualties was going down in Trincomalee district from 17 casualties in 2002 to no casualties reported in 2005. Since the beginning of August, six civilians lost their lives in two incidents caused by an anti-tank mine and UXO in Trincomalee district alone, where up to 60,000 persons were recently displaced.
With funding from the European Commission and the Government of Upper Austria, UNICEF has developed a comprehensive emergency mine action plan including MRE and also survivor assistance and advocacy activities. The MRE strategy is now focusing on IDP camps where MRE has been mainstreamed in the newly set up Child Friendly Spaces that offer various services for displaced children (recreational activities, psychosocial support and inclusive education).
A radio campaign has also been developed and four new MRE messages have been put on the air through various radio channels to reach the populations in areas that are still inaccessible.
To reinforce the exposure coverage, the same messages have been burnt onto CDs and audio cassettes and are being used through other channels. Messages are also sent through loudspeakers from the religious centers or from three-wheelers circulating in the towns.
MRE posters have been reprinted and a new Meena comic book about inclusive education and MRE will be released soon. Volunteers and child animators have also received refresher training in drama and communication techniques. Multimedia presentations and TV shows are also used during the evening as a powerful communications tool to reach male adult audiences who are often out of their home during the day.
The MRE NGOs are also the first point of contact to collect information on UXO. Since August 2006, more than 150 UXO reports have been channeled through this network. Local authorities and the demining organizations are responding quickly to the requests through their explosive ordnance disposal teams. Nevertheless, in some instances International demining organizations have not been allowed access to areas and to explosives to destroy the UXO. When this is the case, sand bags are carefully put around the dangerous items as a warning for the population.
As a member of the landmine Ban Advocacy Forum, UNICEF co-organized the launch of the Landmine Monitor report 2006 on 13 September. The event was well attended by the media and representatives of mine action donors, which once again emphasized the urgency for the government to sign the Ottawa Treaty.
Within the framework of the UN Mine Action Office for Sudan (UNMAO), UNICEF continued its lead role for MRE providing coordination, technical and financial support to MRE partners.
During the reporting period (July - Sept. 2006) different MRE activities were implemented targeting different at-risk groups including IDPs, returnees and local communities. These activities, primarily implemented though NGOs, reached approximately 70,000 individuals throughout Sudan.
UNICEF, together with other UN agencies, assisted the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) and the National Mine Action Center (NMAC) to develop a National Policy Framework and a National Strategic Framework for Mine Action in Sudan. The NMAC also recently appointed a new MRE officer within its structure who will be closely working with the UNMAO MRE department, and UNICEF will focus on building her capacity.
In addition, UNICEF together with the NMAA, organized a meeting with the Federal Ministry of Education (MOE) and discussed the integration of MRE into the school system in the states that are affected by mines/UXO. The MOE has welcomed the idea and since the initial meeting it has introduced three persons as focal points for mine action within the MOE. The longer term plan for UNICEF is to focus more on integrating MRE into existing structures and social services and to gradually reduce the number of teams working with NGOs to a level which can provide a rapid response to any emergencies that may erupt. In this regard, work has already started on designing and developing a training package and a kit of MRE materials that would be used for training teachers and/or other community workers.
UNICEF is also working on developing messages and materials for a public information campaign on MRE, which would use different channels of communication including radio, TV, distribution of printed materials and specific information days. At present, materials are being developed for six radio spots, one fiction film and a couple of posters/leaflets.