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Diplomacy in Action

The Mine Action Support Group (MASG) Newsletter -- First Quarter of 2006


Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
May 1, 2006

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Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Washington, DC
May 1, 2006

Inside this newsletter:

1. Update from UNMAS:

I. POLICY, TREATY IMPLEMENTATION, INFORMATION AND RESOURCE MOBILIZATION

New UN mine action strategy finalized

On 20 April 2006 the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action (IACG-MA) adopted the UN Inter-Agency Mine-Action Strategy 2006-2010. The new Strategycomplements the inter-agency policy on mine action and effective coordination that IACG-MA Principals adopted in June 2005. It also reflects lessons learned over the course of the implementation of the UN Mine-Action Strategy for 2001-2005. Above all, the new Strategy is results-based; its strategic goal and four strategic objectives focus on the impact, or the anticipated outcome, of UN mine action by 2010. The previous Strategy listed some 48 activities as "strategic objectives". These were appropriate for departmental and agency work plans but did not assist in the organization of priorities and measurement of results. The content of the new Strategy is a significant improvement.

The text provides a situation analysis describing the assumptions, risks and challenges that define the context within which the UN believes that our strategic goal and objectives can be achieved by 2010. The UN will work in partnership with others but, in light of our own mandates, advantages and resources, and mindful of the responsibilities borne by other key actors in the mine action sector.

The new Strategy reaffirms the UN’s express commitment to supporting adherence to and compliance with the normative framework for mine action and refers expressly to the UN’s commitment to continuous transparent monitoring of progress and periodic reporting on implementation to the General Assembly.

The four strategic objectives are not listed in hierarchical or priority order but are to be pursued simultaneously, as appropriate in each specific country or territory. The Policy spells out all activities of the UN mine-action team, while the Strategy provides a basis for the prioritization of UN efforts. The Policy describes what UN mine action is, how we work together and make decisions as a team, and what the UN team members do in the area of mine action. The Strategy is time-bound, open to review in accordance with changing circumstances, and will serve as a prioritization filter through which the UN will run its activities over the coming five years. With the adoption of the new Strategy, the UN mine action team has a pair of tools that are distinct and mutually supportive.

Portfolio Process

The 2005 End-Year Review was distributed to mine action stakeholders in March and is available at www.mineaction.org. Overall, projects in the Portfolio received US$ 241 million, or 64 per cent of its overall appeal (US$ 378 million) in 2005, with nearly half the funds dedicated to mine clearance projects. Twelve Portfolio countries/territories out of 33, reported received over 50 per cent of their funding appeals. Five Portfolio countries/territories reported having received no funding at all in 2005 - Georgia, Golan Territory (Syria), Iran, Uganda, and Zambia.

An updated version of the 2006 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects, reflecting project and appeal information current as of end of the first quarter of the year, is expected to be available online at www.mineaction.org by end of April 2006.

International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action

The sixtieth General Assembly declared April 4 the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

UN mine action team members, national mine action authorities and partner nongovernmental organizations organized events in 36 countries. Activities held in or organized from New York included:

  • An exhibit in the UN visitors lobby
  • A panel featuring American actor Danny Glover, the First Lady of Angola, Jerry White (Landmine Survivors Network), Kathleen Cravero (UNDP), Richard Kidd (US Dept. of State)
  • A curtain-raiser press briefing on April 3 (Max Gaylard, UNMAS, and the Permanent Representative from Angola)
  • Various media interviews
  • A statement issued by the Secretary-General
  • A UNIFEED segment produced and sent to 5,000 TV newsrooms worldwide
  • A World Chronicle program on explosive remnants of war featuring John Flanagan, UNMAS and Sayed Aqa, UNDP
  • Media advisories and press kits
  • A press trip to Sudan.

Articles emanating from the events of the Day have appeared in more than 300 news outlets worldwide. UNMAS is producing a book of press clippings.

Policy Section visit to Sudan

The Chief of the Policy, Information, and Resource Mobilization Section visited the UN Mine Action Office (UNMAO) in the Sudan in February 2006. She met with government authorities, donor representatives, NGO partners and UN colleagues with UNMAO and UNMIS. UNMIS senior leadership reported excellent coordination with the mine action team and were extremely enthusiastic about the success of on-going mine action projects. UNMIS Public Information colleagues agreed to raise the profile of mine action on the occasion of 4 April and UNMIS Gender Unit staff agreed to familiarize themselves with the work of the mine action team to help mainstream gender considerations into their work. The Chief of UNMIS’ DDR Unit agreed to add a question to the DDR registration form to capture information on the source of a disabled combatant’s injury, as UNMAS would like to know how many combatants were injured by landmines or UXO and to feed this information into victim assistance projects. The national Mine Action Office Director in Khartoum stressed the importance of building local mine action capacity. Efforts are underway to gather and analyze casualty data and to prepare for further data collection on the needs and services available to mine/ERW victims.

Advocacy and treaty implementation

In early April the UNMAS Policy Coordination Officer went to Sudan to assist the mine action authorities in preparing their updated report under Article 7 of the mine ban treaty for calendar year 2005. The report will, inter alia, explain the political and institutional developments impacting on the structure of the country's mine action authorities and describe developments in various aspects of mine action in Sudan.

Policy Coordination

IACG-MA Cluster Munitions Working Group

The IACG-MA Cluster Munitions Working Group has met on a regular basis during the first quarter of 2006 to discuss the UN’s position on cluster munitions.

IACG-MA Steering Committee on Gender and Mine Action

The IACG-MA Steering Committee on Gender and Mine Action has decided to pursue a four-point programme of action to implement the gender guidelines for mine-action programmes:

  1. Finalize the headquarter gender audit of our documents and tools
  2. Develop training materials for field staff
  3. Implementation workshop

    a. Gender training workshop at the upcoming Programme Managers/National Directors meeting in July 2006
    b. Implementation workshop to share experience and focus on the mainstreaming of gender considerations in several programmes
    c. Country-specific follow-up to the implementation workshop, small delegation visits to specific programmes to assist and monitor progress

  4. Individual agency initiatives to gender-mainstreaming of their agency work plans.

II. NEW PLEDGES, EARMARKINGS AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE VOLUNTARY TRUST FUND (VTF)

New contributions

Donor Amount US $Beneficiary
Italy213,010.00Geneva call/ ICBL
NZ239,050.00HQ Coordination
Canada434,480.36HQ Coordination
Canada104,275.29Congo
Canada4,264,028.65Afghanistan
Canada1,391,739.24Sudan
Japan553,665.00Burundi
Total:7,200,248.54  


Confirmed Pledges

DonorAmount donor currency/US $ Beneficiary
UKGBP 1,000,000/US$1,744,524UNMAS
UKUS$ 200,000Lebanon
DenmarkDKK 3,000,000/US$481,092.57Afghanistan
CanadaCAN$ 50,000/US$43,132.58Gender and Mine Action
ECEUR 330,250/US$403,632Sudan


III. TECHNOLOGY

A very successful Technical Workshop, co-sponsored by UNMAS and GICHD and funded by a generous contribution from the Government of Canada, was held at GICHD 15-17 February 2006. A total of 15 mine affected countries were represented along with six non-governmental organizations and four commercial demining companies. The workshop raised many technical issues and the response from the participants was excellent. Many solutions were proposed, and a much clearer definition of user requirements emerged. The proceedings of the workshop are on the GICHD and UNMAS websites.

IV. DEVELOPMENTS IN UNMAS-MANAGED PROGRAMMES

Afghanistan

The Mine Action Programme in Afghanistan (MAPA) continued operations and adjustment to spring/summer locations. Security conditions continued to hamper some operations, but assets were relocated to continue work in secure areas. Work continued on capacity building with the implementing partners, and with the Government of Afghanistan. A strategic planning activity will be held in Kabul on 27 April 2006, in order to finalize the three year plan for the MAPA. This activity will be attended by the Director of UNMAS and the Chief of Programme Support. Reconstruction related mine action also continued, but indications are that funding from these sources will be reduced in 2006 as some projects are completed and some others are not implemented as expected. A recent decision by USAID to extend their current activities for a further three months has meant that some 1900 deminers will not be laid off as planned. However, unless further development projects are initiated or additional funding is found through humanitarian or bilateral sources, the requirement to reduce deminer numbers will materialize in the third and fourth quarters of 2006.

Burundi (ONUB)

The General Community Survey (GCS) that was initiated in May 2005 by the Swiss Foundation for Demining is ongoing and will be completed by the end of May 2006. It will allow for an accurate picture of the landmine/ERW contamination in Burundi and the development of an action plan accordingly. Mine/ERW clearance will begin in June 2006, starting with suspected areas identified as part of the GCS in the Provinces of Rutana and Ruyigi. In anticipation of the downsizing of ONUB, transfer of responsibility for mine action to the national authorities, with UNDP support, is being prepared and will be effective 1 July 2006.

Cyprus (UNFICYP)

The Landmine and Ordnance Clearance project (Demining I) was officially launched on 1 October 2004. It was financed through the European Union-funded Programme "Partnership for the Future (PFF)" managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). UNMAS provides technical support and assistance to the project, as part of its mandate to support DPKO Peacekeeping Missions. The project has been extended under Demining II until 31 July 2006. The clearance has so far released more than 600,000 square meters of farm land within the buffer zone. The next step - if the political situation allows it - will be to extend the clearance to outside the buffer zone. With new funding from the EC, Cyprus might become the first mine contaminated country to be declared mine free.

DRC (MONUC)

During the first quarter of 2006, the Vietnam Veterans Association of America and the Mines Advisory Group resumed their Emergency Impact Survey activities, starting with the area of Gbadolite in the Equateur Province. Following its survey in 2005 of the Northern Katanga District, DanChurchAid is now conducting mine/ERW clearance operations within the priority areas identified by the survey. Part of these activities are funded through the end of the year, but more remains to be done and additional resources are required for increasing the capacities, in particular for surveys.

Eritrea (UNMEE)

Demining operations within UNMEE have gone through extensive changes in the first part of 2006. Due to limitations on the use of helicopters for medevac in Eritrean areas, most of the demining operations have moved closer to the Ethiopian border. Clearance operations are still ongoing in the TSZ, with road clearance and UXO clearance. The UNMEE MACC is now focusing on planning mine action support to the demarcation of the Eritrean/Ethiopian border. This support will use mechanical, manual and mine dog capacity to ensure an effective clearance of the border.

Southern Lebanon (UNIFIL)

Mine/UXO clearance operations continued with Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) team and MAG, near the villages of Sejoud and Kfar Roummane. In spite of the winter season, over 28,000 square meters of mined land was released back to the local communities.

In view of the upcoming deployment of the Chinese contingent replacing the Ukrainian Battalion (UKRBATT) within UNIFIL, MACC-SL has been involved in a joint UNMAS-UNIFIL evaluation mission of the Chinese demining component and has submitted to DPKO-HQs a plan and budget estimate for training and accrediting the Chinese teams once they are deployed in Southern Lebanon. Substantial input and support from the MACC-SL will be required in the next 6 months to ensure a successful transition.

Sudan (UNMIS)

The programme has made several positive impact and progress during the reporting period.

Route verification and clearance activities progressed smoothly, and on 4 April, it was declared by the UNMAO that it is now possible to drive from Khartoum to Kampala to connect north and south Sudan, after the decades of the closure, via Kadugli, Abyei, Gogrial, Wau, Rumbek, and Yei without any landmine or UXO threat. It should be noted however, that the clearance has only been completed to the minimum width (8 meters) for humanitarian traffic in some sections of road, and there are also still several constraints to the freedom of movement, such as destroyed bridges and the security situation in South Sudan which must be taken into consideration.

Survey and clearance activities continued to assist humanitarian and development activities, especially return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). In Kurmuk (Blue Nile state) UNMAO supported UNHCR and WFP by conducting battle area clearance and explosive ordnance disposal in a proposed way station for refugees coming back from Ethiopia, and the first UNHCR convoy, bringing 500 Sudanese refugees, arrived at the way station on 3 April. An additional 4,500 refugees are expected to be repatriated before the end of May. In North Darfur, a comprehensive threat assessment was completed, and all the major routes were verified and/or cleared, and assessed as free from mine/UXO threat.

The National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) was established by the Presidential Decree on 24 December 2005, and an official launching ceremony of the NMAA was held on 7 March 2006, attended by the President Omer Bashir, and First Vice-President Salva Kiir of the Government of National Unity.

Several demining tasks were suspended/relocated as the security situation in Western and Southern Darfur and South Sudan, especially in the South and West of Juba continued to be unstable. Several attacks and ambushes on humanitarian aid workers took place, including an attack on the UNHCR compound in Yei on 15 March, which resulted in the death of one UNHCR officer.

Western Sahara (MINURSO)

UNMAS, in coordination with MINURSO, is working on mounting an ERW clearance and hazardous area survey project in the POLISARIO controlled portion of the territory. Landmine Action UK has presented a proposal for UNMAS to fund through a grant that will allow for 15 months of operations for two explosive ordnance disposal (EOD)/survey teams that will address the areas deemed highest priority in terms of safety for the UN Military Observers and for the local population. The project requires an estimated $650,000. The project comes immediately following the POLISARIO's signature of the Deed of Commitment with Geneva Call to adhere to the Ottawa principals on anti-personnel landmines in December 2005 and the destruction of over 3000 mines from its stockpile in an event held on 27 February 2006 in Tifiriti.


2. Update from UNDP

The following is a summary of key achievements, challenges, objectives, and funding issues for UNDP-supported country programmes, presented by region:

I. AFRICA REGION

Chad

Key Achievements:

  • The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) resumed operations from mid January until the end of February 2006.
  • Following a visit, the US Department of State (DOS) decided on a one year extension of the MAG project (March 2006 - February 2007),to increasefromone to three explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams and to allocate a budget of US$ 2.2 million.
  • The Government of Switzerland is providing a Data Base Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) Technical Advisor for six months beginning 1 May 2006.
  • The National Demining Office (HCND) participated in a meeting with a representative of the World Bank in order to study the possibility for the Bank to finance the national mine action program with oil revenues.

Key Challenges:

  • On 22 March 2006, following an incident at the HCND compound the HCND staff was arrested and an Interim Coordinator was designated. All efforts aimed at strengthening the capacities of the HCND have suffered from this new situation.

Key Objectives:

  • In 2006, the project received US$100,000 from the Government and an additional US$100 000 from UNDP Chad. This amount of money is not sufficient to resume mine clearance activities, which stopped in mid December 2005. At least US$ 1 million is neededto cover the cost of operations for six months. Engaging the Government and other external donors for the implementation of the National Mine Action Plan for 2006 remains the first key objective for the short term.
  • The same effort should be used for the Mine Risk Education program, which stopped in December 2005 due to lack of funding.
  • With the placement of a new Technical Advisor,updatingthe database, the HCND Web site and preparing the team for the IMSMA version 4will be possible.
  • Launch a tender to contract an operator to resume operations as soon as possible.

Funding Shortfalls:

  • The implementation of the Humanitarian National Mine Action Program is not funded for 2006.
  • The EOD and deminershave beenunemployed sincemid-December2005.


Ethiopia

Key Achievements:

  • The first six Ethiopian national dog handlers have completed training by the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and have been successfully accredited by the UN Mine Action Advisory Team. Training for more national dog handlers will begin soon.
  • Equipment for two newly trained manual demining units (300 total deminers) has arrived due to donations from the Government of Germany and the UNDP.
  • Technical Survey Teams are confirming Landmine Impact Survey (LIS) data in the Tigray, Afar and Somali Regions of north and southeast Ethiopia. Numerous landmines are being cleared from LIS identified high-impact mine-affected areas.
  • Landmine / ERW victim rates have significantly decreased in post-conflict areas of northern Ethiopia according to the Ethiopian Mine Action Office (EMAO), the regional health system, and a local NGO, the Relief and Rehabilitation Organization, which conducts Mine Risk Education (MRE) in cooperation with the EMAO.

Key Objectives:

  • The equipping and fielding of the newly trained manual demining units.
  • The continual refinement of integration of manual, dog and mechanical assets.
  • The Retraining of national Technical Survey Teams by the NPA.

Key Challenges:

  • Continued refinement of procedures through intensive Quality Assurance at all levels of mine action activity.
  • Expansion of demining operations in the Tigray and Somali Regions.

Funding Update:

  • The European Commission (EC) announced on 4 April 2006 the approval of an 8 million euro donation from the EC to UNDP for funding of EMAO operations for 2006-2008.
  • UN assistance is currently funded by contributions from Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK (DFID). Proposals have been submitted to the governments of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Guinea Bissau

At the end of March, armed conflict erupted on the northern border of Guinea-Bissau with Senegal due to the presence of an element of the Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC). This recent conflict is part of a long history of Senegal’s Casamance conflict that has affected the border population of both countries. Several reports indicate an increased amount of contamination from mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). The intensity of the battle has driven roughly 8,000 villagers from their homes and displaced them to various points of refuge. Therefore, a rapid response is essential to prevent victims, and to ensure the economic survival and sustainability of the villagers along the border. A temporary UN support effort has been launched to support these displaced persons until they can safely return to their homes. In order to respond as quickly as possible, UNMAS has formed a Mine Action Planning Group and will deploy a planning officer to support the existing in-country set-up to assess a timely and appropriate response.

Mauritania

Key Achievements:

  • Obtained approval for a Mine Action Exchange (MAX) to Yemen for four participants from 7 to 18 April 2006.
  • Preparations with the Ministry of National Defence (MND) and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development (MEAD) to initiate discussions to transfer the National Bureau of Humanitarian Demining (BNDH) to a civilian Ministry.
  • The French NGO, Haute Aux Mines Antipersonnel (HAMAP), financed two demining campaigns in Nouadhibou, clearing 10,000 square meters and destroying 91 landmines.
  • The Swedish Government supported Mauritania’s Critical Needs projects (US$200,000) for a LIS, Landmine Victim Needs Assessment, MRE and marking, Technical Survey and capacity development.
  • Continued with the planning for the LIS.

Key Objectives:

  • Launch the Critical Needs project.
  • Monitor the Government of Mauritania’s response to transfer BNDH to the civilian Ministry.

Key Challenges:

  • Completing the LIS by September 2006 in order to prepare the groundwork for the Completion Initiative Plan.
  • Seeking donor funding to provide ambulance and medical equipment to BNDH.
  • Migrating sands pose a challenge to both detection and excavation. In contact with Geneva International Centre of Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) to obtain technical advice.

Somalia

Key Achievements:

  • Mr. Greg Lindstrom has been recruited as the new Mine Action CTA Mine Action effective 3 April 2006.
  • The development of two mine action coordination centres; one based in Hargeisa covering Somaliland (SMAC), and the other in Garowe covering Puntland (PMAC).
  • The development of seven Police EOD teams deployed in Somaliland, Puntland and one in Jowhar, Middle Shabelle in the south-centre region.
  • Mine clearance, MRE, and EOD activities continue in Somaliland. The HALO Trust, the Danish Demining Group (DDG) and Handicap International (HI) remain active in Somaliland. DDG has initiated a Village Stockpile Disposal initiative (VSDI) in coordination with a local NGO (Haqsoor). This initiative utilizes an advocacy component through workshops and community meetings to encourage and convince villagers to declare and hand-in their stocks of ammunition and other ERW for disposal. First indications are indicating this to be a successful approach to reducing the dangers of ERW and increasing security in the area.
  • Preparations are underway for the LIS Phase III for the remaining areas in Somaliland and the Puntland areas that were not completed in the LIS Phase II.

Key Objectives:

  • SMAC and PMAC will complete preparations for the LIS Phase III, expected to commence in the next quarter.
  • Preparations are underway for the training of a mine clearance capacity from the Darawish (a rural police force controlled by the Puntland Administration – similar to the Carabineiri, Gendarmerie, and the Guarda Civil). Training of up to 40 personnel will be carried out at the UK International Mine Action Centre (IMATC) in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Three new Police EOD Teams will be selected for training. These teams will be deployed in the South-Centre with the operating areas to be selected to support on-going peace-building and security initiatives in the area.

Key Challenges:

  • The fluctuating security situation continues to present limitations to mine action activities in the South-Centre. However, there are encouraging signs that stability is being realised in some areas. Mine action is a key entry point to the security and development landscape; the establishment, training and deployment of Police EOD Teams; and the Somali-trained mine clearance capacities can and do provide an essential security enhancing element.

Funding Update:

  • The EC has provided 1.8 million Euros to support the mine-clearance capacity, EOD, and capacity building initiatives for 2006.

Funding Shortfalls:

  • Canada continues to support the Puntland Mine Action Centre (PMAC), however, this funding is due to expire in early 2007.
  • There is a critical funding shortfall for the continuation of the Somaliland Mine Action Centre (SMAC) to cover the period May to December 2006.
  • An additional USD$250,000 is being sought to initiate a pilot project for the stockpile destruction of some 3,000 landmines and munitions declared for disposal by the Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG) Minister of Interior. This project has been waiting funding and technical assistance for the past two years and if urgent action is not taken it is highly likely that this critical opportunity will be lost. A project proposal for this activity has been submitted to UNMAS.

Sudan

Key Achievements:

  • The National Mine Action Authority (NMAA), with technical and advisory support from UNDP, was officially launched in a ceremony in Khartoum held on 7 March 2006.
  • With support from UNDP Sudan, the NMAA developed organizational structures for the National Mine Action Centers in Khartoum and Juba and has started to recruit additional national staff.
  • UNDP Sudan contributed to the on time preparation and submission of the updated Article 7 report for 2005, a requirement for the Sudan under the Ottawa Treaty.
  • UNDP Sudan finalized the recruitment process of a Technical Advisor based in Juba and two National Programme Officers, one each in Khartoum and Juba. The new staff members are scheduled to join UNDP in the coming 2 to 3 weeks.

Key Objectives:

  • Continue to recruit additional national staff for the National Mine Action Centers in Khartoum and Juba by providing technical advice and support.
  • Provide additional equipment (furniture, computers, vehicles, supplies) for the establishment of and expansion of the national mine action centers in Khartoum and Juba.
  • Conduct a training needs assessment for the national staff working in both Mine Action Centers.
  • Provide technical support and advice to the NMAA to mainstream mine action into national recovery and development plans; and to develop a resource mobilization campaign/strategy.
  • Support the National Mine Action Centers to build national clearance operations capacities as a joint project of the authorities in the North and South.

Funding Shortfalls:

  • Total requirements: US$ 5,800,000
    Available: US$ 1,100,000
    Shortfall: US$ 4,700,000

UNDP is an urgent need of US$ 4.7 million to support the establishment of National Mine Action Centers in Juba and Khartoum and for the training, equipment and operations cost of the national mine/UXO clearance teams (140 national personnel) as part of the national operations capacity building with deminers provided by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLA) and Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). This initiative supports the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Uganda

Key Achievements:

  • The National Mine Action Steering Committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary Office of the Prime Minister was established and commenced work.
  • The National Mine Action Legislation and Mine Action Policy were drafted.
  • Newest IMSMA 4.0 version was installed, user training conducted and field tests have started.
  • Needs assessments started in affected districts of Lira and Soroti and technical survey/clearance/EOD operations started in Kaberamaido facilitating the return of Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP).
  • The Mine Action Center officially opened by the 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees.
  • A Victim Assistance Technical Advisor has commenced work.

Key Objectives:

  • Completion of technical survey/clearance/EOD operations in identified IDP areas in Kabaramaido and Katakwi.
  • Targeted needs assessments in two more landmine/ERW-affected areas in northern Uganda.
  • Develop national disaster management database utilizing IMSMA 4.0.
  • Develop a surveillance network in the Ministry of Health.

Funding Update:

  • Currently available for 2006: US$ 1,400,000 for capacity development, technical survey/clearance/EOD, targeted needs assessments, technical assistance, monitoring/evaluation from UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway, IMATC Nairobi (UK-funded train and equip humanitarian demining program), and the UNDP.
  • Unconfirmed pledges/expressed interest: US$ 1,300,000 for technical survey/clearance/EOD, quality assurance, victim assistance from Austria, Japan, UK, Canada, Switzerland, and UNMAS.

Funding Shortfalls:

  • Targeted needs assessments in six northern districts amounting to US$ 343,000.
  • In order to continue needs assessments in two districts US$115,000 is urgently required in May 2006.
  • An additional six months for Technical Assistance, specifically a Victim Assistance Advisor, is needed and US$124,000 is required no later than June 2006.
  • National surveillance network/database for landmine survivors and war disabled within IDP camps US$180,000 is urgently required.

Yemen

Key Achievements:

  • Mine action operations run smoothly in accordance with the operational plan without disruption during first quarter of 2006.
  • Five new survey teams were trained in 2005, and were equipped and deployed to the field on 14 March 2006.
  • Since February 2006, all survey teams have been trained to operate using a one man-one lane clearance drill.
  • The Yemen Executive Mine Action Centre (YEMAC) began a socio-economic study of communities that are benefited from mine action using a livelihood analysis approach on 15 March 2006. This project is funded by the GICHD and implemented in conjunction with GICHD and Natural Resource Institute of London.
  • The Arabic version of the National Mine Action Standards was revised by the YEMAC technical group in March 2006.

Key Objectives:

  • Complete social-economic study data collection in the cleared communities.
  • Train and deploy two clearance units to operate as six independent platoons using one man-one lane demining drill.
  • Make operational and deploy two additional quality assurance teams.
  • Train the mine action delegations from Uganda and Mauritania through the UNDP MAX in April 2006.
  • Revise the Arabic Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in April 2006.
  • Continue capacity building, including training and development of expertise in the area of mine detection dogs.

Funding Update:

  • Funds received/pledged in first quarter of 2006 are: Canada: $ 200,000, Japan: $520,000, French: $300,000, Germany: $300,000, Italy: $156,862, UNDP: $300,000, CIDA: $122,824, and Sweden: $200,000.

Funding Shortfalls:

  • The re-integration project for survivors implemented by Yemen Association for Landmine Survivors (YALS) has not received/pledged any contribution so far.

II. ARAB STATES REGION

Iraq

Key Achievements:

  • UNDP contracted Demining Danish Group (DDG) to develop a national NGO in Basra (NGO I). The project started 15 February 2005 and consists of a national management structure and 10 EOD teams. The EOD teams have been operating since March 2005 under international supervision. The management structure has been established and is undergoing on the job training. Operating out of Basra, the NGO has successfully cleared 14,095 different items of munitions, on a total area of 5,470,716 m² during the first three months of 2006. This project was initially funded by the European Commission and is now fully funded by the Government of Italy.
  • UNDP contracted Intersos to develop a second Iraqi National NGO. The project-started 15 October 2005. Currently all field staff have been recruited and have completed basic EOD and EOD team leader training. Additionally, management has been recruited and is currently undergoing training. This project is fully funded by the Government of Italy.
  • The UNDP Iraq MA team has initiated "MA policy" discussions with the deputy minister of planning, responsible for MA issues in the Iraqi government.
  • UNDP initiated an institutional needs assessment in the Kurdistan Region during the second half of March and estimates it to be completed by end of April 2006.

Key Challenges:

  • The lengthy process of accessing funds from the International Trust Fund (ITF) combined with the fact that mine action is not a priority for the Iraqi government at this point in time, might lead to a possible contract termination and end of the NGO I project on 31 May 2006. This would result in a loss of close to 40% of the total clearance capacity in southern Iraq.
  • The unstable political and governmental situation negatively influenced the institutional development of National Mine Action Authority (NMAA).

Key Objectives:

  • Develop an institutional development and training plan in Kurdistan region.
  • Obtain US $3.2 million for continuation of NGO I in Basra.

Funding Shortfall:

  • US $3.2 million for continuation of NGO I in Basra.
  • US $7 million for support to Kurdistan Region MAP.

Jordan

Key Achievements:

  • The National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation (NCDR) organized a technical workshop on the 15 to 16 March 2006 (funded by UNICEF). Bringing together all of NCDR’s partners on MRE, the workshop resulted in a National Plan of Action for this year and a strategy for mine risk education in Jordan for the period 2006–2009. The strategy included strategic principles and priorities, and the roles and responsibilities of key actors. The GICHD provided technical assistance in the workshop and a funding proposal based on the outputs of the meeting has now been submitted to the United States.
  • Three major project activities were launched in the first quarter:

    • The NPA began the set-up for a multi-year project in the southern Wadi Araba region that will address 30% of the Jordan mine problem.
    • A modified LIS project was defined and funding was secured from Canada and Norway.
    • The European Union (EU) funded project to support the Army in demining North Shuna District was finalized and pre-project activities launched.

Key Objectives:

  • NPA to begin field operations in Wadi Araba.
  • National Standards for Jordan established as part of the EU North Shuna project.
  • Preliminary data collection of all mine action information to determine the need and scope of a Landmine Impact Survey.
  • Funding for an MRE strategy was ascertained.

Lebanon

Key Achievements:

  • The national technical survey has surveyed over 10 million square meters of land; with approximately 74% of all surveyed land being returned for economic and residential development and the remainder being programmed for area reduction and/or clearance.
  • The Lebanese Armed Forces Engineering Regiment continues to be the backbone for mine clearance operations with just over 500,000 square meters of land cleared since 01 January 2006.
  • The national MRE campaign continues to provide information to the most vulnerable and at-risk demographic groups in Lebanon.

Key Objectives:

  • MAG continues its work in Area 6 and will be adding an additional mine clearing team later this year.
  • The National Demining Office will commence the drafting of National Standards in April 2006 and will be undertaking a mine action review with the help of GICHD in May.

Funding Shortfalls:

  • Funding remains a challenge for mine action in Lebanon. There remain many projects that have minimal or no donor funding; including the clearance of areas surveyed through the national technical survey and Area 6 (the area with the largest concentration of high and medium impacted communities in Lebanon). Mine Victim Assistance projects continue to be critically under funded with no donor funds arriving in the first three months of 2006.

III. ASIA PACIFIC REGION

Cambodia

Key Achievements:

  • The UNDP Cambodia’s five-year mine action project, Clearing for Results, was launched on 25 January 2006 with the signing of the first donor. Australia provided US$ 1.5 million for the first year of the project. Other early contributors to the project include Adopt-A-Minefield and the Government of Canada. Canada will provide US$ 6 million to the project over a five-year period, according to the grant arrangement signed with UNDP on 30 March 2006. This innovative partnership for mine action combines a cost-efficient pooled funding mechanism to support field operations and a comprehensive capacity development package to support (1) the national quality assurance system, (2) post-clearance monitoring of socio-economic results and (3) existing decentralised mechanisms for pro-poor planning.
  • Initial results of the project in the first quarter of 2006 include:

    • In the field of quality assurance: Review of national accreditation forms and desk assessment methodology; the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) launched the first round of accreditation in Cambodia (first applications currently under review); draft training curriculum developed for CMAA Quality Assurance staff; draft checklist on environmental issues for Mine Action operators.
    • In the field of socio-economic planning/monitoring: Support to CMAA for the development of an appropriate post-clearance monitoring form taking into account land use and gender issues will start in April 2006, finalization of CMAA’s policy on area reduction and template for operators to report suspected land which has been returned to productive use.

Lao PDR

Key Achievements:

  • The National Programme Director (NPD) of the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) for the UXO Sector has been appointed and resumed his responsibilities and functions on January 1, 2006.
  • The NRA Project Document was signed between UNDP and the government of Lao PDR.
  • The NRA office started recruitment process for its key positions and the Chief of Administration and Policy / Deputy NPD was appointed in March.
  • The government of Lao PDR officially approved the NRA regulations.

Key Objectives:

  • Complete staffing and start capacity development of functional departments.
  • Conduct Risk Management/UXO Impact Mitigation Study.
  • Initiate UXO Accident Database Study.
  • Start Transferring UXO related data from UXO Lao database.

Funding Update:

  • Negotiations started with the Irish for a three-year funding of €1 million per year.
  • UXO Lao signed an agreement with Japan and received $805,000 for operational costs in three provinces.
  • A Japanese NGO (JMAS) signed an agreement to be an Implementing partner in Xieng Khouang Province and will bring $518,000.
  • UXO Lao has just received the last installment of Canadian Funding worth C$200,000.
  • The UNDP and New Zealand’s International Aid and Development (NZAID) are expected to sign a cost-sharing agreement for the amount of NZ$300,000 in the near future.

Funding Shortfalls:

  • The NRA is in need of additional funding to start its full operations and functions and to gain donor confidence.
  • Lao PDR has not signed the Ottawa Convention and a few donors expressed their reluctance to continue its support to the UXO sector in Lao PDR.
  • DFID may reduce its support to UXO Lao by 2008.

IV. EUROPE & CIS REGION

Albania

Key Achievements:

  • The first Meeting of the Albanian Mine Action Committee (AMAC) was held on 2 February 2006 gathering all AMAC members, observers from the donor community and the implementing partners of the Albanian Mine Action Programme. The AMAC Meeting reviewed the progress of the programme in 2005 and emphasized the need for a strong commitment of the Government of Albania during the transition phase.
  • A workshop on the "Mine Action Legislation" was held in Tirana organized by UNDP Albania together with the Ministry of Defence which was supported and facilitated by the GICHD. The workshop was attended by legal representatives of various ministries and an expert from International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The aim of the workshop was to develop a bill to Empower and Regulate Mine Action in the Republic of Albania.
  • UNDP Albania through the National Demilitarization Centre (NDC) completed the collection of data and analysis of persons injured from ERW throughout Albania. Since 2000, 94 casualties have been registered; 21 of whom were injured in 2005 alone and approximately 40% of the victims were children.
  • An agreement was signed between the French Government and UNDP Albania to provide funds for Improving Healthcare for Mine/UXO Victims in Northeast Albania. The project includes training of medical specialists abroad, procurement of medical supplies/equipment for the Regional Hospital and the development of health centres in the mine-affected villages.
  • Eight sight impaired mine/UXO survivors were provided with much needed medical interventions and treatment at a private Russian clinic in Tirana.
  • The demining operations in northeastern Albania are due to begin after a training period. There is only one demining organization (DCA) continuing the implementation of two projects: a Technical Survey and Clearance Project funded by the EC and a Humanitarian Mine Action Project which has received pledges by Germany, DFID and US State Department.

Key Challenges:

  • Ratification of the Ottawa Treaty Law (Article 9) and the National Mine Action Law by the Parliament of Albania.
  • Transition of the Mine Action Programme into the Government structure and budget.
  • The continuation of the second year of the Socio-economic Reintegration for Mine/UXO Survivors project has been temporarily put on hold as there is challenge in collecting the loans from the beneficiaries. An evaluation has been conducted and recommendations made for project revision and continuation.

Key Objectives:

  • A National Mine Action Workshop is planned to be held in June 2006, gathering government counterparts, national and international partners, and programme donors to evaluate the programme and revise the national strategy and plan for mine action.
  • Provision of medical equipment and supplies for the 30 village nurses working as part of the community-based rehabilitation (CBR) network in the mine affected villages, as well as physiotherapy equipment for Kukes and Bajram Curri Hospitals.
  • Provision of training to six nurses and two physiotherapists abroad.

Funding Update:

Budget/USD

Available

Capacity Building

550,474

550,474USD

Demining

6.388.000

2,852,000USD
470,000Euro (pledge)

MRE

164,400

164,400USD

Victim Assistance

1,111,528

401,630USD


Programme donors for this year include the European Commission, US State Department through ITF, Germany, DFID, France, SIDA through UNDP BCPR and UNICEF, UNDP Albania, and ICRC.

Armenia

Key achievements:

  • From June 2005 to October 2005, a humanitarian demining project was conducted by the Armenian Humanitarian Demining Center (AHDC) in Syunik region of Armenia. The demining process was started and implemented based on the LIS. Approximately 96,620 square meters of used areas were cleared of mines and different UXO types. As a result of the AHDC demining operations in Syunik marz, the following ammunitions were discovered and disposed: 32 OZM-72; 3 TM-62; 2 TM-62 detonators; 17 TM-57; 12 PMN-2, 3 F-1; 45 various types of shells; and 1200 live cartridges.
  • In February 2006, the Armenia LIS was certified by the United Nations Landmine Impact Survey Certification Committee. The survey was funded by the European Union, cost-sharing contributions were allocated by the UNDP and the Government of Armenia, the technical expertise was provided by the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, and a quality assurance monitor to assist with the certification process was provided by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS). Training and the software – Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) were provided by the GICHD
  • On 22 to 24 March 2006, a Workshop on National Mine Action Legislation in Armenia was organized by the AHDC and the UNDP Armenia. As a result of the workshop, the first draft of the National law on Mine Action Activities was created.

Key Objectives:

  • The assistance to Inter-Agency Governmental Committee on Mine Action in developing national mine action legislation and strategy.

Funding Update:

  • The EC did not grant a no-cost extension to the project, as requested by UNDP.
  • Beyond 2006 there is no indication of interest or commitment from existing or potential donors to support mine action activities in Armenia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Key Achievements:

  • The Canadian Government preliminarily announced the donation of a Bozena 5 machine to military demining teams. The announcement is a result of the effort invested by UNDP and its Strategic Advisor. The machine is currently on trial in Croatia and if everything goes according to plan it should arrive in Bosnia this summer.

Key Objectives:

  • To launch humanitarian demining activities in Brcko where UNDP is co-funding a Brcko community mine action plan together with the Brcko Government.
  • To facilitate a joint Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)/Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) review of the programme.
  • To follow through the donation of Bozena 5 machine to military.

Funding Shortfall:

  • Integrated Mine Action Programme (IMAP) funding shortfall for 2007 amounts to US$1 million.
  • Funds are still needed for the replacement of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre’s (BHMAC) out of date equipment.

V. LATIN AMERICA REGION

Colombia

Key Achievements:

  • In January 2006, UNICEF and UNDP launched a joint project in MRE and institutional strengthening for 15 municipalities in Montes de Maria. The project is executed in partnership with the regional governments of Sucre and Bolivar, the national Mine Observatory and the NGO Paz y Democracia. A technical committee consisting of various local NGOs and local authorities is accompanying the project.
  • On 9 February 2006, the operational plan for Mine Action 2006 was approved by the Mine Action Committee in Meta.
  • The first part of the operational plan for Mine Action 2006 was approved by the Mine Action Committee in Sucre on 16 February 2006.

Key Challenges:

  • Strengthening capacity at the National Mine Observatory to elaborate coordinated strategies for VA, MRE and emergency response.
  • Ensuring the sustainability of mine action at the regional and local level.

Key Objectives:

  • Organize the first Departmental Landmine Survivors Forum in Meta. At the moment preparations are ongoing in the municipalities, where victims are being identified and registered and local authorities sensitized.
  • Continued support to the regional Landmine Survivors Association of Antioquia, created in December 2005.
  • Strengthening the Mine Action Team of Montes de Maria by assigning a focal point responsible for mine action in the region.
  • Continue training municipal facilitators in VA and MRE in 15 municipalities of Montes de Maria.


3. Update from UNICEF

Afghanistan

UNICEF began work with the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan (MAPA) in 2002. The first programme activities concentrated on support to emergency mine risk education (MRE) through Back to School initiatives, internally displaced persons (IDP) programmes and refugee/returnee activities. This role led to a partnership with the UN Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (UNMACA) for the provision of technical guidance and coordination of MRE programming in support of the emerging government authorities. The UNMACA/UNICEF partnership resulted in the harmonisation of a variety of mine action activities.

UNICEF is an active participant in advocacy activities and programme development in the disability sector. UNICEF is also leading the way within the ministries to coordinate their efforts and ensure the rights of all landmine survivors and people with disability. UNICEF has led the Mine Action programme to a VA strategy utilising the voice of the MAPA and that of mine/ERW survivors to advocate for inclusive and expanded service provision to include access to educational, employment and social opportunities that facilitate the integration of landmine survivors fully into Afghan society.

UNICEF brought to the UNMACA partnership a philosophy of integrated programming strengthened by linkages to ministries outside of the usual realm of mine action programmes, such as Ministries of Public Health, Education, Martyrs, Disabled and Social Affairs and Religious Affairs. UNICEF provides technical assistance for the development and coordination of a cross cutting multi-discipline MRE and VA programme that is nationally implemented by the MAPA partners, government, and other actors.

Achievements:

  • Development of standardised training and materials for the various MRE components including Ministry of Education teacher training
  • Integration of MRE back into mine action survey and clearance activities
  • Strengthening of mass communication programmes and materials development to provide innovative and appropriate materials targeting specific audiences.
  • Enhanced victim data collection through community-based MRE activities and the establishment of an injury surveillance system within the Ministry of Public Health
  • Expanded and improved returnee MRE activities
  • Inclusion of internally displaced populations into community-based MRE project activities
  • Development of community-based liaison providing links to mine action actors
  • Increased management capacity and quality assurance oversight of MRE activities through the UNMACA regional operations offices
  • Development of CB MRE criterion for impact based implementation of MRE activities
  • Development and expansion of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, standards and reporting
  • Development and implementation of 2 impact monitoring and assessment surveys (KAPB) of MRE activities and the analysis and reporting of findings
  • Finalisation of the Afghanistan Mine Action Standards through technical consultations with implementing agencies
  • Established new Victim Assistance programme activities focusing on advocacy and awareness activities for landmine survivors and people with disability
  • Development, launch and implementation of a community mobilisation, theatre and public information campaign for disability rights advocacy and awareness raising activities in mine impacted communities.

Through the development, management and oversight of these and other programme initiatives and activities UNICEF has guided the UNMACA and its MAPA partners into a new era of MRE and victim assistance activities and has positioned the programmes to integrate fully into a nationally owned mine action agency with new partnership opportunities, standardised methodologies, elaborated end state goals and an enhanced capacity to provide MRE and Victim Assistance activities to impacted communities throughout Afghanistan.

Future Plan (2006 – 2008)

Management, coordination and capacity development of UNMACA in the area of MRE and victim assistance through:

1. MRE Technical Assistance and Coordination

  • Community Based MRE – Emergency Response MRE, Community Liaison and monitoring programme, peer education programme, mobile cinema project, Safe Play Area Initiative and data collection;
  • Integrated programme development and implementation - teacher training, police training, religious leaders forum, MRE for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams, public health and safety information programme
  • Returnee MRE programme
  • MRE public information programme
  • Landmine Safety Programme
  • Quality Assurance Program - Knowledge, Attitude, Practice and Belief Survey (KAPB)
  • Reporting and monitoring system

2. National Victim Assistance Programme

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Support the role of MoFA under the Mine Ban Treaty to provide information and program planning for victim assistance interventions in Afghanistan
  • Ministry of Martyrs, Disabled and Social Affairs – As the designated focal point ministry, the Ministry of Martyrs Disabled and Social Affairs will be supported to develop and implement disabled related policy, legislations and monitoring system. Provide information and referral/welfare support to the disabled through national offices in all provincial centres
  • The Publications Section - Bi-annual technical journal, Quarterly Social Reintegration Magazine, Monthly Newsletter
  • Participation in disability sector activities and planning - International Day of Disabled Persons, Inter-ministerial Working Group Meetings, Assistance to NGOs and Disabled Provincial Offices, Disability Small Grants Coordination
  • Awareness and Advocacy Training - Self-Advocacy and rights awareness training, Barrier Free access training, Awareness training
  • MOPH Injury Surveillance system - The integration of landmine/ERW victim data into the national injury surveillance system through collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) and UNICEF health section has been an ongoing project for more than one year

3. National Capacity Development - UNICEF will develop a proactive plan for national capacity development within both the MRE and VA sectors. This will include Government, UNMACA, national and international NGO partners, UNICEF and other relevant actors.

Albania

UNICEF Albania supports Mine Risk Reduction, which consists of MRE activities in 39 villages, where messages are disseminated primarily through a mobile theatre. Publication of two school manuals for teachers and students of compulsory grades, prepared by the Institute of Curricula and Standards, is another important activity that has been agreed to with the Ministry of Education and Science. "Catch-up classes" for child mine victims are also being provided.

The programmes direct beneficiaries include: 6,500 children reached through MRE activities; 16,000 community members and children reached through the mobile theatre; 7,500 adults/ youngsters reached through MRE; and 70 trained anti-mine committee members and peace activists. Indirect beneficiaries include: 110,000 community members in northeast/mined areas.

Positive impacts from the risk reduction activities have been noted: accidents from mines/UXO have been reduced to 1 in the project areas; increased knowledge of the danger of mines for 6,500 school children and 25,000 community members in 39 mine-affected areas; behaviour change of communities living in mined areas; and the Institute of Curricula and Standards has teacher’s and student’s manuals (1,945 and 3,000 copies each) for mainstreaming MRE into extra- curricula activities

Future steps UNICEF will continue mine action activities in the following areas: continue to collaborate with AMAE and the de-mining company; continue to support MRE activities with communities of 30 villages that are still contaminated with mines/UXO; UNICEF will cooperate with the Institute of Curricula and Standards to include MRE and Weapon awareness in school programs of the schools affected by mines (in-service teachers’ training).

Angola

UNICEF Angola continues to support technically and financially the capacity development of the MRE section of CNIDAH (the Inter-Sectoral Commission on Demining and Humanitarian Assistance) and continues as the focal point for MRE among UN agencies.

During the reporting period, UNICEF continued technical and financial support to field-based MRE activities through eight local NGOs and one international NGO (Intersos), based in nine of the most mine contaminated provinces: Huila, Malanje, Moxico, Kwanza Sul, Kwanza Norte, Uige, Bíe, Huambo and Kwando Kuvango. In addition to implementing interactive MRE instruction utilising theatre performance, puppet shows, songs, and visual materials, these NGOs have mobilised and trained community volunteers and mine committees, as sustainable agents to continue reminding people about the dangers of mines and to inform them about making the right contacts when mines are found. In February, each NGO participated in exchange visits to other implementing NGOs to exchange experiences on implementing MRE activities in the field and difficulties they are facing forming and training mine committees.

UNICEF also supports the Angolan Committee of the Red Cross (ARC) to work with CNIDAH to determine the new orientation for MRE and training needs. The needs assessment for training was finalised, indicating that the radio and the police presented particularly effective channels of disseminating MRE information. Based on the research findings, ARC designed the manual and is field testing the training manuals for the police. UNICEF will publish them once they are approved.

MRE educational materials designed and produced by UNICEF were widely disseminated not only through UNICEF supported NGOs but also through Handicap International-France and the ICRC to implement the MRE programmes.

UNICEF, together with UNDP, supported CNIDAH to organise an event to celebrate the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance on 4 April. The joint press release was made by UNICEF and UNDP to inform media about the global activities planned on this date and mine action activities implemented by UN agencies. One of the highlights of the event was the MRE performance provided by Palanca Negra, one of the nine UNICEF-supported NGOs, from the province of Malange. Palanca Negra demonstrated vividly the dangers represented by mines, engaging villagers, especially children, in interactive play and real life situations. UNICEF displayed the venue with posters, educational materials and campaign materials. This event was widely covered by national TV stations and major national newspapers.

Upcoming programme activities – May 2006

On 3 and 4 May, UNICEF will support CNIDAH to organise a national meeting on:

  • Introduction of the newly drafted National Mine Action Strategy (2006-2011) and new focus for MRE strategy
  • Utilisation of LIS data for programming cycle
  • From emergency to development approach for MRE programming
  • Revising MRE data collection form for the IMSMA
  • Effectiveness of implementing radio based program for MRE

Key actors of MRE, including NGOs, Ministry of Education Teacher Trainers and provincial representative on mine action are invited.

From 8-13 May, UNICEF Angola will organise a training workshop on "Reporting on Children" for local journalists. Agenda for the workshop includes: Transforming Mine Accidents to Compelling Personal Stories; Children and Rehabilitation; Children and Education; Children and Abuse; Reporting the UN.

In May, an in-service teacher training for 20,000 grade 1 teachers, in support of the nationwide expansion of the education reforms for grade 1, will start. All teachers who participate in this training will receive MRE as a part of a national package of life skills education. UNICEF is now preparing for a package of educational materials for the teachers to take back to their schools.

Armenia

UNICEF Armenia initiated MRE activities in 2005. The preparation and implementation is undertaken in consultation with UNDP and other partners, including the Ministry of Education and Science.

Current MRE activities include: messages developed by the NGO ‘UNIMA’ through a puppet show scenario, which will be conducted in 60 of the most affected communities; a communication strategy and materials on MRE will be developed; two guidebooks on MRE: a teachers’ guidebook and a trainers’ guidebook are under development; and two groups of experts will be trained to conduct further trainings for children and adults.

Additional resources are still will needed for the establishment of a monitoring capacity for MRE activities; printing and launch activities for the revised MRE guidebooks; and to support capacity building within the Ministry of Education by providing MRE trainings/materials and implementation support.

Azerbaijan

As a result of the conflict, 12 districts on the border and front line are landmine and UXO contaminated, which pose an on-going threat to people living in these areas and to those who want to return to their homes from IDP camps. In March 2006, four persons, including two youths, were injured as a result of landmine/ERW explosions.

To tackle the mine/ERW problem the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA), supported by UNICEF and UNDP with funds from the USA, the European Community, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, Canada and Switzerland, has built a strong capacity for Mine Action. UNICEF in particular has been involved in the preparation, together with ANAMA and the Ministry of Education, of the MRE school curriculum and the implementation of MRE in schools located in mines/ERW affected areas. In total, 682 schools with more than 1,300 teachers and 24,000 children have been reached. Additionally, UNICEF reached mine victims by supporting the integrated summer camps for child mine survivors and children from mine survivor families during the summer 2005.

In 2006, UNICEF continues to support Mine Action related activities. To mark the first Mine Awareness Day on 4 April, UNICEF, together with ANAMA, organised an MRE drawing competition for children from affected areas. Apart from raising awareness on mine risk among children and their parents, the winning drawings will be published in a booklet, which will used for future Mine Action advocacy activities.

In the near future UNICEF would like to support advocacy activities to encourage ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty and continue psycho-social support to the children and youth mine survivors.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

UNICEF provides technical, financial and logistical support to the BiH Mine Action Centre (BHMAC) and to implementing agencies involved in MRE and Landmine Victim Assistance (LMVA).

In January 2006, the BHMAC finalised and introduced to stakeholders the BiH Mine Action Annual Report for 2005 and MRE plan for 2006. Also in January, the BHMAC held the first MRE Policy Board Meeting for 2006. The Italian NGO Intersos, one of UNICEF’s implementing partners, introduced the Mine/UXO safety video material for forestry, agriculture and construction workers. Handicap International presented a set of MRE materials for the education sector (video spot, cartoon and four posters).

In March, the BHMAC held the LMVA Implementation Board Meeting, where LMVA organizations presented their results for 2005 while the BHMAC presented the LMVA Operational Plan for 2006.

Later in March, the BHMAC and UNICEF gathered practitioners in a Technical Working Group meeting to review drafted SOP for MRE Planning and MRE Reporting.

At the end of March, as part of the development of quality assurance capacities, the BHMAC held a 5-day MRE management training for BHMAC management and operational staff. This course followed the course held in January when the BHMAC held MRE Management training for 20 mine action professionals from commercial and NGO demining organisations that were introduced to and equipped with skills to apply the system of assessment and planning for MRE at community level. In addition, the BHMAC held one MRE Management training for activists of BiH Red Cross and one Basic MRE course for activists of the local NGO "Stop Mines." Both trainings were financed by the participating organisations.

BHMAC continued with daily activities related to management, quality assurance of MRE in the country, collecting MRE reports and preparing the documentation needed for making MRE plans as well as updating the MRE database. The BHMAC provided assistance to local mine action NGOs with analyses, recommendations and technical expertise on MRE and LMVA project implementation and proposals.

In January, the local NGO ‘GENESIS Project’ initiated the implementation of a new project in collaboration with the Ministries of Education on landmine and small arms and light weapons (SALW) risk education, training of teachers and peer educators treated as an environment related issue. From January to March, Genesis implemented 45 live interactive educational puppet shows, targeting 3,894 children in 45 primary schools, conducted 80 workshops with 250 peer-educators in 10 primary schools and 5 training sessions for 40 school teachers on self-sustainable education. Genesis representatives visited local primary schools that were included in the 2004/2005 MRE projects.

Public mass media published articles and broadcast radio show dedicated to results of implementation of the Genesis MRE project and the problem of mines in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Several major TV stations throughout BiH started anew to re-broadcast UNICEF and Genesis MRE TV shows developed in 2004.

In January and February 2006, the local NGO "AMI" completed the implementation of the project focusing on assessment and planning for MRE at community level. Eighteen MRE plans, developed by AMI at the request of the BHMAC, were officially approved by the BHMAC and included in Community Integrated Mine Action Plans submitted to mine action donors for funding.

In March, in collaboration with the BHMAC, AMI and UNICEF signed a new project cooperation agreement aiming to develop 8 MRE plans in high impacted communities, development and implementation of 1 municipal MRE plan and urgent marking in 2 priority locations of BiH municipalities, followed with basic MRE sessions.

By mid April, as part of the 2006 MRE project, AMI prepared 3 community-based MRE plans in cooperation with local actors, using information collected through interviews, questionnaires, workshops and as well information collected from authorized institutions. Through this process the needs related to mine problems of the specific community 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.

From January – March 2006, AMI organised several MRE round tables with main MRE activists identified through implementation of previous MRE projects supported by UNICEF BiH.

In celebration of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, UNICEF, UNDP and the BHMAC/Ministry of Civil Affairs held a joint press conference to present the BiH landmine problem, current activities and objective of the national mine action strategy. This was followed with dissemination of mine action related leaflets containing field maps, mine awareness messages and briefs about the strategy and mine problem in BiH, appearance on TV morning programmes by UNICEF, local authorities, the BHMAC/Ministry of Civil Affairs to talk about mine action activities in BiH. As well, MRE programmes were held for primary school children.

The UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Programme has been supported by the Government of Italy, DFID, and 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. However, no funding is available for 2006 as yet, with requirements for US$ 500,000.

Cambodia

In Cambodia UNICEF continues financial and technical support to community-based Mine Risk Reduction, as well as mass media (through the Cambodia Mine Action Centre), school-based MRE for children (through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport), and the provision of prostheses, wheelchairs, other mobility devices and other assistance to children and women victims of landmines/UXO and other causes of disabilities.

From 1 February 2005 to 30 March 2006, 932 casualties were reported by the Cambodian Mine/UXO Victim Information System. Of these, 556 were men, 293 were children under 18 year and 83 were women; 557 of the casualties were injured or killed by UXO and 375 were from mines. 817 of the total casualties had received MRE.

In the MRE school programme during the period February 2005 through March 2006:

  • Risk Education programmes reached 207,116 primary school children and 11,196 out-of-school youths.
  • 11,744 children were reached through out-reach activities.
  • 191,122 school students participated in Mine Awareness Day in 146 cluster schools.
  • 3,118 primary school teachers trained in child focused approaches to MRE and 4,000 ‘teachers in training’ received MRE training.

In the MRE through community programme:

  • 420 awareness raising sessions were conducted reaching over 56,562 adults and 38,814 children.
  • 12 TV and radio spots were produced and updated, broadcast through TV and radio 1,440 times.
  • 100,000 MRE materials were revised and reprinted

In the community-based mine/UXO Risk Reduction programme:

  • 304 mine/UXO committees were established
  • 52 suspected areas were reported and tasks cleared
  • 3,644 anti-personnel mines were reported and destroyed
  • 8,289 UXO were reported and destroyed

In the victim assistance programme:

  • Victim assistance services were provided to 2,244 people with disabilities, including the provision of assistive devices and orthotic braces, integration of children into mainstream schools, counseling, and referrals.
  • Awareness raising activities reaching over 8,904 persons.

Chad

In 2005, a national MRE programme was designed and implemented by the National High Commission for Demining/Haut Commissariat National de Déminage (HCND) teams, with support and collaboration from UNICEF, and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

A Landmine Impact Survey (LIS 2001) had identified 249 mine-affected communities in Chad, not including the Tibesti region, which is the most affected area in the country. This contamination directly interferes with the safety of at least 280,000 people.

From 2001 to 2005, the total number of victims reported was 2,220. It is difficult to update the Mine/UXO Victim Information System in Chad, and it is believed that the reports of casualties do not fully reflect the precise numbers.

For 2005, only 35 victims were reported. In the total of 35 casualties, six were children under 18 years of age, seven were women and 22 were men. Twenty of the victims were injured or killed by mines and 15 were from UXO. No children were killed, but the disability is often extremely serious. Because they are smaller than adults, they lose legs, arms, vision and hearing. There is a great impact on their development and their future is compromised.

A Victim Assistance Programme will be initiated in 2006. It will include treatment and socio-economic reintegration of victims and their families. It will be implemented for new and existing survivors through international and national NGOs.

MRE through school programmes:

  • UNICEF supported the development of HCND’s MRE action plan for 2006;
  • MRE curriculum concept was accepted by the Ministry of Education and introduced in school programmes;
  • Teacher’s manual was created and validated by MEN;
  • 2,500 MRE teachers’ manuals and 130 MRE kits of pictures were printed;
  • 700 MRE kits for school teachers were developed, comprising posters (2,100; 3 for each kit), T-shirts (700), caps (700), bags (700) with MRE messages.

CBMRE through community programme:

  • MRE refresher training was implemented for HCND teams and two assessments took place in the East and North of Chad;
  • CBMRE Training of Trainers was implemented for HCND teams: eight people trained and equipped with manuals and MRE materials;
  • CBMRE campaign by HCND staff was supported in the most affected areas in the East of Chad and in the 12 Sudanese refugee camps: around 250 volunteers trained and equipped with MRE materials;
  • CBMRE campaign by HCND staff was supported in the most mine affected areas in the North of Chad: around 180 volunteers were trained and equipped with MRE materials;
  • 60,000 MRE leaflets were printed; in 2004, 30,000 were distributed and in 2005, 25,000 were distributed.

Colombia

UNICEF Colombia continues to provide technical, financial and logistical support to the Antipersonnel Landmines Observatory and to implementing agencies involved in MRE and Landmine Victim Assistance (LMVA) in Colombia.

The Governor of Antioquia has identified focal points for mine action for 24 municipalities of Antioquia. The local government has assumed responsibility for training these key staff members, which is supported by UNICEF through a partnership with "Paz y Democracia". There are 4 committees, which were formed specifically to deal with mine action issues: communication, humanitarian emergencies, MRE and Victim Assistance. UNICEF is involved in all four committees.

Paz y Democracia has worked in 15 municipalities and has conducted 171 sessions with communities, public workers, health and other community institutions. Included in the sessions were: general awareness of generic mine action issues and more specifically MRE; and 16 sessions on human rights. Paz y Demcracia is also supporting the ongoing accompaniment of all victims in Antioquia, approximately 181 victims, to ensure that they have integral reintegration, prostheses and receive counseling.

Handicap International-Belgium, is in the process of identifying 50 mine victims in Antioquia y Bolivar, of which 15 have been identified in order to begin a project for physical and psychological rehabilitation and social reintegration.

In conjunction with the Anti-personnel Landmines Observatory (APLMO), the Colombian Campaign Against Landmines, UNICEF and the regional government, a field visit was organised to Cocorná, Antioquia, the municipality with the highest number of mine victims in Colombia. The purpose of the mission was to facilitate a meeting of community members (victims) with authorities and share ideas about projects being implemented in the area. The mission also raised awareness at the national and local level about landmine issues, as part of the 4 April commemoration of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Mine Action.

UNICEF has begun an MRE project with Paz y Democracia, in Montes de Maria, strengthening local mine action capacity of local institutions and populations, in 15 municipalities. The process of identification of 15 local facilitators and their training has just begun; two trainings have been held this year. The facilitators are now working at community level identifying victims and carrying out MRE. In Magdalena Medio, a similar project to that in Montes de Maria, in six municipalities, was begun this year. To date, two induction trainings for facilitators have been held.

UNICEF is supporting CIREC - Centro Integral de Rehabilitaciòn de Colombia, in the Department of Bolivar, which is supporting physical rehabilitation for 15 mine victims in four municipalities.

In observance of the 4 April International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, UNICEF, UNDP and the Antipersonnel Landmines Observatory published a joint press release for local and international media about the importance of the day and highlighting progress made to date and the work remaining. A wide range of activities was organised throughout the day in Bogotá and at regional level, from demonstrations, discussions, landmine displays, TV and radio interviews and photo exhibitions. UNICEF and the APLMO continue with the dissemination of information messages on local radio, television, in weekly journals and newspapers.

UNICEF is currently preparing and gearing up for the "Day of Change" on 26th May, which will dedicate fundraising activities to landmines and UXO. Exercise books with basic prevention messages featuring the famous singer, Juanes, are being prepared by the UNICEF Private Sector Division, to be sold to schools across Bogotá, with the objective or raising funds for further exercise books and complementary educational material for schools.

The UNICEF Colombia Mine Action Programme is currently supported by contributions from the Government of Canada, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and DFID. The current financial situation of the programme is of serious concern, as no funding is available for 2006. A solid funding proposal is currently being prepared.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

UNICEF DRC has been one of the major actors conducting MRE in the DRC with the support of its international and national partners. Four out of the six targeted provinces in the current project are reached by UNICEF projects, which were completed by the end of March 2006.

From February 2006 to March 2006:

  • In South Kivu province, 19,201 persons, especially returnees from Tanzania, have been reached directly in Fizi Territory with MRE in 14 schools and 54 villages. 32,000 other persons were indirectly reached via local radio.
  • In North Katanga, especially in the triangle: Pweto-Moba-Muliro, MRE was given to 6,000 persons, especially returnees from Zambia and internally displaced persons from February to March 2006.
  • In Equateur Province, 16,200 persons and 6,000 students were reached from February to the end of March 2006 by MRE via schools and villages by 150 animators. Also, 58,000 returnees from Congo - Brazzaville and 50,000 IDPs in Equateur Province were reached.
  • An assessment mission is ongoing in Ikela to assess the total number of beneficiaries for MRE interventions which are planned during April 2006.
  • In Province Orientale, 275 students from nine primary schools have been trained in MRE and 2,851 students and 54 teachers of these schools were reached via the trained students. An additional 420 members of communities and 90 members of community relays in six villages were trained and 2,511 inhabitants of these villages were directly reached.

Only one project is ongoing in Ikela. Due to current funding shortage, it is not possible to take to scale current initiatives in MRE in the DRC. The size of the country, the ongoing insecurity in some areas, the inaccessibility and communication problems, de-mining and destruction of mines activities are being implemented at a slow pace. There is a need to continue programme implementation and strengthening of MRE activities as a necessary life-saving initiative benefiting affected and vulnerable populations.

Ethiopia

UNICEF Ethiopia has been working with the MRE partners to implement the recommendations of the evaluation that was conducted in 2005. The recommendations included strengthening programme coordination and project management skills, developing a sustainable surveillance system and an emergency preparedness plan. UNICEF facilitated a meeting with the Ethiopian Mine Action Office (EMAO), the Office for Rehabilitation and Social Affairs (ORSA), and the Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (RaDO) to discuss roles and responsibilities.

UNICEF, through its implementing partner, and with the federal and regional governments’ involvement has commenced the pilot Village Profile Project. The objective is to discuss the community’s mine action challenges in a development context, and to collect data on victims and assistance required for the victims and risk takers. Using participatory approach, mine-affected communities are invited to share with RaDO the development challenges their villagers face on a daily basis and from this will rank their challenges. RaDO will encourage the community to take responsibility for the problems they face and inform them of available services to deal with their challenges at government and non government level.

If mines/ERW are in the top five priorities of the community challenges, RaDO will facilitate the community to develop their own solutions to live safely in the mine-affected areas. The community will look at who the risk takers and victims are and discuss ways to reduce the number of risk takers and victims through MRE activities. If communities do not see mines or ERW as a problem and if there have been no incidents in the previous two years, all partners will review the need to provide direct MRE to these communities. It is hoped that this project will assist communities to have more ownership of their problem, and facilitate government partners to effectively and efficiently plan their MRE programme through data analysis, thereby reducing subjective approaches to programme implementation. This project will also help move the surveillance system forward. Results of this pilot project will be available in May 2006, when UNICEF with GICHD will facilitate data analysis and effective programming for the Government partners and RaDO.

Iraq

UNICEF Iraq, in collaboration and cooperation with the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA), Regional Mine Action Centre (RMAC), Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Centre (IKMAC), UN Mine Action Team and national and international NGOs, is continuing technical and financial support on national efforts in mine action through institutional capacity building on MRE, mine risk education in schools, communities and direct mine risk awareness for high risk populations and initiating the victim surveillance and victim assistance system.

MRE Project to Reduce Mine/ERW injuries and death in Southern and Central Iraq

UNICEF supports the Italian NGO INTERSOS in cooperation with the NMAA to implement a 12-month project on MRE in three governorates of Southern and Central Iraq. The goals are to contribute to the reduction of injuries and death from ERW/mines and to implementation of the National Mine Action Strategy through direct MRE, MRE in schools, strengthening skills of community leaders and volunteers, and supporting community liaison. The expected outcomes are to sensitize 10,000 women and children including community members, IDPs and returnees on mine/UXO risks and educate them on safe behaviour; establish a network of 160 MRE community volunteers; and train 2,000 teachers in collaboration with the Ministry of Education for MRE reaching 300,000 children from primary and secondary schools.

Workshop on "Communicating MRE" 12-14 March 2006

As part of institutional and national capacity building, UNICEF in collaboration with NMAA and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) organized a workshop in Amman on "Communicating MRE in Iraq". The workshop looked into the existing modality of MRE communication in the context of problems of mine/UXO and other munitions and target groups in need of MRE. The workshop agreed upon a Plan of Action for the remainder of 2006, as per the needs of the north, Centre and South. Around 30 participants from the government (representing both south and north), national and international NGOs, and UN agencies participated in the three-day workshop.

MRE Coordination Meeting 21-22 February 2006

In collaboration with the NMAA and U.S. Centres for Disease Control, UNICEF organized an MRE coordination meeting in Amman to review existing coordination mechanisms; agree an action plan for better coordination and information sharing among stakeholders; and finalize a set of Core Questions to include in the mine/UXO victim surveillance form for uniformity in data/information collection. This will contribute to the establishment of a national database and systematic victim surveillance system for targeted victim/survivors assistance. This meeting highlighted outstanding issues regarding data collection, analysis, interpretation and reporting, and the dissemination to stakeholders for appropriate action for assistance.

Upcoming programme activities

a. Gap analysis and development of MRE materials: UNICEF is recruiting a consultant to review all the educational and training materials in use in Iraq, analyze gaps and appropriateness/relevancy according to the needs of the different target groups, and develop a complete package of MRE materials for Iraq.

b. Victim surveillance and victim assistance: UNICEF initiated cooperation with WHO, ICRC and UNDP and CDC. This process will consider the possibility of integrating the "Core Questions" (see above) into the existing surveillance system through the Ministry of Health. WHO will take the lead in this process. A workshop for developing a national Strategy and Plan of Action for victim surveillance and comprehensive victim assistance is planned in early July 06.

Lao PDR

More than 30 years since fighting ceased, the people of Lao PDR are still living with the legacy of the Indochina War. Cluster bombs were used extensively with up to 24 million anti-personnel bomblets failing to explode. Nearly 3,000 villages (25% of all Lao villages) report the continued presence of UXO.

Between 1997 and 2003, children accounted for 47% of all recorded UXO casualties. Figures for 2005 indicate that more than 50% of reported UXO accidents involved children. Most accidents occur as a result of unintentionally disturbing UXO during the course of essential livelihood activities and children playing with UXO. More recently, information of adult and child casualties are being reported as villagers search for scrap metal despite the risks involved (see A Study of Scrap Metal Collection in Lao PDR, UNICEF/GICHD Sept. 2005).

On the first International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action and the opening of the National Regulatory Authority, UNDP and UNICEF representatives inaugurated the new office and gave speeches as well as a joint press release. UNICEF Representative Olivia Yambi stated:

Lao PDR has a unique opportunity to keep risks at a minimum by improving the knowledge base now in order to develop appropriate messages and responses to more effectively target areas and people. UNICEF is committed to keep the national and regional momentum gained over the past few years for effective attention to the dangers of UXO. Significant efforts and progress have been made in the areas of locating, removing and destroying ERW however these activities are time consuming and dangerous … It is essential that the Lao population is helped to understand the risks they face, promote behavioural changes and learn how to stay out of harm’s way. This is particularly true for younger generations that have no memory of the war and limited experience of its effects. In addition, medical assistance and rehabilitation and reintegration services to survivors must be developed as part of the response.

UNICEF is currently working to strengthen national capacity development in the coordination of risk education through a variety of activities including an AusAID supported UXO needs assessment for MRE to better understand the specific risks taken by children and adults in UXO contaminated areas and to develop effective messages and improve services for UXO survivors. As a follow up to the 2004 report, "Life After the Bomb: A Psychosocial Study of Child Survivors of UXO Accidents in Lao PDR" done by Handicap International Belgium, the Lao Youth Union and UNICEF, a study on the needs of victims and survivors in Lao PDR is currently being conducted and will be finished by the end of April.

Additional resources are needed to promote the coordination and development of risk messages for vulnerable groups, capacity building of relevant actors as well as monitoring activities in MRE and survivor and victim assistance.

Nepal

From 1 February to 20 March 2006, 26 civilian casualties due to victim-activated explosions were reported by the Nepali media. Of concern was the fact that these included casualties from another eight districts that had not reported incidents in 2005. Thirty-eight of Nepal’s 75 districts, more than half, reported explosive incidents between 1 January 2005 and 30 March 2006.

During these two months, two meetings were held by the MRE Working Group, a network of 12 organisations coordinated by UNICEF. A working group was established on 'Terminology and Definition' with the participation of the ICRC and seven NGOs, to help ensure uniformity and clarity in the terms used in English and in Nepali. MRE tools were developed, including a prototype 'emergency kit', funded by DfID, especially designed for preparedness and post-engagement risk education. This will be field tested by partners in April and May before going into full production. UNICEF also inserted an MRE component into its Meena comic book on accident prevention, also for use in the emergency kit.

Training courses began in Dang and other districts, funded by the Government of Canada, on the ethical reporting of children, particularly those affected by armed conflict. The courses, for members of the Federation of Nepali Journalists, include a major MRE component. The aim is to generate more accurate and more sensitive reporting on incidents involving children and their families. The courses are in partnership with UNICEF and the International Federation of Journalists.

Nicaragua

Since July 2005, the city of Jalapa, jointly with technical and financial support from UNICEF, has set forth the project "Intervention at the Municipal Level for the Prevention of Landmine Accidents". Jalapa is one of the municipalities most affected by mine contamination.

The objectives of the National Demining Plan include conducting information activities to sensitise and provide preventive education on the dangers that mines and UXO pose in 20 communities. These measures are providing practical coordination and harmonisation among the school, the community, the municipal authorities and the Nicaraguan Army.

Ongoing preventive education activities

Mobilisation: Activities are carried out related to information and education to prevent landmine accidents and explosive materials in 20 communities and 20 schools within the area of intervention of the project.

Workshops with community leaders: These activities tackle the relevance of preventive education in affected communities, aiming at changing risk practices and behaviours. In coordination with the Nicaraguan Red Cross, leaders have been trained in First Aid and Salvage or Rescue of the Wounded.

Workshop with teachers: These venues allow for the analysis of curricula contents. The contents should incorporate messages of preventive education on the risks posed by landmines and explosive materials.

Workshop with sponsored girls, boys and adolescents: Children are trained on the skills needed for preventive message transmission among their peers and adults.

Sensitisation Community Campaigns: Dissemination activities, distribution of graphic material, school contests (drawing, children tales, and songs) on the subject.

Radio Station Programme: This medium is aimed at providing information, education, dissemination and hence to harness the advantages of radio station communication.

Russian Federation

Mine Risk Education in Chechnya

In January 2006, the monthly mine action coordination meeting was chaired by UNICEF, with participation by government partners, the ICRC, OCHA, ‘Voice of the Mountains’, ‘Let’s Save the Generation’, the State Chechen Drama Theatre, the Republican Clinical Hospital (RCH), the Grozny Prosthetic Workshop and others. The meeting discussed the key outcomes of mine action activities conducted in 2005 and priorities for 2006. UNICEF briefed the meeting on an upcoming workshop on data analysis (using the EpiInfo System), which will be delivered – with financial support from DFID - by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in February.

On 25 January, a UNICEF team attended a regional meeting organised by GICHD in Istanbul. The meeting was devoted to the presentation of a new version (4.0) of the IMSMA (Information Management System for Mine Action) database and to the discussion of future training opportunities for field staff. Three people identified by UNICEF will be trained at the GICHD facilities, with financial support from the Swiss Government.

UNICEF continued to further support, through its local implementing partners, its longstanding MRE programme for the general population of Chechnya. A series of MRE presentations were delivered by the Voice of the Mountains’ instructors to schoolchildren living in Serzhen-jurt, Novo-Sharoy, Atagi, Itum-Kali and Elistanzhi districts. Special safe behaviour techniques were introduced to the children, while new MRE posters and leaflets were disseminated among the local population through the community-based MRE working groups that were established by UNICEF in 2005, with financial support from ECHO, in 10 affected districts.

The State Chechen Drama Theatre and Let’s Save the Generation organised MRE drama presentations for children and adults from Nozhay-jurtovskiy and Groznenskiy districts of Chechnya. During the reporting period, with financial support from the UK and Dutch National Committees for UNICEF, as well as ECHO, UNICEF contributed to promoting safer behaviours among some 7,200 children and adults.

UNICEF, in partnership with Voice of the Mountains, and with financial support from ECHO and the UK National Committee for UNICEF, continued implementation of community-based MRE activities in districts of Chechnya where mine/UXO risk for the civilian population is high. Ongoing projects target both the adult and child populations. During the reporting period, some 3,800 schoolchildren from Gudermesskiy, Urus-Martanovskiy and Achkhoy-Martanovskiy districts of Chechnya benefited from interactive presentations on the danger of mines/explosive remnants of war and acquired knowledge on safe behaviour techniques.

With the aim of building the capacity of the professionals who are directly working with children, MRE trainings have been organised by UNICEF for 30 schoolteachers from Grozny, as well as for the managers of the 23 leisure centres that have been established by UNICEF, with financial support from USAID and the German Government. Each leisure centre provides some 40 children every day with the opportunity of enjoying a safe playing and learning environment. The centres were equipped by UNICEF with computers, different table games, sport equipment and music instruments.

Assistance to Disabled Children in Chechnya

Within its mine/UXO survivor assistance programme and with financial support from Sweden, UNICEF continued to provide affected children with prosthetic and orthopedic appliances at the Grozny Prosthetic Workshop. Twelve children started treatment in February; seven of them complementing it with sessions at the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centre, which is supported by UNICEF through Let’s Save the Generation. At this centre, children and their primary caregivers receive psychosocial support through group and individual counseling, music, dance, and drawing therapies. In addition, UNICEF supports the provision of physical rehabilitation of children with disabilities, in partnership with the Republican Clinical Hospital (RCH) in Grozny. A mobile group of doctors from the hospital also provides consultations to children who receive assistance at different district hospitals and ensures the quality of the treatment received. The professional capacity of the RCH’s staff has been strengthened by UNICEF over the last two years, through the promotion of several training opportunities in surgery, physiotherapy and orthopedic treatments, in cooperation with well-known institutions in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Sri Lanka

With funding assistance from the European Commission and the Upper Austria State Government, UNICEF supported its network of local partners and local authorities to participate in the observance of the first International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on 4 April. Several activities in Colombo and in mines/UXO affected districts have been conducted

At the National level, the event was coordinated by a National Committee working under the National Steering Committee of Mine Action, and in the districts by the District Mine action offices with the participation of demining, MRE and survivor assistance organisations.

UNICEF and UNDP issued a joint press release and a major government-organised event was held in Colombo at the Sri Lanka Institute for International Relations with key government officials, donor’s agencies, the UN and media. Although speakers recognised the commendable achievements of Sri Lanka in mine action that have contributed to a 75% drop of casualties from the time of the ceasefire in 2002 (154 casualties) to 2005 (38 casualties), they called for the Sri Lankan parties to ratify the relevant international treaties and agreements that ban further use of landmines.

Regional events in the mine/UXO affected districts included a football match and bicycle race in Jaffna, sports and cultural events in Vavuniya, drama presentations in Ampara, a mine action exhibition and children’s programme in Trincomalee, the screening of mine action films in Kilinochchi and essay and poem writing activities in Batticaloa.

Tajikistan

In partnership with the Tajikistan Mine Action Centre and the Ministry of Education, UNICEF is developing and sustaining the national capacity to address MRE for the long term. The UNICEF supported project "Disarming Children and Youth" targets local capacity to deal with MRE. About 5,000 schoolchildren within 22 schools in (or close to) the most at-risk areas of Rasht, Tavildara, Vanj and Darvoz districts with the highest number of recent casualties and the level of contamination in the populated zones are taught by MRE teachers on safe behaviour and how to protect themselves and their family members against mines/UXO. MRE tools, both for teachers and schoolchildren, containing the main preventive messages have been designed in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and disseminated among these schools. A 6-day workshop course for school inspectors, teachers and representatives of youth committees has been conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education offering a specialisation in MR. Participants acquired knowledge about the risk of mines and ERW and the ways to minimize these risks. The emphasis was placed on clarifying methods to teach MRE lessons, run MRE activities and train other teachers.

This initiative succeeded in demonstrating meaningful achievements and magnitude. In spite of its limited resources and timeframe, almost 5,000 children and youth learned how to prevent risks and maintain a safe and secure environment in 25 communities. Teaching modalities, manuals and visual materials, which have been developed are widely applied by teachers and aid providers during curriculum and extra curriculum activities in the priority areas.

Complementarity with the National Mine Action Strategy

By educating children and youth to prevent risks and secure safety, UNICEF strives to contribute to the implementation of the first strategic goal of the national Mine Action Strategy: "To reduce civilian casualties".

Next Steps

In spite of the progress achieved in the field, new casualties are still being reported. The Government stresses the growing demand to assist in sustaining and expanding local capacity building in more schools of the contaminated districts. Considering the experience gained in the course of this project, UNICEF is expanding the scope of the project now focusing on 28 additional schools in four districts of Rasht Valley and Badakhshan province, where prevention activities are also needed, but few developed.

Viet Nam

During the reporting period, UNICEF Vietnam supported MRE, capacity building and coordination in mine action in the following areas:

Development of MRE programmes through mass media and IEC materials

At the national level, reportage on the UXO/mine contamination situation and UNICEF’s MRE activities was produced and broadcasted on national television. In addition, at the local level, a number of MRE programmes, including reports and TV spots and radio messages were developed and broadcasted on local TV and radio channels in Vietnamese and ethnic minority languages in the participating provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue, which are the most heavily affected with UXO/mine. These programmes targeted a population of 2.5 million people. Specifically, in Thua Thien Hue province, the radio programmes involved the participation of children reporters. In addition, a number of articles with MRE messages were published in local newspapers in the above provinces. At the same time, UNICEF supported development, printing and distribution of IEC materials including posters (5,000), leaflets (28,000), picture books (32,000), and student’s textbooks (7,000), teacher’s guidebooks (500), flipcharts and reference manual for MRE education. Furthermore, 43 bill-boards were built in the most affected areas of three target provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue.

Community and school-based mine risk education

The community-based MRE activities mainly used the form of child to child education through artistic performances with MRE messages and creation of space for children to play and learn about UXO/mine risks and preventative measures such as week-end play-ground, quiz, camping events. These activities reached around 160,000 adults and children in affected areas of six provinces including Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Gia Lai, Kon Tum & Dak Nong. In addition, 480 young people and scrap metal collectors received job counseling and vocational training in Quang Binh province.

UNICEF supported the mainstreaming of MRE in primary schools in Quang Tri province. 300 primary school teachers were trained and provided MRE lessons to 6,050 students. Moreover, the Research Centre for Ethnic Minority Education - Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training conducted a training on safety, especially UXO/mine prevention for pupils in primary schools, for 66 staff of district and provincial departments of education and training, and for principals and vice principals of a number of primary schools from five mountainous and disadvantaged provinces.

Capacity building and coordination

A training course in MRE was organised for 25 participants from UNICEF counterparts for MRE activities at central and provincial levels. The training was offered by GICHD. In the meantime, a number of training events were organised at the provincial and local levels to support the capacity building in MRE project planning and implementation. In addition, UNICEF supported attempts to make fact and figures on the UXO/mine contamination situation in Vietnam available to the domestic and international public through a number of publications. Moreover, UNICEF contributed to better coordination in mine action through a War Legacies Survivor Assistance Workshop for the Sub-Mekong Region. The Workshop aimed at exchanging best practices and lessons and strengthening a regional network on mine action in general and victim assistance in particular.



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