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Diplomacy in Action

The Mine Action Support Group (MASG) Newsletter, May 19, 2009 - September 15, 2009


Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
September 15, 2009

   
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UNMAS

I. POLICY COORDINATION

Inter-Agency Coordination Group for Mine Action (IACG-MA)

The Inter-Agency Coordination Group for Mine Action (IACG-MA) continued to meet monthly at the working-level. The Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) was invited to participate in the September 2009 meeting to exchange information related to the upcoming Second Review Conference of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) to be held in Cartagena (hereinafter referred to as Cartagena Review Conference), Colombia from 30 November to 4 December 2009.

The IACG-MA also met at the Principals' level in July 2009 to discuss, inter-alia, the United Nations participation and interventions at the Cartagena Review Conference and the United Nations preparedness to support the Convention on Cluster Munitions, agreeing on an indicative table of roles and responsibilities to this end.

The IACG-MA also established a Cartagena Task Force in July 2009, which has been meeting regularly to coordinate preparations for the United Nations participation in the Cartagena Review Conference, to agree on comments to the Conference official documents and to plan events to be held during the Conference, which will include a side event on the launch of the Portfolio of Mine Action Projects and an event on gender in mine action with a focus on gender sensitization of the Cartagena Action Plan.

International Legal Frameworks and Treaty Implementation

1. Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)

Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Conference on Cluster Munitions (Santiago, Chile, 14-15 September 2009)

The UNMAS Acting Chief of Policy and Advocacy Support participated in this regional conference to promote the universalization of the CCM. The conference was organized by Chile with the support of Norway and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Other regional conferences will follow (the next will be in Bali, Indonesia, on 16-17 November 2009). Nicaragua and Uruguay expressed their intention to ratify the CCM in New York this month. Other countries briefed participants on their plans for signature and ratification. Chile announced its intention to host the First Preparatory Meeting for the First Conference of States Parties in April 2010, while Laos is likely to host the next conference in November 2009.

Berlin Conference on the destruction of Cluster Munitions (Berlin, on cluster munitions (25-26 June 2009)

UNMAS participated in this event, which was chaired by Germany and Norway and the Senior Liaison Officer made a presentation on technical and practical challenges for stockpile destruction. UNDP managed a sponsorship programme for the event and also participated in the event.

2. Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

Cluster Munitions

Informal meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on cluster munitions (Geneva, 17-21 August 2009)

The UNMAS Senior Liaison Officer participated in these informal consultations. Delegations were not able to reach consensus on a text to be recommended to the Meeting of States Parties for its adoption. Nevertheless, the Chair of the GGE (Argentina) prepared a Chair’s text of a draft CCW protocol on cluster munitions.

3. Antipersonnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC)

Meetings of the Standing Committees of the APMBC (Geneva, 24-29 May 2009)

As in previous years, UNMAS coordinated and delivered UNMAT interventions during each of the four Standing Committees meetings. In addition, the UNMAS Director, on behalf of UNMAT and at the request of the Co-Chairs, delivered a presentation on the UN role in assistance and cooperation to the Standing Committee on General Status and Operation of the Convention. The UNMAS Senior Liaison Officer also gave a presentation to the meeting of the Contact Group on Linking Mine Action and Development. Furthermore, the Deputy Programme Director of the Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan (MACCA) participated in victim assistance events organized by the Co-Chairs of the Standing Committees on Victim Assistance and Socioeconomic Reintegration.

Dushanbe Regional Conference (Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 5-8 July 2009)

The Programme Director of MACCA represented UNMAS in the “Dushanbe Workshop on Progress and Challenges in Achieving a Mine-Free Central Asia“ in preparation of the Cartagena Review Conference. Interventions and presentations were prepared in coordination with the representatives of the National Government. This workshop followed-up on previous regional workshops held in Managua in February 2009 and in Bangkok in April 2009. The next workshop will take place in Tirana, Albania, from 7 to 9 October 2009.

4. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) continues to represent the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in the Inter-Agency Support Group for the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). To this end, it has recently developed a survey for its mine action field programmes aimed at assessing their level of physical accessibility to persons with disabilities as well as access to employment. The survey findings are expected to highlight the important link between the CRPD and victim assistance programmes in mine action, help inform future UNMAS efforts in the implementation of the CRPD and will be presented at the upcoming meeting of the Inter-Agency Support Group to be held in Geneva in the fall of 2009.

UNMAS participated in the Second Conference of States Parties to the CRPD, held in New York from 2 to 4 September 2009.

5. Other

Round Table in the occasion of photo exhibition “Mined Lives” (Miami, 26 June 2009)

The Spanish Cultural Centre in Miami invited the UNMAS Acting Chief of Policy and Advocacy Support to participate in a round table discussion on weapons, organized in the occasion of the photo exhibition “Mined Lives” by photographer Gervasio Sanchez. This exhibition was shown previously at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, where it was launched during the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on 4 April 2009.

The 2010 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects and the Consolidated Appeals Process

The 13th edition of the annual Portfolio of Mine Action Projects is currently being prepared. The Portfolio is a collection of mine action project proposals that aims at reflecting a strategic response by all key field-based partners to the landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) problems in specific countries or territories. For the past several years, the compilation has been a unique resource for donors, policy makers and service providers. UNMAS coordinates the Portfolio process along with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UNDP colleagues in New York. The Portfolio will feature overviews and project outlines from more than thirty affected countries and territories. To coincide with the Cartagena Review Conference, it will be available by December 2009 in hard copy and also online at www.mineaction.org.

Report of the Secretary General for Assistance in Mine Action

The Report of the Secretary-General on Assistance in Mine Action (A/64/287) has been published on 12 August 2009 and is now available in all United Nations languages. The Report can be accessed on E-MINE at www.mineaction.org.

Forthcoming General Assembly Resolution on Assistance in Mine Action

UNMAS started its consultations with the Permanent Mission of Sweden in New York on the United Nations General Assembly resolution on Assistance in Mine Action. Sweden, in its capacity as President of the European Union, coordinates the consultations and negotiation of this biannual resolution. UNMAS expects this year's resolution to include new language based on key elements put forward in the latest Report of the Secretary-General on Assistance in Mine Action.

II. RESOURCE MOBILISATION

Contributions to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action for
19 May 2009 – 15 September 2009 (in US dollars)

Date

Donor

Amount (in US Dollars)

Donor earmarking
01/06/2009

Australia

29,104.54

Nepal
22/06/2009

Andorra

26,454.00

Unearmarked
24/06/2009

Japan

324,949.00

Unearmarked
04/08/2009

Finland

858,780.00

Afghanistan
04/08/2009

Finland

458,016.00

HQ Coordination
04/08/2009

European Commission

617,321.93

Afghanistan
04/08/2009

ITF

17,357.63

Global activities - Iraq
24/08/2009

Australia

4,121,500.00

Afghanistan
31/08/2009

European Commission

8,131,977.15

Afghanistan


Confirmed Pledges to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action

Donor
Amount (donor currency)

Beneficiary

Remarks

City of Barcelona
€ 50,000.00

Mozambique

Second tranche from EUR 100,000

EC
€ 159,099.00

Sudan

Third tranche from EUR 4,999,600

EC
€ 424,349.00

Gaza

First tranche / Awaiting deposit

Finland
€ 200,000.00

Afghanistan

Amendment to EUR 1,700,000

Finland
€ 125,000.00

HQ Coordination

Amendment to EUR 1,065,000

Italy
€ 500,000.00

Sudan

Awaiting deposit

Liechtenstein
CHF 50,000.00

Unearmarked

Awaiting deposit

Sweden
SEK 7,000,000.00

HQ Coordination

Second tranche from SEK20,000,000

United Kingdom
£1,000,000.00

HQ Coordination

Third tranche from GBP3,000,000

United Kingdom
£222,723.00

Gaza

Second tranche from GBP445,446

III. TECHNOLOGY AND STANDARDS

The Land Release draft International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) were submitted to the IACG-MA Principals through the IMAS Steering Group and endorsed. This brings to an end a long period of discussion and debate, which has not been wasted as it has caused many to re-think the way demining is conducted. The new IMAS will now be subjected to the normal review process in accordance with the IMAS Review Board Work Plan and comments are welcome at any time.

During the period, Canada confirmed that trials would be conducted on face protection and the results of these tests will assist both the industry to produce adequate personal protection for deminers and ultimately the deminers themselves.

The neutralization device (Thermite), developed by an inventor in New Zealand, to neutralize mines and ERW while avoiding a high order detonation, continues to be a possible solution for the tasks faced in Cyprus. Moreover, a new method of providing a number of the devices for operational trials has been found. If this is successful, it is still believed that this device could assist many other programmes which are seeking to do without detonators in the interests of security.

IV. DEVELOPMENTS IN UNMAS-MANAGED PROGRAMMES

1. Framework for Mine Action Planning and Rapid Response: Gaza

During the reporting period, the threat posed by anti-tank mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and ERW as a result of ‘Operation Cast Lead’ has remained high. Data recorded since the end of the Operation indicates that some 25 people have been injured and 12 killed as a result of UXO-related accidents. The last accident occurred on 4 August involving two children aged 10 and 8 years.

In response, the United Nations Mine Action Team-Gaza Office (UNMAT-GO) has continued leading a coordinated mine action rapid response. Key activities include assessing and neutralising the threat of UXO, providing coordination for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams, providing UXO safety training for humanitarian workers and raising awareness amongst the most at risk local population. The interventions are undertaken to help reduce the potential for death and injury and to support rubble removal, early recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of housing, infrastructure, agricultural land and livelihoods.

Description: An EOD technician from Mines Advisory Group extinguishes a burning White phosphorus sponge from a 155mm Artillery round.  Photo courtesy of MASG An EOD technician from Mines Advisory Group extinguishes a burning White Phosphorus sponge from a 155mm Artillery round.
During the period April through August, teams from the implementing partner Mines Advisory Group (MAG) continued providing UXO risk assessments and EOD operations in support of rubble removal and reconstruction operations. To date, more than 1,300 assessments have been completed indicating that more than thirty-nine percent of buildings are assessed as having a medium to high risk of containing UXO and will require EOD support to remove ordnance buried under the rubble. A total of 102 UXO safety briefing sessions have been held in English and Arabic for more than 2,500 personnel from United Nations agencies, local and international NGOs and at-risk civilian groups such as farmers working in or near the buffer zone with Israel, and 1,074 Palestinian civilian staff who have been contracted by UNDP, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and CHF International to conduct rubble removal operations.

Important progress has also been achieved in obtaining approval by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) for the creation of a Central Demolitions Site where UXO can be moved, stored safely and ultimately destroyed. The development marks an important milestone in improving the long-term safety prospects for communities in Gaza. The IDF have also approved the importation of explosives and specialist EOD equipment required to locate and destroy the UXO. UNMAT-GO is still working with the Israeli Authorities to finalise the purchase and import the explosives into Gaza.

Description: Various residential homes which have been assessed as having a High potential of containing UXO by the MAG EOD Teams during their Risk Assessment process.   Photo courtesy of MASG Various residential homes which have been assessed as having a “High” potential of containing UXO by the MAG EOD Teams during their Risk Assessment process.
In spite of the progress that has been achieved to date, many challenges remain. The UNMAT-GO rapid response must continue to play a central role to ensuring that hundreds of additional risk assessments are undertaken on buildings, agricultural land and impact holes; awareness briefings are provided for additional rubble removal workers and staff, as well as the civilian groups most at-risk; and EOD support is provided to eliminate UXO/ERW hazards. With the generous support of contributions from the U.K. Department for International Development, the European Commission, the Swedish International Development Agency, the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and OCHA via the Humanitarian Emergency Response Fund, the UNMAT-GO has been able to provide life-saving support to communities in Gaza in 2009.

Given the present level of threat which remains, the UNMAT-GO is in urgent need of sustained funding in the amount of $4.5 million to ensure continuity of operations through 2010 to deliver critical life-saving support to the people of Gaza.

2. United Nations Mine Action Rapid Response Exercise 2009

For the sixth consecutive year, UNMAS, in coordination with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB - the former Swedish Rescue Services Agency SRSA), conducted a Mine Action Rapid Response Exercise. The exercise took place at the MSB College for Risk- and Safety Management in Sandö, Sweden from 8 to 17 June 2009.

Description: Samantha De la Rue, Veteran War Correspondent, New York Times interviews UNMAS Director Maxwell Kerley.  Photo courtesy of MASG Samantha De la Rue, Veteran War Correspondent, New York Times interviews UNMAS Director Maxwell Kerley.
The exercise was conducted within the Framework for Mine Action Planning and Rapid Response (RRP), whereby UNMAS deployed a Mine Action Coordination Team supported by MSB to establish a Mine Action Coordination Centre (MACC). The exercise was conducted in the fictional country of “Sandland”, where a recent conflict notionally just ended after a United Nations/NATO intervention. The exercise involved the setting up of the Sandland MACC (S-MACC). The principal task of the S-MACC was to produce a landmine and ERW threat assessment and proposed methodology for the reduction of the threat, inclusive of a number of staff papers, proposals and reviews of Standard Operating Procedures. In addition, the S-MACC directed the conduct of real Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams, simulating the management of the emergency response. The exercise was conducted under field conditions with the participants living in a tent camp set-up by the MSB support staff.

The 2009 exercise consolidated the improvements made to the exercise in recent years and widened the body of United Nations agencies and NGOs participating. The intention of this broader inclusion has been to reflect the complex inter-agency environment that is likely to be present during such an RRP activation. The adoption of the Protection Cluster approach to the management of the scenario also allowed United Nations agencies and other actors to develop collective competencies and mutual understanding of capabilities and roles.

Description: Participants were selected from the mine action programmes in Lebanon, Western Sahara, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nepal and DR Congo,  Photo courtesy of MASG Participants were selected from the mine action programmes in Lebanon, Western Sahara, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nepal and DR Congo.
For the 2009 exercise, the participants were selected from mine action programmes in Lebanon, Western Sahara, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nepal and Democratic Republic of Congo from UNMAS programmes, UNICEF, UNOPS, UNDSS, UNHCR, MSB Humanitarian Demining Training Centre, Danish Demining Group, DanChurchAid, Mines Advisory Group, OHCHR and DPKO Military Planning Service. Additionally the Swedish Rangers provided support in the form of taking on the roles of NATO troops, militia and provide mock fighting at night close to the camp area to support the illusion of an immediate post-conflict setting with sporadic fighting. The exercise served to validate and improve the RRP Operational Manual.

The aim of the exercise is to train MSB staff to work in a MACC in an emergency environment and to afford the United Nations an opportunity to give selected staff an opportunity to train in certain positions. As such, it provides a unique opportunity for the NGO personnel working within the exercise directing organization to see at first hand the complexity of problems and political issues that a UNMACC invariably has to deal with in this type of immediate post conflict scenario and vice versa. Participants agreed that this sharing of knowledge and understanding, as well as the very real contacts made, serve to significantly improve an integrated mine action response immediately after conflict, the very time when lives are most endangered and humanitarian relief efforts have the most significant impact.

3. Afghanistan

During the reporting period, the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan continued its activities for the Afghan year of 1388 (1 April 2008 through 31 March 2009). This saw the letting of four new contracts with a total value of USD $2.5million to clear 3.3 sq km of land. This is in addition to the 12 contracts already issued for the beginning of the Afghan year (1 April 2009) for a total value of USD $12.6million, to clear 12.4 sq km.

Expected outcomes from the projects were altered to reflect the continuing shortage of funds. The resource situation did improve with contributions confirmed from two donors and negotiations commencing with a further three. Despite this, there remains an anticipated funding gap for the 1388 period of close to UDS $40 million if the targets set out in the 1388 plan are to be achieved. As new hazards continue to be uncovered, the total amount of work to be completed in order to make Ottawa treaty and Afghan Compact goals rises, as does the amount of funding needed to meet these targets.

The presidential elections heightened insecurity throughout the country, with Election Day being considered the most violent day in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. MACCA reduced the number of International staff in country as a mitigation measure and all staff was placed in ‘Lockdown’ for a three day period. MACCA did not experience any direct threats or incidents during this period and the elections did not significantly affect mine clearance. However, the programme did sustain a number of security incidents during the reporting period, including the shooting of an implementing partner (IP) staff member in Logar Province, the kidnapping (and subsequent release) of 16 IP staff members in Gardez, attack of an IP camp, and ambush of an IP vehicle, both in Balkh. These are in addition to a motor vehicle incident, an incident of theft, and harassment of MACCA staff members.

Senior MACCA staff traveled to participate in several meetings, conferences and workshops, including the intercessional meetings of states parties to the mine ban treaty and the parallel process for Victim Assistance, which reviewed the challenges to meeting the promises outlined in the treaty with regards to the social reintegration of landmine survivors. The programme Director attended the World Food Programme (WFP) International Conference on Humanitarian Assistance in Complex Crises in Rome, where he was invited as a speaker to represent UNMAS on the role of local communities in delivering assistance. The Deputy Programme Director attended a workshop on Victim Assistance in Oslo supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to review the priorities for implementation of victim assistance in the context of the APMBC, CCM and ERW protocol, while several MACCA and Department of Mine Clearance (DMC) staff participated in the “Dushanbe Workshop on Progress and Challenges in Achieving a Mine-Free Central Asia”, at which the Programme Director delivered a comprehensive speech on the scope of mines and UXO problems in Afghanistan and the progress yet made towards the APMBC obligations speaking on behalf of Afghan Government, MACCA, UNMAS and NGOs.

MACCA held an event for donors and IPs to launch the new film on the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan, ‘Mine Action in Afghanistan: The Story So Far’ and also the 1387 Annual Report. Attendance included the Embassies of Australia, Japan, Netherlands, EC, Norway, Russia, USA, DFID and CIDA. In addition, the head ANDMA, Deputy Minister of Education, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Deputy SRSG and Head of OCHA attended.

Mine action operations continued over the period with 16,485,843 sq m of minefield and 35, 462,830 sqm of former battle area cleared, resulting in the destruction of 21,995 AP mines, 161 anti-tank mines, and 433,865 items of UXO. Over the same period 310,680 people received mine risk education training, of which 30% were female, while 112 people were recorded as victims with 81% of these being male and 54% under the age of 18.

Transition activities also continued throughout the period, both with the collocated DMC who work in partnership with the MACCA and in other Ministries. Government-funded clearance of the Aynak Copper Mine in Logar province commenced, and Community Based Demining was expanded into three further districts.

4. Chad/CAR (MINURCAT)

In accordance with the recommendations detailed in Secretary-General Report on Chad and the Central African Republic S/2007/488 (2007) to the Security Council, a Mine Action Unit (MAU) based in the MINURCAT Regional Office in Abeche, was established in 2008 to provide a safe and secure conducive working environment for MINURCAT personnel and humanitarian aid workers, the local population, refugees and IDP within Eastern Chad. MineTech International (MTI) has been contracted since October 2008 for implementing survey and clearance operations.

Following events that took place in May in Eastern Chad the MAU Programme Manager, in close coordination with MINURCAT and other mine action partners (the “Haut Commissariat National de Déminage”, UNDP, UNICEF, the Mines Advisory Group -MAG- and MTI), developed and implemented a mine action contingency plan to respond to ERW threat and mine/ERW risk awareness urgent requirements in MINURCAT area of operations, with the objective of ensuring a prompt, coordinated and result-oriented response in the areas affected by recent conflict.

From information gathered during reconnaissance in the affected areas, the range of ERW found is quite extensive. Projectiles have been identified ranging from 12,7mm machine gun and 23mm Cannon Projectiles through to 106mm projectiles. Mortar shells have been located ranging from 60mm through to and including 82mm mortar systems. A significant quantity of rockets which include AP and AT rockets (OG7, RPG7) was also located. Of a lesser extent, but still a significant hazard are Multiple Launched Rockets type 107mm and 122mm. In conclusion, the threat is both complex and diverse. ERW are often abandoned and found in relatively good condition, the majority of which can be transported and stored pending further destruction. The rainy season prevented clearance activities from commencing when initially planned.

As of 30 June 2009, MTI verified and confirmed free from the presence of mines/ERW or cleared 1,012 kilometers of main supply roads/routes in Eastern Chad. 214 neighboring villages/communities had been visited and meetings held with community leaders. A total amount of 10,349 items including 1,680 ERW and 8,669 SAA (< 20 mm) had been subsequently removed as part of the road verification/clearance process and EOD/Battle Area Clearance (BAC) emergency clearance activities. Beside clearance activities thousands of local people have directly benefited from mine/ERW emergency risk education by all mine action partners (MTI, MAG, UNICEF and other partners).

Following new contractual arrangements, MTI deployed a fourth survey/clearance team and established three sub-offices in Farchana, Goz Beida and Iriba. Despite of ongoing insecurity in Eastern Chad, and of the rainy season, operations have continued and by the end of August, more than 2,000 additional ERWs have been destroyed.

5. Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)

To improve its operations management capacity, the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC) redeployed its regional offices within eastern DRC in Goma (North Kivu), Kisangani (Orientale) and Lubumbashi (Katanga). The three regional offices are now fully operational and are implementing the new UNMACC concept of operations. Additional international and national staff is being recruiting for enhancing UNMACC and its regional offices’ capacities for coordination and quality assurance of operations, and for improving information management. A project for developing a victim assistance strategy will begin in October 2009.

The Development Initiative (TDI), a UK based commercial company was contracted and started deployment and training additional survey-clearance teams in December 2008 in the Katanga Province. MSB started deployment and training of a mechanical mine clearance component along with mine detection dog teams to support DanChurchAid’s activities in eastern DRC. Both organizations –TDI and MSB- have been operational since April 2009.

Although the security situation is still fragile in eastern DRC, in addition to numerous logistical challenges, mine action operators have been able to continue their operations, and drastically increase their productivity. They have achieved the clearance of 1,000,000 square meters of land and 6,100 kilometers of road, and demolition of 19,900 explosive remnants of war from May to September 2009. Mechem International completed the clearance of the Bangoka Airport in Kisangani. TDI has completed survey and clearance of dangerous areas in the districts of Haut Katanga, Haut Lomani, Kolwezi and part of South Kivu. In addition, mine risk education continued to be delivered to thousands of people. UNMACC is also developing mine action projects to support the UN Stabilization Strategy in eastern DRC.

6. Nepal

UNMAT Nepal is comprised of UNMAS and UNICEF personnel who together chair the Mine Action Joint Working Group (MAJWG) in Nepal and work to assist the mine action community in Nepal in developing an appropriate response to the country’s mine action needs in the areas of demining, MRE, VA and some advocacy. This arrangement mirrors the UNMAT concept at the HQ level and is designed to utilize the synergies that exists between the various UN agencies involved in Mine Action. An UNMAT Work plan for 2009-10 has been completed and quarterly and other reports to the donor and mine action community detailing UNICEF and UNMAS activities are produced jointly.

UNMAS Component of UNMAT

Following the Government of Nepal’s request for continued United Nations technical assistance to the Nepal Army in October 2008 the United Nations Mine Action Team (UNMAT) was established under the responsibility of the UN Resident Coordinator with funding channeled through the UN Nepal Peace Fund and the VTF. The UNMAS Component UNMAT provides management and operational training to the Nepal Army Mine Action Coordination Centre (NAMACC) to sustain operational capacity independently, as per the jointly developed Capacity Development Plan (CDP).

During the reporting period NAMACC deployed two demining platoons. As of September 2009, the demining platoons have completed clearance of 17 out of 53 Nepal Army minefields, with a total of 34,071 cleared square meters and 2,618 antipersonnel mines destroyed. In July, The Nepal Army moved into a training phase coinciding with monsoon season when clearance can not take place due to the wet conditions. As per the CDP, UNMAT provided a number of technical and management trainings including a Middle Management Course lead by Cranfield University, and EOD Level three and IEDD training courses to Nepal Army staff during this period. During this reporting period, UNMAT supported UNMIN in the clearance of the remaining explosive items held in the Maoist Cantonment Sites. As of 22 September, demolitions have been carried out at six of the seven cantonment sites and a total of 28,208 items have been destroyed.

The Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction (MoPR) will be standing up a mine action office within two months. The mine action office within the MoPR will also be in charge of the government’s strategy for response to the ongoing threat of IEDs. UNMAT will continue discussions with MoPR on how UNMAT can best support the development of this office.

During the reporting period, UNMAT held joint meetings with the Nepal Army and APF regarding support to IED Field clearance and discussed developing a national strategy for IED response guided by the MoPR mine action office. (Note: the term ‘IED Field’ refer to conventional munitions used as AP mines and are now considered ERW.)

NEPAL UNICEF Component of UNMAT

Surveillance of Mine/IED Incidents: In coordination with Handicap International, the INSEC (Informal Sector Service Center) ongoing surveillance system on victim-activated explosions is supported by UNMAT. In particular the analysis format and the dissemination mechanisms of quarterly and ‘flash’ reports have been reviewed. The system allows ongoing prioritization of mine action activities at national/regional/village levels (MRE, victim assistance, advocacy and clearance). As of September 2009, a total of 52 casualties resulted from 18 victim-activated explosions.

Mine/IED Risk Education (MRE): The MRE activities led and conducted by the Ministry of Education through the Department of Education (DOE) and the 20 District Education Offices / 293 Resource Centers, supported by UNMAT reached over 1,000 teachers from 1,000 schools in the twenty most affected districts. The teachers received a one day MRE training and the new MRE material and they have trained the children/teachers of their schools or they are in the process of training them. All the Education Resource Centers and Resource Persons (293 in total) of the 20 districts have been also trained and they received the material covering in this way every VDC/municipality of these 20 districts. In addition to the 1,000 trained teachers, over 6,000 other teachers from the same districts can potentially receive at least one MRE orientation.

The national emergency mine risk education network composed of 430 Governmental, Red Cross and NGO focal points has the capacity to deploy emergency MRE activities in 68 affected districts in a timely manner. The network continues to make efforts to deliver Mine Risk Education (MRE) throughout the country and focusing on higher risk areas and affected groups. During this quarter, at least six emergency MRE interventions have been conducted in six districts (Sarlahi, Puythan, Kailali, Bajhang, Dang and Banke).

Victim Assistance (VA): In July, UNMAT has signed a six-week Special Service Agreement with Handicap International to draft terms of reference for a national strategic workshop for VA and to develop a national VA booklet for victims of IED/mines/ERW that will be disseminated in all districts and village development committees. This project includes the mapping of available medical/rehabilitation facilities and social protection schemes in Nepal and the development of a handbook with practical information on existing medical and rehabilitation facilities, social protection schemes, and guidance on how to approach these facilities, how to benefit from social protection schemes and how to provide first aid if necessary.

Under the leadership of the MoPR, the five-year National Strategic Framework for Victim Assistance has been designed with the key stakeholders. UNMAT will support the NMAA, victim assistance stakeholders and the MAJWG to implement the strategic framework for victim assistance.

7. South Lebanon (UNIFIL)

Since 1 January 2009, the Lebanon Mine Action Center’s (LMAC) Regional Mine Action Centre in Nabatiyeh (RMAC-N) has been the coordination centre for all clearance activity in South Lebanon. The United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC) has supported the start up of the RMAC-N through the donation of a number of required capital equipments and the in-kind donation of 12 UNMACC national staff to work with the RMAC-N from January through December 2009. UNMACC staff is collocated with UNIFIL at the base in Naqoura in order to better support UNIFIL clearance and explosive ordnance disposal assets. UNMACC continues its liaison function between the LMAC and UNIFIL.

In its 2009 capacity, UNMACC has continued to work with the UNIFIL command structure to ensure IMAS compliance of the clearance assets from the UNIFIL Troop Contributing Countries regardless of whether the clearance is considered to be operational or humanitarian in purpose. UNMACC has continued its work to support UNIFIL demining teams on the Blue Line Barrel marking project. From April to August 2009, UNMACC coordinated and managed the clearance of the 4.3 kilometers long Blue Line Access Road in cooperation with UNIFIL and the RMAC-N, supported by mechanical assets from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.

On 12 June 2009, the strike data received from the Israeli Defense Forces on 12 May 2009 was handed over to the LMAC. Through analysis and desk assessment, UNMACC compared known strike locations and sub-munitions and UXOs cleared since August 2006, with the new data and the additional strike sites were identified.

Since the ceasefire in August 2006, incidents involving unexploded ordnance, including cluster munitions, have killed 28 people and injured 247. Among clearance personnel 44 have been injured and 14 killed.

8. Sudan (UNMIS)

Before the onset of the rainy season in June, the United Nations Mine Action Office in Sudan (UNMAO) accomplished some of important tasks for recovery and development activities in Sudan. The UNMIS Pakistani Military Demining Company handed over 97,000 square metres of cleared land to the community of Kurmuk in Blue Nile State. Other major accomplishments included the clearance of a minefield at the Lafon airfield in Central Equatoria State, which will enable the establishment of an operations base for a wildlife national park, as well as the clearance of areas of rice fields in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State and of high priority routes throughout the Transitional Areas and Southern Sudan. With the financial and technical support from UNMAO, Sudan Integrated Mine Action Service (SIMAS), which is the only accredited indigenous NGO in South Sudan, completed clearance of the Mongalla minefield.

UNMAO provided on-the-job training to the National Mine Action Centre (NMAC) and the South Sudan Demining Commission (SSDC) and worked to strengthen their operational capacity. 12 staff members of NMAC are currently working with UNMAO, and 10 staff members of SSDC are on field placement with key international NGOs – Danish Demining Group (DDG) and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA). UNMAO plans to expand the on-the-job training and field replacement to UNMAO-funded partners in the new demining season starts in October 2009.

With the contribution from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), UNMAO continued the implementation of 14 victim assistance projects and supported over 500 mine/ERW victims and persons with disabilities (PWD) during the reporting period. UNMAO also continued to support victim assistance coordination mechanisms, chaired by the NMAC in North and the Ministry of Gender, Social Welfare and Religious Affairs.

Since the beginning of the programme, UNMAO have opened a total of 31,813 kilometers of road, cleared 60,437,560 square metres of land, destroyed 17,935 mines and 835,106 unexploded ordnances, and provided risk education to 2,790,817 people in affected areas and to internally displaced persons in camps and way-stations.

The security situation in South Sudan rapidly deteriorated due to Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) activities as well as inter-tribal conflicts. On 20 September 2009, inter-communal crashes in Jonglei resulted in 76 deaths. If the insecurity continues, it will impact future deployment of demining teams in South Sudan.

9. DARFUR (UNAMID)

The suspension of mine action activities in Darfur was lifted and three Multi-Tasking Teams (MTT) resumed their operations to support the UNAMID mandate. Each MTT was operational in three regions (El Fashir, Nyala and El Geneina) and conducted general survey, route assessments and demolitions of UXOs around local villages and IDP camps. UXO risk education activities by two national NGOs were also resumed.

The security situation in Darfur has remained a major challenge for operations in the region; teams are unable in some instances to access areas of contamination due to insecurity. Darfur is currently under the UN Security Phase IV security environment and all deployments must be escorted by UNAMID military personnel. UNAMID Mine Action Office works closely with UNAMID to coordinate military escorts.

10. SOUTH-CENTRAL SOMALIA

Two EOD teams (2 women and 8 men) began six-week refresher training at the end of June. The training was suspended on 20 July 2009, when all internationals were relocated to Nairobi after UNDSS, UNPOS and UNDP were requested by the local authorities to leave Baidoa. The two EOD teams have been on standby until international staff members are allowed to return to
Baidoa.

In June 2009, the team in Baidoa worked to identify additional means of monitoring mine/ERW casualties throughout south central Somalia, since limited accessibility severely limits the ability to verify casualties in areas where security prevents an active UN footprint on the ground. The national IMSMA Manager subsequently collected data from local hospitals, clinics, and health cluster members, recording 55 casualties thus far in 2009. Liaison between UNMAS, UNHCR and UNICEF resulted in an informal agreement to share casualty data from the protection database. To date, information on 62 casualties from the protection database has been shared from accidents in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

From 18 May to 10 August 2009, MRE activities reached 46,988 individuals through 1,119 sessions in 136 communities in Bay, Middle Juba, and Middle Shabelle regions of south central Somalia. Of the total, 53% of the beneficiaries were male, and 47% were female. 50% were children (29% boys and 21% girls). 25,057 individuals were reached with MRE in June, a record for SOMA since UN activities in south central Somalia were launched in mid-2007. SOMA also continued MRE Training of Trainers (ToT) during the reporting period, reaching 62 community members in Buale, Dinsoor and Ufurow.

On 16 August 2009, armed militia attacked the WFP Compound in Wajid, Bakool region. This is the fourth UN compound deliberately targeted in Somalia within three months.[1] The previous incident occurred on 20 July 2009, when armed Al-Shabaab members entered UN offices in Baidoa and Wajid and removed UN equipment. Although no one was injured, Al-Shabaab requested some UN- and international staff to leave Al-Shabaab controlled areas. In Baidoa, UNICEF, OCHA, UNHCR, SOMA and WHO offices were not affected. In Wajid, WFP equipment was not taken. Subsequently, on 20 July 2009, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator and Designated Official for Security, Mark Bowden, took the decision to suspend UN operations in Baidoa. By mid-September 2009, the situation had not changed, and negotiations are ongoing regarding access for international staff members to Baidoa pending access by UNDSS.

Support to the AU peacekeeping force (AMISOM) continued, with support in-country through Mines Advisory Group and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. 2 SOMA missions to Mogadishu and three missions to Uganda were conducted to prepare EOD training for two AMISOM EOD teams from the Ugandan Contingent. Negotiations are also underway for 2 teams from the Burundian Contingent. Training was scheduled to begin mid-September, however on 17 September, 2 VBIEDs entered the AMISOM Compound in MOG. Both successfully detonated, causing fatalities, casualties and extensive damage. One of the fatalities was the AMISON Deputy Force Commander. No MAG or SOMA staff members were injured in the incident.

11. WESTERN SAHARA (MINURSO)

Contamination from mines and other ERW remains widespread after more than three decades of conflict. Unfortunately, there is very limited information available regarding the location of mines – especially in areas west of the earthen Berm that divides the parties of the conflict over Western Sahara. A total of 13 accidents have occurred thus far in 2009 – including one involving a United Nations Observer Patrol that hit an anti-tank mine in late August. Twenty-four victims were recorded in these accidents (23 injuries and 1 death). These figures highlight the very present danger that threatens the local population, UN personnel, and the potential for the safe return of Saharawi refugees.

Description: Cluster munition casing and BLU63 bomblets at a water source in Budib prior to clearance. The Saharawi boy and his camels in this photo were at risk of an accident. Many other sites across Western Sahara pose similar risks to local populations.   Photo courtesy of MASG
Cluster munition casing and BLU63 bomblets at a water source in Budib prior to clearance. The Saharawi boy and his camels in this photo were at risk of an accident. Many other sites across Western Sahara pose similar risks to local populations.
Although some steps have been initiated to address the threat from mines and other ERW – especially cluster munitions – there are very few resources available to engage in mine action operations. During the reporting period, UNMAS continued support for mine/ERW survey and clearance activities being implemented by the UK-based NGO Landmine Action in the eastern parts of Western Sahara (MINURSO). LMA has developed a work plan for addressing 158 cluster munitions sites and the roughly 400 individual sites contaminated with ordnance. In June and July, Battle Area Clearance (BAC) was completed for over 300,000 square metres, and more than 80 items of UXO were destroyed. Presently, the UN Mine Action Centre and its partners do not have sufficient funds to undertake operations at a scale commensurate to the scope and scale of the mine/ERW problem. Existing funding levels are only sufficient to cover costs for three six-person teams to conduct operations; however, if additional funding were available, the cluster munitions problem and UXO spots could be eliminated in three to five years.

Date: 07/18/2009 Description: Ordnance prepared for destruction by the Royal Moroccan Army, 18 July, 2009  Photo courtesy of MASG Ordnance prepared for destruction by the Royal Moroccan Army, 18 July, 2009
The large scale mine clearance project conducted by the Royal Moroccan Army (RMA) continued in the western parts of the territory, although at reduced rates in June and July. The RMA destroyed approximately 200 items of ordnance during the period. The Senior Mine Action Adviser to MINURSO continued developing dialogue and information exchange with RMA with the aim of identifying ways to enhance technical assistance to the RMA programme.

OTHER PROGRAMME SUPPORT

Colombia

UNMAS is finalizing a project with the Programme for integrated Action Against Anti-personnel Mines (PAICMA) to enhance operational coordination capacity that will facilitate the deployment civilian demining capacity in-country.

Iran-Iraq

The assessment report of the UNMAT inter-agency assessment mission in mid-May has been provided to the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), Mr. Ad Melkerts. The border-demining initiative will be further considered by UNAMI in the near future. The resolution to the Iraqi military’s involvement in the mine action programme is still pending.

Central African Republic

At the request of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of MINUCAT, the Mission’s mine action component conducted a reconnaissance visit to assess the presence of UXO. Some thirty devices were discovered and plans are under way to see their destruction, with the potential of addressing other areas in need of further assessment.

UNDP

I. GENERAL DEVELOPMENTS AND ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN BY THE UNDP MINE ACTION TEAM

The UNDP Mine Action team continued to provide technical support and advice to mine action programmes across the world, including following up conclusions of previous technical assessments and addressing emerging issues. Consultations were also conducted with relevant stakeholders, including donors, international NGOs and mine action institutions.

Missions undertaken by UNDP Mine Action staff during this period were in support of the regional meetings organized in relation to international normative frameworks on landmines and explosive remnants of war. UNDP participated in the regional meetings on the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in Dushanbe, Tajikistan (7-8 July 2009) and the regional meetings of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Berlin, Germany (25-26 June 2009), Johannesburg, South Africa (9-11 September 2009) and Santiago, Chile (14-15 September 2009). UNDP was also requested to provide support and carried out implementation of sponsorship programmes in relation to the meetings in Berlin and Chile. UNDP also contributed to and, in some cases, presented interventions on behalf of the UN Mine Action Team. These meetings also gave occasion to hold bilateral discussions with national programmes and authorities and to meet with UNDP programme staff working directly in support of national programmes.

The UNDP Mine Action team has also been active in supporting the efforts in advance of the Cartagena Second Review Conference, including by participating in the Second Preparatory Meeting in Geneva on 3-4 September 2009 and in the inter-agency Cartagena Task Force under the Inter-Agency Coordination Group.

There was also active engagement of the headquarters and UNDP supported programmes in the preparation of the Report of the Secretary-General on the Assistance in Mine Action. The report featured updates directly from affected states on how the problem is being addressed and the nature of support from the United Nations. As part of the inter-agency efforts to examine the progress made in the implementation of the UN Mine Action Strategy 2006-2010, UNDP contributed to the conceptualization and development of an online survey on the four strategic objectives of the Strategy.

UNDP Mine Action team is again involved with other UN partners in reviewing and advising on mine action project proposals and country submissions to the 2010 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects currently in development. The 2010 Portfolio is expected to be launched in Cartagena.

II. HIGHLIGHTS OF KEY DEVELOPMENTS AND ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN IN A SAMPLE OF UNDP IN MINE ACTION PROGRAMMES

1. Albania

The Albanian Mine Action Executive (AMAE) continues to coordinate and monitor technical assistance and mine action activities, with the help of UNDP. The AMAE activities are currently supported by the European Commission through UNDP Albania.

The demining operations in Northeast Albania are carried out by DanChurchAid with seven local demining teams and one Technical Survey Team under the monitoring of the AMAE Quality Management Team. The total contaminated area of 63,000 square metres remains to be cleared as of mid September 2009, out of which 3,000 square metres are mined areas while 60,000 square metres are Battle Areas (contaminated with UXO/cluster munitions). Based on the National MA Completion Plan, the clearance of these areas should be completed by the end of 2009. If successful, Albania will be in full compliance with its Article 5 obligations.

For the period May to September 2009, some 238,755 square metres have been released as mine and UXO free, with 64 anti-personnel mines, 4 anti-tank mines and 215 cluster munitions having been found and destroyed by the demining teams in 21 working areas. Funding for mine clearance operations in 2009 is covered by donations from Germany and the US Department of State through the International Trust Fund (ITF) in Slovenia and by DfID through UNDP.

Mine Risk Education activities in 2009 are conducted by the local NGOs ALB-AID (Former “Victims of Mines and Arms – Kukësi Association”) and the Albanian Red Cross (ARC) carried out under the coordination and monitoring of AMAE. As a result of progress in mine clearance operations and MRE activities throughout the Northeast the last mine accident recorded in Northeast Albania was in 2005. The MRE projects are funded by the US State Department through the ITF, and by the ICRC.

In the area of Victim Assistance the training of six technicians in above knee modules and upper limbs is ongoing under the “Access to Physical & Medical Rehabilitation in Albania” project funded by US State Department and implemented by Handicap International. The training will continue until March 2010.

The ICRC-SFD continues its support to the National Prosthetic Orthotic Center (NPOC) through the provision of raw materials for prosthesis and technical support visits to improve the management capacities and capabilities of the current staff of the NPOC. In cooperation with the ITF, AMAE coordinated the procurement and delivery of medical equipment to the Kukes Regional Hospital to improve the surgical capabilities benefitting not only mine survivors but the general public. The equipment was procured with funding from the US State Department under the framework of the Albanian Mine Action Programme.

Ten young mine survivors were assisted to continue their school and post secondary studies with funds donated during the charity event “Night of a thousand Dinners” and matched by the US State Department. The project was completed in July 2009. A project to increase employment/business opportunities of 20 mine/ERW survivors in the Kukes Region by improving their professional/entrepreneurial skills was implemented by ALB-AID with funding from the US State Department and was successfully completed in August 2009.

In cooperation with the Implementation Support Unit for the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC), Albania is hosting a Regional Workshop for a Mine Free Southeast Europe in Tirana on 7-9 October 2009 under the EU Joint Action Initiative. The Workshop will be one of up to six regional workshops in advance of the Second Review Conference of the APMBC. On 16 June 2009, Albania deposited the Instrument of Ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, becoming respectively the 9th country to ratify the Convention.

2. Cambodia

In August 2009,three demining operators (MAG, CMAC and Halo Trust) started a Baseline Survey (BLS) under the overall coordination of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA). The BLS will be conducted in three phases. Phase 1: completing BLS in 21 districts by end 2010, Phase 2: completing BLS in the next 41 districts, and Phase 3: completing BLS in the remaining 60 districts. The results of a level one survey concluded in 2002 showed that 122 districts of Cambodia were contaminated with landmines. The purpose of the BLS is to capture the true extent of the remaining landmine problem and classify land according to the agreed land classification standard set out in the BLS Standard, which will assist in clearance prioritization. Results of the BLS will supersede results of previous surveys. The 17 survey teams of the three operators are funded until the end of 2009. The UNDP Mine Action Programme in Cambodia “Clearing for Results” is looking for an additional USD 1 million to cover the BLS costs in 2010.

Up until end 2008, the Socio-Economic (SE) teams of the CMAA conducted post-clearance land use monitoring of sites cleared by the three humanitarian operators (CMAC, MAG, and the HALO Trust). The CMAA SE teams currently conduct coaching to ensure that Mine Action Planning Unit (MAPU) staff are fully confident in conducting post-clearance monitoring. In June 2009, 15 MAPU staff from all provinces attended a two-week training in post-clearance land use monitoring conducted by the CMAA.

The first draft of the Article 5 Extension Request was submitted to the President of the Ninth Meeting of the States Parties to the Convention in late April 2009. A number of questions raised by the Extension Request Analyzing Group in May were answered in June and the substance was incorporated into the final draft, which was re-submitted on 24 August. The remaining Extension Request estimates that 678.8 square kilometers of land remain affected by landmines and will require clearance over the extension period.

The development of Land Release Standards has been identified as a priority for the mine action sector in Cambodia. This will be a complementary work to the work of the BLS and will facilitate the release of suspect land where investigation has concluded that there is no evidence to supporting the retention of the land as suspect, so that it can be released for productive use. If implemented correctly, effectiveness and efficiency of mine clearance operations can be greatly maximized. Land Release Standards are under development based on IMAS and take into account local conditions. The Standards will be issued by end 2009.

The CMAA has taken the lead on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia in the development of the National Mine Action Standards (NMAS) with substantial support from UNDP Cambodia. Key stakeholders in the Cambodian mine action sector were invited to a workshop organized in early July 2009 to contribute to analyzing strengths and weaknesses of the mine action sector in Cambodia, as well as to provide inputs and ideas on the formulation of the strategy. Following the workshop, a number of meetings with focus groups were conducted to collect additional inputs and comments in order to refine the draft vision/mission statement, goals, objectives and activities, propose indicators, and other issues that should be addressed in the strategy. The NMAS is expected to be finalized by the end of 2009.

With the strong commitment of its top leadership toward greater effectiveness and efficiency in coordinating, supervising and monitoring mine action related activities in Cambodia, the CMAA, with support from UNDP, is reviewing the capacity of its secretariat. The purpose is to assess the management structure, staffing and gaps that need to be addressed, as well as fine-tuning functions to ensure that CMAA is able to properly carry out its mandate.

An art exhibit celebrating Cambodia’s mine action achievements and consisting of works by ten Cambodian artists and four young landmine survivors will open in Phnom Penh on 30 September 2009. The exhibit will then be displayed at the Second Review Conference of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in Cartagena, Colombia, with the support of AusAID and the United Nations Mine Action Team. A film about Cambodian mine action and the artists has also been produced.

3. Colombia

Colombia remains the country with the highest number of new mine victims in the world, with 772 new victims in 2008. Two issues remain of particular concern: one being that, while the total number of both civilian and military casualties has dropped over the last two years, the proportion of civilian victims is on the rise; and, another being that non-state armed groups are reported to continue to lay new mines as part of their strategy.

Preparations continue for the Second Review Conference of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, which will take place in Cartagena in from late November to early December 2009. A series of participatory regional workshops organized by a consortium of national NGOs are being held across the country, with the participation of both mine survivors and civil society, in order to prepare a document for conference delegates on the situation in Colombia, as well as to assess civil society activities around the conference. The Presidential Programme for Mine Action (PAICMA), which is the coordinating body in Colombia, has also held two 4-day international seminars on Mine Risk Education and Victim Assistance with European Commission funding, with a third on Humanitarian Demining planned for October.

In Colombia demining has so far remained in the hands of the military. However, steps are being taken to pave the way for civilian operators through a process initiated by the PAICMA to develop a legal framework, and the Geneva Call has hosted a series of meetings and workshops on the issue. The PAICMA has requested UN technical support to establish mechanisms for tasking and quality assurance, to pave the way for multiple operators in demining.

The preparation of the annual Mine Action Portfolio for Colombia revealed funding gaps across all sectors for 2010, particularly as the current support for PAICMA from the European Commission will come to an end. UNICEF continues to support mine risk education and risk reduction, while UNDP is in the process of re-establishing its mine action programme, with a particular focus on supporting victim assistance and systematic documentation and monitoring of mine accidents through the existing public health surveillance system. A partial Landmine Impact Survey, funded by the European Commission, is about to commence in four of the most conflict-affected regions of Colombia, and the results will be used to shape future activities.

4. Ethiopia

During the second quarter of operations, the Ethiopian Mine Action Office (EMAO) released an additional 2,358,552 square metres of previously landmine-contaminated land to the local communities through the integrated humanitarian demining process. The result was the total clearance of 4,560,813 square metres land from January to June 2009 or 78 % of the 2009 annual clearance target of suspected hazardous areas (5,861,000 square metres). Between April and June 2009, 175 antipersonnel landmines, 63 anti-vehicle mines, and 3,679 items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) were found and destroyed. During the same period Mine Risk Education & community liaison services were provided to 11,201 people, (6,818 male and 4,383 female) residing in and around EMAO’s operational areas. As a result, the recipients of MRE provided information to EMAO about the location of five antipersonnel mines, eight anti-tank mines and 248 items of UXO for subsequent disposal by EMAO’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialists. Combined with the beneficiaries of the first quarter, a total of 30,091 people were provided with MRE by EMAO from January to June 2009, representing 75 % of 2009 MRE target.

In early September 2009 a European Commission (EC) monitoring mission to the Northern region of Tigray was successfully completed with assistance from EMAO and UNDP. The EC will provide a total of EUR 9.75 million to EMAO’s humanitarian demining operations through UNDP from 2007 to 2009 with a total clearance target of over 21 square kilometres.

Consultations with EMAO operators and other relevant partners and beneficiaries in the field helped the EC to assess the relevance and fulfillment of objectives, including issues of development efficiency, effectiveness, impact, sustainability, and coherence, and to assess EC value-added, EC visibility, as well as the integration of other cross-cutting issues into the project, such as gender, capacity development, environment, sustainability, and good governance. Through the field visit, the EC mission was able to confirm the significant impact of demining operations undertaken by EMAO. It was noted that approximately 70 agricultural investors are currently applying to obtain land in the areas confirmed as safe after survey and demining operations by the EMAO.

In terms of resource mobilization, EMAO, with support of UNDP and the EC, has formulated a new humanitarian demining and mine risk education project for 24 months from 2010 to 2011. The estimated budget is EUR 7,850,000 or US$ 11,147,000. With the contribution EC already plans to provide, EUR 3,000,000 or US$ 4,260,000 has yet to be mobilized to fully finance the new project. Increased donor support to EMAO is critical from 2010 to 2011 to continue building upon the demonstrated results delivered by EMAO from 2007 to 2009 in support of Ethiopia’s achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the fulfillment of Article 5 obligation under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.

5. Guinea Bissau

A National Mine Action Plan was concluded for the completion of obligations under the Article 5 of the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC). The Action Plan focuses on 1) the development of a national technical survey capacity; 2) clearance of all known minefields in Guinea Bissau in time to achieve the APMBC obligation; 3) provision of medical care and access to assistance for all landmine and ERW survivors leading to full integration into community life; 4) ensuring that an effective management system is in place within CCAMI; and, 5) a significant reduction of the risks to the population from UXO.

Little progress has been made in providing assistance to survivors due to limited funds and government support. Data indicates that there have been 1,206 victims of mines and UXO since the Liberation war. Many of these may have already died, but it is likely there are many more unrecorded. Two support visits have recently been facilitated by the National Mine Action Coordination Centre (CAAMI) in 2006 and 2009 to help focus the VA direction of the programme.

Despite being mentioned in the country’s PRSP as a specifically vulnerable group, mine victims receive little or no financial support from the government and unfortunately, mine victims do not come under any of the two main Ministry schemes for disabled under the Ministry of Social Solidarity and Poverty Reduction and the Ministry of Ex-Combatants. Plans to include mine/ERW survivors in the category of “war victims” in Article 5 of the Guinea Bissauan Constitution have not yet been realized. Victim assistance is part of CAAMI’s mine action plan, but very limited activities are undertaken due to the extremely limited resources. Effective VA will require an extensive needs assessment and the creation of a sound national database.

A new development is increasingly becoming a concern to mine action in Guinea Bissau. Scrap metal trading in neighboring countries is now reaching into Guinea-Bissau, potentially increasing the likelihood of casualties.

While MRE initiatives of CAAMI are almost countrywide, the national authority does not yet have appropriate monitoring procedures in place. CAAMI is planning to implement a monitoring system to ensure feedback on the effectiveness of MRE activities in order to continuously improve the quality of MRE.

Funding required to fully implement the 2009 - 2011 National Mine Action Plan in Guinea Bissau is US$ 7,923,000, of which US$ 2,523,000 has already been pledged. The current shortfall is thus US$ 5,400,000.

6. Iraq

The key objectives of the UNDP support in Iraq continues to be to develop the capacity of the Directorate of Mine Action (DMA), which is under reorganization/restructuring, in order to improve its effectiveness, efficiency and independence within the Ministry of Environment to increase the clearance capacity, to mainstream mine action in the reconstruction and development planning in Iraq and to support the Government to comply with the Antipersonnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC), which came into effect on 1 February 2008.

UNDP facilitated the strategic planning and subsequent development of the Draft Mine Action Strategy 2010 to 2012 with participation from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Environment. The launch of the strategy by the Ministry of Environment is planned for late 2009.

Since December 2008 mine action in Iraq has faced a ban on humanitarian demining activities issued by the Ministry of Defence. This challenge is finally being resolved and UNDP has been informed that an official letter has been signed on 31 August 2009 stating that three civilian demining organizations, including Rafidain Demining Organization (RDO), supported by UNDP, and two Iraqi companies, have been security cleared and can recommence their clearance work once the DMA approves their operational accreditation. In June 2009, technical surveys and Mine Risk Education (MRE) activities had been allowed to resume. On 4 July 2009, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Defence was signed, stipulating the general roles and responsibilities of each in Mine Action. The Mine Action Operations in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) continues without interruptions.

The United Nations Mine Action Team (UNMAT) deployed a Technical Assistance Mission (TAM) from 15 - 20 May 2009, tasked with working on concrete solutions to allow humanitarian mine action organisations to resume operations following the humanitarian demining ban. TAM also assessed and provided advice on a structure for a streamlined governing body for Mine Action.

In support of the GDMA training unit, UNDP arranged and facilitated on-the-job training for RDO deminers, who had already completed the theoretical training, thus qualifying them for manual demining. This took place in Sulaimaniyah from the 9 to 28 May.

UNDP moreover facilitated and assisted in conducting the successful Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) Mechanical Demining and Accreditation Training in Amman from 29 June to 2 July for technical staff in the DMA, RMAC-S, GDMA and Ministry of Environment. In addition to theoretical training, the session included three field visits to the Norwegian People’s Aid and the National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation/Military Engineering Core operations sites on the Northern Border and in the Jordan Valley.

In July 2009, the DMA launched two separate MRE Spots, one targeting children and the other adults, which are currently broadcasted on two Iraqi TV channels: Al Furat and Al Anwar.

In the Victim Assistance service provision in Erbil/Duhok and Suleimaniya Governorates, three NGO partners completed the implementation of physical and socio-economic rehabilitation activities with funding from the Government of Japan. The partners were the Centre for Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Limbs in Dohuk (PLCD), Diana Orthopaedic Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Centre (DPLC) in Erbil Governorate, and Kurdistan Organization for Rehabilitation of the Disabled (KORD) in Sulaymaniyah. DPLC and PLCD commenced operations again in June, and KORD commenced operations in July with funds from AusAID.

A UNDP and UNICEF joint report “Overview of Landmines and Explosives Remnants of War in Iraq” was launched with the Ministry of Environment on 1 July 2009 in Baghdad. The event was widely publicized in the media, such as Reuters, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and CNN.

The largest challenge since December 2008 has been the humanitarian demining ban by Iraqi Ministry of Defence. However, as described above, it is being resolved. In the meantime, Iraq has lost more than eight months of clearance operations. Moreover, it has been a challenge to allow civil organizations to continue to operate under civil governmental control and ensuring strict control of explosives handling by the governmental Mine Action authority. In the coming years it will be a major challenge to launch and implement the joint Iraq Mine Action Strategy. The fragile security situation in Iraq remains a key challenge to implementation of activities.

In terms of the funding status for Mine Action initiatives in Iraq, DFID has kindly approved the provision of £200,000 (approximately US$ 327,000) to bridge the financial gap to continue capacity building activities for Government Mine Action institutions in Iraq. The grant agreement of US$684,299 from the US Department of State for ongoing activities of institutional development is likely to be received in September 2009.

Ongoing activities for clearance in Southern Iraq are funded until the end of February 2010 with financial support from the Governments of Australia and the UNDG Iraq Trust Fund. An additional US$ 3 million is required for 2010 to support existing capacity.

The Government is requesting UNDP to support the establishment of additional demining capacity in central and Southern Iraq to meet the obligations of the APMBC. UNDP and the Ministry of Environment are exploring cost-sharing options to respond to this request from the government. It is estimated that an additional US$ 10-20 million is required.

7. Lao

UNDP’s support to the UXO/Mine Action Sector in Lao PDR continued through its two longterm projects: UXO Lao and the National Regulatory Authority (NRA). UNDP helped the Government establish UXO Lao in 1996 and today it employs almost 1,000 national clearance and MRE staff. UNDP also helped establish the NRA, which became operational in late 2006, employing almost 40 national staff mandated to monitor, coordinate and regulate all operators in the sector. Although both are fully operational, UXO Lao faces a funding shortfall of some US$ 2 million on a US$ 7 million work plan and the NRA a shortfall of nearly US$ 200,000 on a US$ 1 million work plan.

The NRA is the focal point in the UXO / Mine Action Sector for the Government of Lao. The sector has expanded in the second quarter of 2009 with the signing of MOU’s between the NRA and two new partners. The first was the German NGO SODI, funded by the Government of Germany, and the second was NPA, funded by Norway, both becoming operational in UXO clearance. SODI is established over the border in Vietnam but has never worked in Lao PDR before. NPA has a long history in Lao PDR of support to UXO Lao, but this is their first independent clearance project. SODI and NPA join MAG, HIB and FSD, bringing the total to five NGOs. In addition, there were three commercial companies, BACTEC, PCL and Millsearch carrying out clearance for projects such as dams and hydro-power distribution, mineral mining and oil exploration.

National Standards were approved at the end of 2008 and formalized under a Decree in January 2009. In line with the National Standards, all of the operators named above are either fully accredited by the NRA or are going through the process. Completion reports from all accredited operators are used as input for the National Database, following the procedures laid down in the National Standards. The results from the NRA 2008 survey of UXO and Mine Accidents have also been uploaded into the National Database. The software underpinning the National Database is the latest version of the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA), which in the second quarter of 2009 was fully operational and being rolled out to operators, with an installation and training package at headquarters and field levels.

Lao PDR signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) on December 3 2008 and ratified on March 18 2009 and has offered to host the First Member States Parties Meeting in Vientiane. A “Lao Support Group” was formed in May and had its first meeting in London, chaired by the Lao Foreign Minister. It was followed by a meeting in Geneva, chaired by the Lao Ambassador and another in Berlin in June, chaired by the Deputy Foreign Minister. This shows that, despite funding shortfalls and the Convention not yet being in force, Article 6 on International Cooperation and Assistance is beginning to work. Lao PDR participated in the CCM conference on stockpile destruction in Berlin, adding weight to the Convention even though the Government has stated it does not have any cluster munitions stockpiled.

Lao PDR signed the Convention on People with Disabilities in 2008 but has not yet ratified. The Lao Government voted positively at the last two General Assemblies on Universalization of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and attended the last two Member States Parties meetings in an observer status, stating that it agrees in principle with the Convention and is considering submission of a volunteer Article 7 transparency report. However, no action has taken place during the reporting period.

The Lao UXO sector strategic plan, “The Safe Path Forward 2003 – 2013”, was drafted in 2002. Since then Lao PDR has seen many developments and changes, not least its obligations to Convention on Cluster Munitions. Therefore, the NRA Board decided that the strategic plan should be comprehensively reviewed and revised to make sure it remains relevant in the current context. A very consultative process throughout the second quarter of 2009 of workshops, reference groups and recommendations from the 2008 Sector Evaluation and the Gender Study was used to develop a “Safe Path Forward II: 2010 – 2020”. This revised strategy will be taken to a UXO Sector Working Group in September for final discussions and later for approval by the NRA Board.

8. Lebanon

The Lebanon Mine Action Centre (LMAC) provides Government oversight and coordination for all mine action activities in Lebanon. It is the strategic goals of the LMAC in clearance, MRE and VA to mitigate all high and medium impacted communities in five years, design, plan, provide and implement a mine risk education system that reaches all affected areas of Lebanon, and to provide assistance to mine/UXO victims in all aspects and support activities to provide them with their full legal rights.

The government of Lebanon was the third nation to sign the Oslo Convention of Cluster Munitions on 3 December 2008. Over 190,000 cluster munitions have been cleared since the cessation of hostilities in August 2006. To date, 65% of clearance has been achieved through national assets and the remainder through UNMAS or bilateral agreements. The Lebanese Mine Action Authority assumed full national authority for mine action in Lebanon on 1 January 2009. This includes an independent quality management system and national operations centre for mine clearance. UNDP continues to provide technical support to UNRWA for UXO clearance of the Nahr Bared Camp in Northern Lebanon. With support for the Government of Norway and UNDP, the LMAC held the Beirut Convention on Cluster Munitions Regional Conference on 11-12 November 2008.

The key objectives in Lebanon over the next months and years will be to clear all areas affected by the 2006 conflict by the end of 2012. Approximately 12 million square metres remain of the originally contaminated land of 48 million square metres. It will be key to finalize a new Long Term Plan (2009-2013) to reflect the extension of cluster munitions clearances from end of 2007 to end of 2012. The new plan will also highlight the developmental and peace-building aspects of mine clearances in Northern and central Lebanon over this five year period.

Among the key challenges are the funding gap of US$ 8 million for planned 2009 clearances and a considerable funding gap in 2010. To date over 50% of the clearance actors working in Lebanon in 2008 have had to cease work due to a lack of resources, which is a major concern given the remaining tasks ahead. The resources of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) have been further limited due to the increased operational security tasks assigned to the LAF without the additional funds to parallel it. Funding for MVA and MRE activities also remain low.

9. Mozambique

The Government of Mozambique has declared a goal of clearing all known mined areas by March 2014. The strategy of the Mozambique Mine Action Programme is to focus on the six remaining provinces in the centre and South, supporting socio-economic development activities focused the on rural population. To achieve the government objectives, several initiatives were taken by the government and partners, such as the District-by-District approach, the constant demining-results assessment and dynamic resource mobilization. It is the objective of the Mozambique National Demining Institute (IND) to continue guiding and coordinating the efforts in the mine action sector to achieve the goals set out in the National Mine Action Plan (NMAP) 2008 – 2014.

As part of coordination efforts, the Mine Action Stakeholders’ Forum was created as a structure for dialogue between the IND and its co-operating partners. Two quarterly meetings were held from May to September 2009. At the last meeting, the IND presented a brief summary of activities in 2009, and demining operators gave a briefing on current activities and the funding situation. In terms of funding concerns were raised on possible shortages towards the end of the year. The input for the 2010 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects was coordinated among all mine action stakeholders. Proposals were submitted by all three humanitarian operators and the IND.

In terms of quality assurance, IND field teams continued their monitoring visits to all demining operators in the 6 provinces. Resources were allocated to visit all communities in the vicinity of demining operations, ensuring that local authorities and community members are kept informed and involved. In parallel, IND carried out assessment missions to Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane. The information obtained was fed into a database and discussed with the designated operators.

Although the Northern provinces are considered mines free, through a consultation process with the Provincial and District authorities, 146 sites were found to be contaminated with ERW. Moreover, additional suspected mined areas were identified in Niassa, Cabo Delgado, Nampula, and Zambézia. IND therefore assessed additional districts and provinces in the North and from May to September, as a result of which the number of previously reported SHA and ERW were significantly reduced. IND now works with national and provincial authorities to develop planning and coordination mechanisms to conduct clearance. It is anticipated that such operations will initially be undertaken by the police.

QA protocols and additional national standards are under development including the land release, technical and non technical surveys. While developing the mine action component within the Mozambique Action Plan for the Reduction of Poverty (PARPA II extension 2010-2011), the IND commissioned a desk review of its five year mine action intervention. Moreover, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (MINEC) and the IND participated in the drafting of the Cartagena Action Plan 2010-2014 and draft Cartagena Declaration.

Clearance activities continued throughout the provinces. In Tete the Government funded national demining companies to clear all known areas. In Sofala small clearance operations were supported by Italy. With funds provided by Japan, HALO Trust is undertaking demining in Manica. In Inhambane Handicap International conducted clearance activities throughout the district of Panda funded by Norway (through UNDP). With new funds from Australia (through UNDP) clearance operations have been initiated in the district of Vilankulos. APOPO concluded clearance along the railway in Gaza province with funding from UNDP and continues its survey, with the likelihood of expanding its activities. HALO Trust increased its demining capacities along the Maputo-Ressano Garcia Pylons in the Maputo province with funds provided by UNDP. Through funds from the US Department of states, HALO Trust concluded the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border survey from June to August and results have been compiled and will be presented to the IND.

Since the beginning of 2009 and until August, 57 minefields were cleared and handed over to communities for their utilization amounting to 700,547 square metres.

IND will continue to ensure that mine action is well integrated within the national developmental plans. In the next months district mine free assessments will be enhanced by demining operators in their respective area of operations and by the IND QA teams. In the Northern provinces, IND QA teams and the provincial governments of Niassa, Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Zambezia will continue the assessment process and develop action plans accordingly.

The current mine action programme is making good progress but does not yet have sufficient funding to clear all known minefields within the timeframe as set out in the extension request and action plan 2008-2014. If funding is not increased soon, in line with the National Plan, it will become increasingly difficult to achieve a mine free Mozambique by 2014. However, this goal is very achievable if the funding requirement can be assured.

10. Sri Lanka

The UNDP Support to the Mine Action Project assists the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to coordinate and manage mine actions in the conflict-affected districts of the North and East. Project staff in the District Mine Action Offices (DMAO) supports the Government Agents (GAs) in coordinating mine/UXO clearance; mine risk education and survivor assistance at district level.

Sri Lanka’s National Mine Action Programme operates under the leadership of the National Steering Committee on Mine Action (NSCMA), chaired by the Ministry of Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development (MNBEID). The NSCMA provides overall policy guidance to the programme and comprises representatives from stakeholder ministries, the donor community, demining and MRE I/NGOs, UNICEF and UNDP. This body meets quarterly to assess progress and resolve policy issues.

It is an important part of NSCMA/UNDP support to mine action project goals to establish a National Mine Action Centre (NMAC), which would lead mine action coordination and management operations. With financial and technical assistance from the UNDP Bureau for Conflict Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), a draft NMAC Terms of Reference (TOR) was prepared in May 2009 in consultation with the government, donors and I/NGO stakeholders. The next steps will involve validating the TOR and establishing the NMAC institution. As an interim measure, UNDP is committed to funding six full-time government mine action staff positions.

On 19 May 2009, the GoSL announced the end of the war and claimed victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). With the end of the war, which spanned almost three decades, and the government’s plan for re-settling the majority of approximately 330,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) from the conflict affected areas within 180 days, speedy demining has become an urgent priority.

Following permission granted by the GoSL to clear the Mannar district in February 2009, large tracts of land potentially contaminated by landmines and ERW in the North have been assigned for clearance to the Sri Lanka Army Humanitarian Demining Unit and the six INGO/NGO demining agencies. Between 1 May and 31 August 2009, a total of 5,027,433 square metres of land was cleared and handed over to the government to re-settle IDPs, re-start livelihoods, and implement infrastructure development and the restoration of services. As of 15 September 2009 approximately 5.7 square kilometres were under clearance. With the GoSL aiming to re-settle and re-develop conflict affected areas in the North, many areas which were hitherto inaccessible have been identified and tasked for clearance as a precursor to the return and resettlement of displaced populations in these districts.

Survey and clearance operations are currently proceeding in the Jaffna, Mannar, and Vavuniya districts. Select areas in the Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu districts have been assigned for clearance. This is a significant development since demining operations had been suspended in many Northern areas between the period from 2006 to 2008. In order to meet rapidly escalating demands for demining in the North, the UNDP Support to Mine Action Project is in the process of significantly scaling-up its human resource and technical resource capacities.

11. Sudan

The first meeting of the re-instituted UN Mine Action Steering Committee was held on 9 June 2009. The meeting was chaired by Ms. Ameerah Haq, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and Regional and Humanitarian Coordinator, and attended by representatives from UNMAO, UNDP and UNICEF. The meeting endorsed the draft Terms of Reference (TOR) for the UN Mine Action Steering Committee. In order that the relevant high-level national authorities remain fully involved in the policy and strategic decision-making process on issues related to national mine action, the members agreed to work with the concerned authorities within the Government of National Unity (GONU) and Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) to establish a joint UN/National Authorities Mine Action Steering Committee as soon as possible. The UNDP Mine Action Project staff have developed a TOR for this committee and work is in progress with the National Mine Action Centre (NMAC), the Southern Sudan Demining Authority (SSDA) and UNMAO to hold the first meeting as soon as necessary preparations are complete.

UNDP and UNMAO provided technical, management, financial and logistical assistance to the National Mine Action Authority, who organized a donor conference on 15 September 2009 with the aim of mobilizing resources for national mine action capacity development and national mine action activities. The key speakers on the occasion were, among others the State Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Secretary General of the National Mine Action Authority and the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. A portfolio of 30 concept proposals was prepared and provided to potential donors, both local and international. The conference was attended by 13 embassies and UN agencies, including UNDP and UNICEF, and representatives from several GONU ministries. The conference was also attended by representatives from about 20 local NGOs and the private sector.

During the reporting period, four NMAC staff members continued their on-the-job training with relevant staff of UNMAO and UNDP in Khartoum. UNDP moreover assisted one Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team with six staff members from the Sudan Integrated Mine Action Service (SIMAS) with DDG in May and June. The final figures from the UNDP-managed DDG contract indicated that the work either met or exceeded planned objectives. Despite a number of external constraints and challenges, the DDG team was able to raise the technical skills of five SSDA personnel, and in the process was able to destroy over 1000 items of UXO in 75 dangerous areas, and deliver much-needed MRE to 2,480 beneficiaries in the impacted communities of Magwi and Loa.

With in-country assistance from the UNDP mine action team, Cranfield University conducted a comprehensive Training Needs Assessment of the NMAC and SSDA in July 2009 and prepared a training plan for several training course, including: Mine Action Quality Management, resource mobilization and resource management, information management, and process improvement. These courses will be conducted towards the end of 2009.

With assistance from UNDP, an agreement has been reached between the National Mine Action Centre and RONCO Consulting Corporation for the formal accreditation of two, out of six, manual mine/ERW clearance teams of the Joint Integrated Demining Units. The accreditation process will be completed during September-October 2009.

Utilizing a remaining US$ 84,900 of a DFAIT-Canada contribution, UNDP and SSDA have agreed to implement a number of activities in accordance with the agreed Annual Work-Plan for 2009. These activities will include: the verification and destruction of unserviceable, abandoned ammunition, support to the field placement and training attachment process; and implementation of a Victim Assistance survey. The work will be conducted in partnership between UNDP and other mine action stakeholders and activities began in early September 2009. As part of the first phase of activity, SSDA has conducted several field accreditation visits in partnership with UNMAO QA staff, and made several QA visits. The SSDA has also begun working with partners to develop the Victim Assistance questionnaire.

With technical assistance and advice from UNDP GONU has secured funds from the state budget and the Multi Donor Trust Fund for the rehabilitation of the Babanusa-Wau railway line and to tarmac the main roads cleared and verified by the JIDUs in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. In an effort to mobilize resources for national mine action capacity development, UNDP and NMAC has started visiting interested Khartoum based Embassies and donors. As of September 10, the embassies of the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Switzerland have been visited.

UNICEF

1. Bosnia and Herzegovina

In the period from May to September 2009, UNICEF Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continued to provide technical, financial and logistical support to the BiH Mine Action Centre (BHMAC) and to implementing agencies involved in MRE.

To pilot and further upgrade the developed mine action planning methodology at the municipal level and reduce the risk posed by landmines, in cooperation with the BHMAC and the implementing partner/local NGO, UNICEF BiH supported MRE implementation in selected pilot municipalities. The implementation of the two municipal MRE plans started in August 2009, while the other two locations will be determined according to BHMAC prioritisation process for 2009.

BHMAC continued with daily activities related to management, quality assurance of MRE in the country, provided assistance to local and international mine action organizations and NGOs with analyses, recommendations and technical opinion on the MRE and LMVA project implementation and proposals.

In September, with UNICEF support the local NGO GENESIS Project in collaboration with the Ministries of Education, started implementation of the second, school based project in 2009, on landmine and small arms (SA) risk education in 10 BiH locations highly affected by landmines. By the end of December, the project will result in building the knowledge and skills on sustainable MRE and SA risk education of 300 schoolteachers, 200 children directly (trough the MRE/SALW peer-education) and 1600 children indirectly will increase knowledge on the risks posed by landmines and SA, while 10 MRE/SA community groups consisted of approximately 60 schoolteachers and representatives of the local communities will be established to support the local MRE capacities.

2. Colombia

UNICEF coordinated the compilation of the 2010 UN Mine Action portfolio with the PAICMA, UN partners, ICRC and NGOs, resulting in the submission of some 25 projects, with funding needs totaling $5,729.493 across all mine action pillars for the coming years.

Throughout the reporting period, UNICEF has continued to provide support to the PAICMA, most specifically in preparation for the Cartagena Conference, but also in Victim Assistance, Information Management and in broader institutional development. UNICEF continued to support a range of national partners in the development of mine risk education programming pertinent to the Colombian context, with indigenous, afro-Colombian and farming communities.

UNICEF remains committed to working with communities to reduce risk as well as the institutionalization of MRE through Institutional Education Plans, has designed a teacher training package using participatory methodologies and has finalized a range of materials to be used in training for all population groups.

Colombia remains the country with the highest number of new mine victims in the world - 772 in 2008. Of particular concern is that while the total number of casualties - civilian and military - has dropped over the last two years, the proportion of civilian victims is rising, and non-state armed groups continue to lay new mines as part of their strategy.

Preparations continue for the Second Revision Conference of the Ottawa treaty, to take place in Cartagena in early December. A series of participatory regional workshops organised by a consortium of national NGOs are being held across the country, involving mine survivors and civil society, in order to prepare a document for conference delegates on the situation in Colombia, as well as to determine civil society activities around the conference. The Presidential Programme for Mine Action (PAICMA) - the coordinating body in Colombia - has also held two European Commission-funded 4-day international seminars on Mine Risk Education and Victim Assistance, with a third on Humanitarian Demining planned for October.

3. Eritrea

Eritrea is among the top 24 countries worldwide where the legacy of war, mines and explosive remnants of war remains a vivid threat. Under the coordination of the Eritrean Demining Authority (EDA), a community-based Mine Risk Education (MRE) programme is bringing increasing awareness to all age groups and gender towards the threat posed by mines and explosive remnants of war. The MRE targets in and out of school children, internally displaced persons, (IDPs), religious centres, hospitals, line ministries, bilateral partners, UN agencies, and humanitarian workers visiting contaminated communities. Currently, there are 10 community-based MRE teams deployed across all affected areas and using various educational materials focused on behavioral change. From May 2009, 74,407 people were sensitized on MRE safety measures and about 65 per cent were children as illustrated below.

Description: MRE Right Holders in the communities affected by mines and explosive remnants of war.  Photo courtesy of MASG

The MRE teams reported about eight Mine/ERW incidents which involved eight injuries and two deaths. (seven boys and one girl were injured and two deaths). The majority of the victims were boys usually tampering or playing with explosive remnants of war. In early 2009, a pilot Injury Surveillance System (ISS) was introduced in one sub region (Maekel) with technical support from UNICEF and the Control Disease Centre, Atlanta. The ISS database will be scaled up in 2010 to all the remaining regions. Data on 1,400 injury cases has already been collected including mine/ERW accidents. Other notable activities within the last two quarters are as follows:

  • Public and community mobilization events on mine action were held, including the April 4 International Day for Mine Awareness and Mine Action Assistance. Many communities are now prompt on report ing/Mines to the MRE teams/local administrations.
  • Capacity building activities were organized for MRE facilitators, MRE focal persons and teachers at the sub regional level. In June, EDA conducted a study visit to MAG and RECSA in Kenya and recommendations from the report have been integrated into the Child Protection MTR report.
  • Due to increasing community needs for urgent clearing and destruction of UXOs, efforts have commenced on combining the MRE and EOD teams.
  • An interagency Mine Action Technical Working Group was established in May to coordinate and review all the mine action supported activities in Eritrea. Meetings are held quarterly and partners include EDA, ICRC, UNDP, WHO, UNICEF, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Information and the Red Cross Society of Eritrea.
  • Jointly with other partners, emergency materials such as family relief kits, tents, soap, blankets, tarpaulin sheetsand other emergency services were provided to IDPs.
  • For victim assistance, a Donkey for School Initiative was introduced into the community based rehabilitation programme for people living with disabilities. A total of 176 donkeys were distributed to families with disabled children to facilitate easy access to schools.
  • Improved collaboration commenced with the Ministry of Education to increase activities conducted in the schools. Training activities were also provided to curriculum developers and school teachers.
  • MRE information and messages were regularly disseminated through radio, newspapers and TV.

The funding gaps remain a major threat in sustaining gains already made for children. Strategic interventions will need to include increased capacity building of national mine action partners, improving the MRE materials to be more male specific, scaling up outreach to school children in remote areas and strengthening monitoring and evaluation. There is also an urgent need to integrate EOD and teams for effective causality prevention and synergy of resources.

4. Nepal

Surveillance of Mine/IED Incidents: In coordination with Handicap International, the INSEC (Informal Sector Service Center) ongoing surveillance system on victim-activated explosions is supported by UNMAT. In particular the analysis format and the dissemination mechanisms of quarterly and ‘flash’ reports have been reviewed. The system allows ongoing prioritization of mine action activities at national/regional/village levels (MRE, victim assistance, advocacy and clearance).

As of September 2009, a total of 52 casualties resulted from 18 victim-activated explosions.

Mine/IED Risk Education (MRE): The MRE activities led and conducted by the Ministry of Education through the Department of Education (DOE) and the 20 District Education Offices / 293 Resource Centers, supported by UNMAT reached over 1,000 teachers from 1,000 schools in the twenty most affected districts. The teachers received a one day MRE training and the new MRE material and they have trained the children/teachers of their schools or they are in the process of training them. All the Education Resource Centers and Resource Persons (293 in total) of the 20 districts have been also trained and they received the material covering in this way every VDC/municipality of these 20 districts. In addition to the 1,000 trained teachers, over 6,000 other teachers from the same districts can potentially receive at least one MRE orientation.

The national emergency mine risk education network composed of 430 Governmental, Red Cross and NGO focal points has the capacity to deploy emergency MRE activities in 68 affected districts in a timely manner. The network continues to make efforts to deliver Mine Risk Education (MRE) throughout the country and focusing on higher risk areas and affected groups. During this quarter, at least six emergency MRE interventions have been conducted in six districts (Sarlahi, Puythan, Kailali, Bajhang, Dang and Banke).

Victim Assistance (VA): In July, UNMAT has signed a six-week Special Service Agreement with Handicap International to draft terms of reference for a national strategic workshop for VA and to develop a national VA booklet for victims of IED/mines/ERW that will be disseminated in all districts and village development committees. This project includes the mapping of available medical/rehabilitation facilities and social protection schemes in Nepal and the development of a handbook with practical information on existing medical and rehabilitation facilities, social protection schemes, and guidance on how to approach these facilities, how to benefit from social protection schemes and how to provide first aid if necessary.

Under the leadership of the MoPR, the five-year National Strategic Framework for Victim Assistance has been designed with the key stakeholders. UNMAT will support the NMAA, victim assistance stakeholders and the MAJWG to implement the strategic framework for victim assistance.

5. Senegal

In the period from May to September 2009, UNICEF Senegal continued to provide technical and financial support to the Senegal Mine Action Centre (CNAMS).

With UNICEF funding, the National Mine Action Centre, CNAMS produced 3,853 notebooks for schoolchildren with MRE messages. These will be distributed to children when the schools reopen in the month of October.

In addition, with UNICEF funding CNAMS fabricated 20 awareness panels to identify zones suspected with mines in Casamance.

To support the Senegalese government with its advocacy and MRE awareness among the population, UNICEF supported two awareness missions of CNAMS staff members to Sedhiou and Kolda on the 27th and 28th July 2009 (2 regions in Casamance that are affected by mines). During these missions information was collected regarding suspected zones in these regions and regional coordination committees were set up.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, UNICEF trained teachers during this period in Casamance on CVC, stress, trauma prevention, and Mine Risk Education.

6. Sri Lanka

UNICEF continues supporting Mine Risk Education (MRE) in six mine and ERW affected northern and eastern districts in collaboration with national NGOs, a volunteer and child animator network, and the Ministry of Education. Due to ongoing fighting the Vanni is not accessible but attempts have been made to reach the remaining population via radio messages. Community liaison is provided in districts with ongoing NGO demining efforts.

War injured people being treated in Vavuniya are predominantly victims from shelling although at least 27 recent mine victims have been confirmed. Thousands of people are severely injured and will remain disabled for the rest of their lives. Data collection is under way and a consolidated response is being prepared through Ministries with UNICEF and aid agencies. Victim Assistance emergency funding support is urgently needed.

Community-based MRE reached approximately 34,000 people in the first quarter. Two workshops, with the support of GICHD, were held. A four-day workshop held in March focused on developing a MRE communication strategy and revising the Sri Lanka MRE standard. A three-day workshop in May was held for the MRE network to strengthen their capacity in the areas of needs assessments, planning and monitoring.

Advocacy for acceding the AP Mine Ban Convention and other relevant legal instruments is difficult given the current focus on the war in the Vanni. Nevertheless, a delegation of four army staff including two doctors attended a preparatory conference in Bangkok for the 10-year review conference in Cartagena end of November. As of now no Sri Lankan Campaign to Ban Landmines (SLCBL) exists but UNICEF, jointly with UNDP, the ICBL and some key partners, are assessing ways of how to launch the SLCBL.

Overall funding for UNICEF’s Mine Action Programme has been secured for 24 months until October 2010 through an EC grant. However, 250,000 USD will have to be covered by UNICEF and/or additional donors.

7. Sudan

Sudan's MRE programme is working towards a transition to national ownership. During the reporting period it paid increased attention to building of National capacity. Training programmes were conducted for the staff of the National Mine Action Centre and implementing NGOs in the North while in the South, UNICEF and the UN Mine Action Office worked closely with the South Sudan Mine Action Authority to develop a Joint Activity Plan. In both the North and the South, joint field visits are conducted regularly with government staff in order to develop their skills in coordination, management and monitoring of MRE.

A total of 85,803 persons received Risk Education from May through August 2009 while victim statistics indicate that six persons were killed and twelve injured during the same period. In a significant development from the last report, the Government lifted its suspension on Mine Action in Darfur, which was also affecting the Risk Education programme. Within weeks of lifting the suspension, UNICEF deployed three RE teams to the three States of Darfur. However a significant gap remains in the coverage in Darfur as three other RE teams that were deployed by a UNMAO contracted organisation did not resume operations after lifting of the suspension. UXOs pose a serious threat to children in the region.

In the South, while 21 teams - mainly supported by International NGOs continued to provide Community Based MRE, the unavailability of local NGOs to work in some key states has posed a major challenge to the process of nationalising MRE operations. UNICEF, together with UNMAO is attempting to address this issue by training staff of NGOs who have experience in Child Protection and communicating behavior change messages. UNICEF continued to support School Based Mine Risk Education both in the North and the South. Training of Master-Teachers took priority in the North and in the South, teachers from selected high-risk localities were provided training through UNMAO. UNICEF and UNMAO in the South are actively exploring Child-to-Child MRE approaches. A special workshop was held to develop a framework for Child to Child MRE for children in Southern Sudan. The framework includes a set of materials, games and stories with illustrations and a guidebook for peer volunteers.

[1] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Somalia Humanitarian Overview Vol. 2 Issue 8, Aug 2009



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