After almost a decade of humanitarian mine action,, the global landmine problem remains ill defined. A fair amount is known about the suspected location of mine fields, but little is known about the impact of landmines on communities. Without information about impact, it is impossible to develop effective strategies that seek to minimize the human and economic costs these weapons inflict. If the terror of landmines must be contained within years, as envisioned by the Ottawa Treaty, rather than in decades as assumed in the early days of mine action programs, then better information is an immediate and unavoidable requirement.
A Global Landmine Survey [Level One General Impact Survey] will:
- provide data for improved planning in existing programs and for overall national plan setting where no programs exist;
- provide data for more rational targeting of international donor resources; and
- provide quantifiable baseline data and progress indicators for all mine action programs.
In a unique cooperative effort, the NGO community, in collaboration with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GIC), established the Survey Working Group in May 1998. The Survey Working Group (SWG) facilitates the international coordination of resources and expert personnel for the completion of Level One General Mine Surveys in the ten most mine affected countries.
The Survey Working Group has designated Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) to manage and serve as fiscal agent for the Survey Action Center in the implementation of the Global Landmine Survey Program.
OBJECTIVE & DEFINITION
To facilitate the prioritizing of human, material and financial resources supporting humanitarian mine action at the national, regional and global level through the completion of Level One Mine/UXO Survey.
The objective as defined by the Survey Working Group, Burssels, June 98.
Level One General Mine/UXO Survey
This survey identifies the main outline of the landmine problem, down to the community level, through rapid rural appraisal techniques developed by NGOs and international institutions for general development and emergency programs. It focuses on community knowledge and perception of the social and economic impact of mines within their communities and the general location of contaminated or suspected areas. On the ground level this survey is carried out by trained enumerators from the local area with no specialized mine action training other than mine awareness training.
Through a controlled group interview process, the interviewers will gather information about mine victims, suspected mined areas, and the socio-economic impact of these mined areas. Because they lack the technical expertise to enter mined areas or assist victims, the interviewers will stop their inquiries at this general level. This information is collated and entered into a Geographic Information System (GIS) that will allow economic and geographic data to be integrated into map overlays that will permit a variety of analysis and interpretation. An indexing system will provide a community risk profile based on three negative categories victims, blockage of economic assets, blockage of infrastructure - and one positive factor - mine awareness programs in the community. The architecture for the indexing system will be open so that national and regional groups, or groups with a particular sectoral interest, can modify the system to meet their individual needs.
The completed survey will provide data for development of priorities and improved planning in existing programs and on overall national priority and works plans where no programs yet exist. The data will also provide a baseline against which to measure progress. The information provides policy makers at the national and international level with information down to the village level on the social and economic impact of mines on the lives and livelihoods of affected communities. Through this process, a ranking of problem areas can be identified geographically and mapped, thus permitting policy makers to focus efforts in the most affected areas first. This survey enables mine action specialists to specifically target programs for training, mine awareness, mine marking, level two survey, clearance, and victim assistance.
In a unique cooperative effort, the NGO community, in collaboration with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining and key donors, established an institutional mechanism specifically designed to facilitate the coordination of resources in 1998. The primary organizations committed to Level One Mine/UXO Surveys have joined in a collaborative arrangement to act as a resource multiplier to facilitate the survey process. The institutional mechanism consists of three basic components.
Survey Contact Group (SCG)
The Survey Contact Group is an open mailing list of a wide range of international organizations, NGOs and doors. A periodic e-mail newsletter keeps the group informed of survey activities.
Survey Working Group (SWG)
The Survey working Group advocates for the standardization of Level One Mine/UXO Survey, and facilitates strategic planning to implement surveys among NGOs, UN, Donors and Mine affected countries.
This group will review standards, principles, and policies on survey issues.
The core members of the Survey Working Group are as follows:
- Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GIC) Switzerland
- Handicap International (HI) Belgium & France
- Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) USA
- Medico International (MI) Germany
- Mines Advisory Group (MAG) United Kingdom
- Mine Clearance Planning Agency (MCPA) Afghanistan
- Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA) Norway
- United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) United Nations
- Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) USA
Survey Executive (SE)
The Survey Executive consults and reports to the Survey Working Group, providing guidance to and reviewing the process of ongoing surveys and the Survey Action Center. The Survey Executive meets on a regular basis to plan future survey initiatives. The Survey Executive is comprised of the following members: Handicap International, Landmine Survivors Network, Mine Clearance Planning Agency, Norwegian Peoples Aid, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.
Survey Action Center (SAC)
The SAC is managed by the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and acts as the focal point for resource planning and mobilization. The SAC raises funds to implement or sub-contract Level One Mine/UXO Surveys. The SAC implements Survey Task Force and Survey Working Group policies, standards and executive decisions and regularly reports on progress to the Survey Executive and Survey Working Group.
The Global Landmine Survey process is funded through a variety of channels. The flexibility of this approach opens innovative avenues for the donor community to commit resources. Funds can be directly channeled through the United Nations or the United Nation Foundation. The United Nations Foundation match fund of up to $3.8 million for surveys allows the donor to see contributions multiply rather than decrease from administrative costs. Additionally, the donor can directly fund the Survey Action Center or an NGO committed to conducting a survey under the SACs overall direction.
To date, the following sources have provided funding:
- Compton Foundation United Nations Foundation
- Governement of Canada [CIDA] US Dept. of State [PM/HDP]
- MacArthur Foundation VVAF
- Public Welfare Foundation World Bank
- Rockefeller Foundation
UN Country Assessment Mission
United Nations Mine Action Service is conducting a series of assessments in mine afflicted nations to determine the nature of the problem and affirm the host nations support for Humanitarian Mine Action. The recommendations provided from this process indicate the need for Level One Mine/UXO Survey. UNMAS begins the process to promote the establishment of a sustainable National Mine Action Programme.
Survey Advance Mission
UMAS requests the Survey Action Center to mobilize an Advance Mission to the identified mine affected country. The Advance Mission establishes liaison with government authorities to implement a Level One Mine/UXO Survey. Information is collected to assist in detailed planning of survey operations. Advance Mission Survey Reports are distributed to the Survey Working Group. The Survey Action Center prepares a full proposal and plan to conduct a survey.
Funds are raised through lobby efforts of the Survey Working Group and United Nations to meet the requirements identified by the Advance Mission and survey proposal. Implementing partners are mobilized to conduct or support the survey.
Country Survey Implementation
The Level One Mine/UXO Survey is conducted according to the guidelines established by the Survey Working Group. The survey is monitored to ensure quality and the results are presented to UNMAS for certification.
The results of the survey are transparent by wide distribution and access. The International Mine Action Information System will display and make available all data. The Survey Action Center will display the data on the Internet.
Brussels I Meeting May 98
The formation of the nine-member Survey Working Group has provided the credibility and strength for this programme. This special group displayed its confidence by the unanimous decision for VVAF to manage the Survey Action Center. Additionally, Handicap International France & Belgium seconded a Survey Technical Advisor to the Survey Action Center.
Brussels II Meeting June 98
The Survey Working Group sets the agenda by standardizing survey requirements worldwide. A Survey Task Force and Survey Action Center are formed to expedite theimplementation of surveys. Guidelines, principles and standards are established for Level One Mine/UXO Survey which are approved by the United Nations Mine Action Service. Information groups including socio-economic impact study of the mine problem relative to affected communities are embedded in this agreement.
Mine Action Support Group Aug 98
The United Nations Mine Action Service invites the Survey Action Center to address the Country Representatives of the Mine Action Support Group and present the Global Landmine Programme strategy. This effort generally recognizes the Survey Action Center as a viable implementation mechanism to expedite Level One General Mine/UXO Surveys.
World Bank Initiative Aug 98
The World Bank provides a forum for survey experts to discuss Level One Mine/UXO Survey techniques and develop criteria for key indicators to measure impact of landmines on communities. The meeting/workshop was co-chaired by the Survey Action Center and the World Bank Post Conflict Division.
US Government Grant to Support Survey Action Center Sep 98
The US State Department Political-Military Humanitarian Demining office approves the Survey Action Center proposal to fund the Set-Up Phase for 298,000 USD from the 1998 fiscal budget.
UN Foundation Sep 98
The UN Foundation and Survey Action Center in joint consultation developed an innovative funding approach to support Landmine Survey. This measure provides the impetus for the United Nations to stream-line funding channels dedicated for Level One General Mine/UXO Survey, reducing time and administrative costs of traditional UN funding structures. Furthermore, this process provides a matchfund attracting donors to contribute to the Global Landmine Survey Programme.
UNMAS Funds Yemen Level One Mine/UXO Survey Oct 98
A $1.0 Million Canadian Government contribution to the United Nations Trust Fund is earmarked to support a Level One Mine/UXO Survey in Yemen by the Survey Action Center.
Canada Funds Mozambique Survey Nov 98
CIDA announces a request for proposals to conduct a Level One Mine/UXO Survey in Mozambique, and the Survey Action Center provides technical guidance to tenders. Canadian International Demining Center meets the proposal requirements and is nominated to conduct the survey.
Survey Action Center, Advance Mission Team to Yemen Dec 98
Survey Action Center launches an Advance Mission Team to Yemen, to establish collaborative arrangements with national authorities and collect information for a Level One Mine/UXO Survey. The United Nations Mine Action Service and United NationsDevelopment Programme provided access and support for this mission. The US Department of Defense Central Command, Special Operation Team, also assisted this Advance Mission Team in Yemen.
Norwegian Peoples Aid & Medico International Advance Mission, Western Sahara Jan 99
Jointly NPA & MI launch an Advance Mission Team to Western Sahara with the same mission goals as the Yemen mission. This mission begins the standardization of STF field operations. The joint NPA & MI mission report will be published in March 99.
Canadian International Demining Center (CIDC) Feb 99
Survey Action Center and CIDC agree to cooperate on the quality assurance monitoring of this project to ensure UNMAS certification and sign an agreement to implement a process
International Mine Action Information System Database Jan-Feb 99
Series of workshops are initiated to develop the field module of the GIHDC database to include Level One Mine/UXO Survey data fields in preparation for implementation in Yemen and Mozambique.
CURRENT STATUS & FUTURE PLANNING
Western Sahara Advance Mission conducted by Norwegian Peoples Aid and Medico International is complete and the report will be published in March 99. The next Advance Mission will possibly be in Chad at the request of the UNDP Mine Action Center Programme Manager in Chad Planning is ongoing for further missions in collaboration with UNMAS. The next tier of countries under consideration is Nicaragua, Ecquador and Peru
Canadian International Demining Center is planning and preparing to conduct the Mozambique survey in 1999. CIDA and the Survey Action Center are working in close collaboration on Quality Assurance Monitoring of this project.
Yemen Survey Proposal is under review by UNMAS and the UN Trust Fund for implementation. Further country surveys are planned based on completed UN Country Assessment Missions and the ongoing assessment process.
By focusing on community impact rather than the absolute number of mines in the ground, the Global Landmine Survey process provides the mine action community with new tools with which to prioritize work and to measure progress.
Survey and Advance Teams
The Global Landmine Survey, launched one year ago, has begun survey work in two countries, Yemen and Mozambique. The Survey Action Center is considering the formation of Advance Teams for Chad, Nicaragua, Equador and Peru. Discussions are underway with the Cambodian Mine Action Centre concerning cooperation on a Level One Survey for Cambodia. It is planned that ten mine-affected countries will be surveyed with two years.
A solid funding base has been established and needs to be expanded to continue the process.