The indiscriminate laying of landmines has created a long term development problem in many countries across the globe. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has a growing role in supporting Governments of mine affected countries and local communities to address this problem.
The recently finalized United Nations Policy on Mine Action confirms the need for a fully integrated response to the problems caused by landmines and UXO, which incorporates mine awareness and risk reduction education; minefield survey, mapping, marking and clearance; victim assistance, including rehabilitation and reintegration; and advocacy to stigmatize the use of landmines and support a total ban on antipersonnel landmines. The policy outlines the roles and responsibilities of each of the relevant UN Agencies, coordinated by the UN Mine Action Service.
UNDP is responsible “for addressing the socio-economic consequences of landmine contamination and for supporting national/local capacity building to ensure the elimination of the obstacle they pose to the resumption of normal economic activity, reconstruction and development. When applicable, UNDP will have normal responsibility for the development of integrated, sustainable national/local mine action programmes?..”
To do this, UNDP helps :
- Establish management infrastructures and institutional arrangements in mine affected countries through providing information and technical support, and management and training support for national personnel;
- Arrange training for technical teams, managers and other support staff, to build the national capacity to manage mine action programmes in the future;
- Set up national data-bases and provide input into information systems linked to landmine surveys and the identification and marking of dangerous areas, so that there is clear data on the extent of the problem which provides the basis for setting of priorities for all aspects of Mine Action;
- Ensure public education campaigns form a part of overall capacity building in collaboration with UNICEF, so that local communities are empowered to minimize exposure to risk in their everyday life;
- • Support victim rehabilitation projects at the field level, in coordination with UNICEF and WHO, providing both medical assistance and rehabilitation and socio-economic reintegration;
- Empower governments and communities to carry out their own advocacy and resource mobilization efforts to raise support from donor communities and to assist with the establishment and management of Trust Funds, and the submission of programme information to the UN Mine Action portfolio;
UNDP, with its network of offices in 137 countries and its multi-sectoral approach to development, is able to provide appropriately targeted support and training for the establishment of national Mine Action Programmes. To provide direct support to the country offices, who in turn assist National Governments in dealing with this issue, a Mine Action Project was established with a small team of specialist staff based at the UNDP Headquarters in New York. The team provides assistance in areas such as technical advice, resource mobilization and advocacy for a holistic approach to mine action. The Mine Action Team also provide coordination with the UN Mine Action Service, other UN partners, the World Bank, non-government organizations and donors.
Mine Action capacity building projects are in various stages of development the following twelve countries:
UNDP took over responsibility in 1997 from the former UN Department for Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) for a capacity building programme at the Angolan Institute for the Removal of Obstacles and Explosive Ordnance (INAROEE). Since its inception in 1995, INAROEE has established clearance brigades in seven of Angola’s 18 provinces. Before the renewal of hostilities in December 1998, clearance teams had demined 200 minefields, out of a total of 2200, freeing access to water sources, agricultural land, schools and clinics.
UNDP granted $1 million to the 1998-1999 programme, while the equivalent of $3 million was pledged by the Angolan Government. In the light of the current security situation, the programme’s design and concept for operations are currently under review.
To facilitate resettlement, UNDP launched a reconstruction project that targeted housing, water systems, schools, health facilities, telecommunications and power plants, and led to the establishment of the Azerbaijan Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency (ARRA). A comprehensive mine action programme and a National Mine Action Agency (ANAMA) were established to further expand resettlement activities, with help from UNDP, UNHCR, the World Bank, the European Union and other donors. UNDP support to this capacity building project is integrated into a broader reconstruction plan that has attracted over $40 million from the World Bank and the Islamic Bank, following a seed investment of $3.3 million from UNDP.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
In July 1998, UNDP took over the responsibility for Bosnia’s demining programme from the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), and has been assisting the governments of both constituent entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska) to develop a mine action programme, identify priorities and supervise clearance operations. To facilitate contributions to the mine action programme’s annual requirement of $10 million, UNDP established and manages a Mine Action Trust Fund.
In November 1993, the UN Secretary-General entrusted the responsibility for Cambodia’s mine action activities to UNDP. A capacity building programme and a Trust Fund for support to the Cambodia Mine Action Center (CMAC) were established. By the end of 1998, CMAC had received cumulative cash contributions exceeding $48 million, through fund raising efforts supported by UNDP.
CMAC is a national endeavour with an organizational strength of 3,000 Cambodian staff. In the past year, CMAC teams conducted awareness training that reached nearly 360,000 people in over 1,700 villages. Through this UNDP programme, donors provide military advisers and civilian technical assistance for planning, management, finance, logistics and human resource development.
In 1995, the Government of Chad requested UNDP’s assistance in the coordination of a national mine action programme intended to support the peace process and facilitate humanitarian and economic development plans in the northern region of Borkou-Ennedi-Tibetsi (BET). In conjunction with a US bilateral programme to train 80 demining instructors, UNDP established a National Mine Action Center, supported public education campaigns and is training management and administrative staff. An additional 40 deminers were trained in December 1998, and a Regional Mine Action Center is set to open in Faya Largeau in March 1999, contingent upon available resources.
UNDP began discussions with the Government of Iran in 1996 to develop and implement an integrated mine action programme, as well as set up a national civilian capacity to deal with the problem on a long-term basis. An initial UNDP investment of $200,000 led to a $3 million commitment from the Iranian government.
A pilot project in Iran’s western regions is being planned to survey and mark mined areas and begin clearance activities. To address its mine problem, Iran intends to maximise the use of technology and mechanical means.
Since late 1995, UNDP has been providing essential management and institutional support to the Lao mine action programme, known as UXO LAO. In 1997 and 1998, UXO LAO provided over 370 nationals with courses in clearance, medical training, community awareness, leadership and "training of trainers." Mine awareness teams briefed over 230,000 people and over 450 hectares of land have been cleared for roads, fields, homes, schools, water supplies and irrigation systems.
UNDP also helped establish and manages a Trust Fund, approved in 1995, to which it has contributed over $2 million. The Fund has received cash contributions totalling over $6 million toward the programme’s annual requirement of $16 million.
With assistance from the former UNDHA, the Government of Mozambique launched an Accelerated Demining Programme (ADP) to develop a national capacity in all areas of mine action. The programme was transferred to UNDP in 1997, and a project was added to support the National Demining Commission (CND) as the national coordinating body.
To date, the ADP has cleared over 2.7 million square meters of area known or suspected to be mined. A library of mine-related information gathered from the provinces through mine surveys and reconnaissance is also being established. A UNDP project to clear the land surrounding the Massingir Dam is set to begin in February 1999, to permit an $80 million refurbishment project funded by the African Development Bank.
To address pressing humanitarian and development needs, UNDP initiated a project in Northwest Somalia, opened a school for deminers and trained over 60 Somali deminers and medics in survey and clearance procedures, in partnership with the Somaliland National Demining Agency (an independent agency in the Ministry of Rehabilitation).
The town of Burao and its surrounding areas were identified as a first priority for mine clearance to allow the return of 25,000 displaced people and the resumption of trade through the port of Berbera. Local and international teams began clearance operations in mid-1998 and cleared over 78,000 square metres of land by November 1998.
This project, to which UNDP contributed $400,000, is a component of a larger Plan of Action for Civil Protection in Somalia.
When the Government of Sri Lanka requested the assistance of UNDP in 1997, it funded a feasibility study and provided $300,000 in seed money to help launch a pilot Mine Action Project (MAP) in the Jaffna area, as part of the Jaffna Rehabilitation and Resettlement Programme. MAP is designed to confirm the boundaries of safe territory and limit injuries by sealing off dangerous areas. The Project will also clear schools and recreational facilities, to help communities regain a sense of normalcy after the war.
UNDP is working closely with the Government of Tajikistan to establish a mine action cell and develop a framework for a comprehensive programme that will include setting up information management systems and supporting mine awareness activities as priority tasks.
Although technical assistance was provided from March 1995 to March 1996 by UNDP and the former DHA, and support for on-going mine awareness and other activities is being provided by UNICEF and Save the Children–Sweden (Rädda Barnen), the existing mine action capacities in Yemen are not sufficient to handle the landmine threat. A national Level One survey, coordinated by UNMAS and implemented by the Survey Action Centre, is planned for 1999.
Following a UN Interagency Mine Assessment Mission in September 1998, UNDP is currently finalizing a capacity building project to strengthen management and institutional arrangements, in support of the government’s National Mine Action Committee, decreed in June 1998 within the Ministry of State for Cabinet Affairs.
This project will complement an ongoing $3.5 million programme funded by the United States. UNDP is also establishing a mine action Trust Fund to facilitate donor contributions, which have been steadily increasing since Yemen’s ratification of the Ottawa Convention.
In addition, the Government of Croatia has requested that the UN support to the Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC) be transferred from UNMAS to UNDP, and it is expected that this will occur during 1999. Further inter-agency assessment missions, led by UNMAS in 1999 are expected to result in additional countries requesting UNDP’s assistance.
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has been contracted to provide project services for many of these programmes. Further information on the specific achievements of the programmes is contained in the country information provided in this issue.
UNDP’s role is not to engage in mine clearance itself, but to assist Governments to develop long term capacity to manage, prioritize and coordinate their Mine Action Programme. UNDP currently has a study underway, supported by several donors, to assess the global training need for management and supervisory staff and to propose options to address it. Existing national training capacities and initiatives will be considered as part of the recommended solutions. This study started in January 1999, and the report, with recommendations is expected in March.
UNDP also has a role as a funding agency, having provided over US $ 10 million of its own funds as seed money to initiate programmes and activities in a number of countries. In addition, UNDP is actively involved in resource mobilization and coordination with the donor community supporting the establishment and management of Trust Funds for Mine Action Programmes. It has secured a total of US$2.65 million from the UN Foundation for the Socio-Economic Reintegration of Mine Victims, and for Mine Awareness in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In addition, the UN Foundation recently approved a proposal submitted jointly by UNDP and UNMAS for the conduct of ten Level One Surveys in mine affected countries via the Survey Action Center. The Foundation will provide up to US$3.79 million in matching grants towards this important initiative.
UNDP seeks and supports partnerships with other organizations working in the area of Mine Action – for example the UNA-USA, which has launched an “Adopt a Minefield” initiative, the Marshall Legacy Institute which is supporting the establishment of a K9 Demining Corps, and cooperation with the Governments of the United States and Japan who are funding the UNDP project for the clearance of mines at the Massingir Dam in Mozambique, which is a key element for the redevelopment of agriculture in the area.
The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) is a another important partner for UNDP. GICHD will provide information management systems to all UNDP Mine Action Programmes in-country to permit better coordination and prioritization at the country level, and with UNMAS at the international level. Each year, the GICHD convenes a conference attended by all Mine Action Programme Managers and their national counterparts which allows UNDP staff and others to pool their experiences and lessons learned.
1 "Mine Action and Effective Coordination: the United Nations Policy, A/53/496, Annex II, dated 14 October 1998. This policy was welcomed by the UN General Assembly in resolution A/53/26 adopted on 17 November 1998.
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“Mine Action and Effective Coordination,: The United Nations Policy” endorsed by the Secretary General in September 1998.