The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) was formally established on 28 April 1998 as an international foundation in accordance with Swiss law. The Centre aims to be an independent and impartial centre of excellence within the international network of Mine Action activities, and it is supported by the Governments of Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the Republic and Canton of Geneva.
The Centre’s budget totals CHF 6.7 million for the year 2000, of which Switzerland covers over CHF 4 million as major contributor.
The Centre aims to promote co-operation in the field of Mine Action
- by assisting the United Nations – especially UNMAS as focal point for Mine Action within the UN system – by providing services for their Mine Action
- related activities;
- by contributing to the formulation and development of coherent strategies and procedures in Mine Action world-wide;
- by providing specific operational support and assistance for ongoing Mine Action activities;
- by supporting the implementation of the “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer on Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction” (Mine Ban Convention, MBC) in co-operation with the States Parties to the MBC; and
- by supporting the implementation and further development of the humanitarian mine action elements of the “Amended Protocol II to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to have Indiscriminate Effects” (CCW) in co-operation with States Parties to the Convention and the Protocol.
The Centre consists of 18 staff members, including five “in-kind contributions” seconded by the Governments of France, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In total, eight different nationalities are currently represented in the Centre.
Activities Between March 1999 and May 2000
Mine Action Strategies and Procedures
During the reporting period, the Centre continued to carry out studies in three main areas: socio-economic, operational analysis, and technology and standards. These studies aim to provide practical guidance and support to the Mine Action projects and programmes in the field and may be summarised as follows:
- The Socio-economic Indicator Study, requested by UNDP and UNMAS, will provide indicators of socio-economic impact and value, to help programme managers on the assessment of such criteria. The study should be completed in autumn 2000.
- The Dog Study, carried out on behalf of UNMAS, will lead to the framing of UN standards for the accreditation, training, evaluation and use of mine detecting dogs. First results will be available in summer 2000, the final paper will be submitted in autumn 2001.
- The Operational Needs Study, carried out on behalf of UNMAS, aims to review the equipment needs of Mine Action agencies on a world-wide basis. A major part of the analytical work has been sub-contracted to Cranfield University, and the final results will be available in summer 2000.
- The Balkans Project is carried out on behalf of the European Commission on Mine Action capabilities in the Balkans and will be completed in summer 2000.
- The International Standards Project aims to review and update the International Standards for Mine Action on behalf of UNMAS. A final draft report is due to be sent to the UN in July 2000, and the study faces completion in autumn 2000.
Operational Support and Assistance
The Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) is developed in co-operation with UNMAS and is based on two modules:
- The “Field Module” provides a ready-to-use tool for Mine Action Centres, at national and regional level, to cover their data collection and information management needs;
- The “Headquarter Module” refines and collates the raw data from the field and provides the UN with improved capabilities for decision-making related to Mine Action. A pilot version was presented to UNMAS in April 2000.
The Field Module was first installed to Kosovo in June 1999. To cope with the specific needs of a war/post-war situation, the module was subsequently adapted to meet the requirements of the International Security Force (KFOR).
To date, the Field Module is in use in Kosovo, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Chad and Estonia. In addition, three Central Training Courses took place in Geneva and on-site training was provided to Kosovo, Yemen, Chad, Estonia and to the U.S. Army Engineer School. It is actually planned to install the Field Module in more than 20 countries. The WHO as well as other organisations involved in Mine Action are in the process of studying or adapting IMSMA for their use as well.
Assessment Mission, Deployments and Consultancy
Staff members of the Centre participated in UN Assessment Mission to Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and Egypt. In addition, three staff members were deployed to assist the UN in establishing the Mine Action Co-ordination Centre (UNMACC) in Kosovo between June and August 1999. This engagement enabled UN to accelerate the setting-up of Mine Action structures in a very crucial phase. Finally, one staff member was deployed to Cambodia as Technical Advisor to a mechanical demining project in Cambodia between March and May 2000, and consultant work was carried out for the Croatian MAC, for the Swiss Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the German Government and for the ICRC.
UNMAS Geneva Conference
The third UNMAS Geneva Conference took place between 20 and 22 March and was highlighted by the keynote speech of Her Majesty, Queen Noor of Jordan. Representatives of over twenty mine-affected countries, of UN agencies, NGOs and observers attended this conference. This increasing number of participants may show the importance and the need for such a forum in the framework of Mine Action. Beside the focus on information exchange and interchange, the key issue of this year’s conference was “integration” in relation to the planning, manner and conduct of Mine Action activities in their various forms, and this topic was successfully approached from an interactive standpoint.
Mine Ban Convention
The Centre provided the necessary organisation and venue for meetings of the Standing Committees of Experts (SCE) within the framework of the Mine Ban Convention (MBC) process. The aim of this Intersessional Work is to enable the States Parties to advance Mine Action efforts and measure achievements. Therefore, each SCE has been tasked to set up recommendations and report to the Second Meeting of States Parties, which will take place in Geneva between 11 and 15 September 2000.
The SCE meetings brought together representatives of States Parties, non-States Parties, of international organisations, NGOs and various experts who have addressed key issues of the MBC in order to ensure its effective implementation.
The Centre has also provided technical input to the SCEs in the areas of Mine Clearance, Victim Assistance, Stockpile Destruction and Technology. Some of the input has been in the form of presentations of progress with existing work. In other areas, staff members of the Centre have provided input for inter-meeting consultations, specialist papers and the provision of technical advice.
Point of Contact
(Building of the World Meteorological Organisation, WMO)
Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining
PO Box 1300
1211 Geneva 1
Phone: ++41 22 906 1660
Fax: ++41 22 906 1690