Landmines destroy life and limb and inhibit national development long after the smoke of battle has cleared. After ten years of international humanitarian mine action, the mine action community has learned that the terror can be controlled in a relatively short period of time. The International Treaty to Ban Landmines and the 2010 Initiative both project success within the next decade. Success is possible if the international community improves its capacity to prioritize scarce resources of personnel, time and money.
Within the next two years, the Global Landmine Survey will produce high quality survey data on the socio-economic impact of landmines. This survey, conducted by visiting all the mine-affected communities within a country, will provide the foundation for a wide range of subsequent mine action activities. Executed to a common international standard and certified by the United Nations Mine Action Service, the survey will:
- Allow donors to rationally proportion funds to places of greatest human need as defined by impact on communities;
- Permit national authorities to develop national plans focusing on regions and areas of greatest impact; and
- Give implementers data that will provide success indicators for mine action programs.
Who Are We?
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 (GICHD), has established the Survey Working Group. The Survey Working Group will monitor standards and facilitate the international coordination of resources and expert personnel for the completion of the Global Landmine Survey in the most mine-affected countries. The following are the members of the Survey Working Group:
Association to Aid Refugees Japan Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining Switzerland Handicap International Belgium/France Landmine Survivors Network U.S. Medico International Germany Mines Advisory Group United Kingdom Mine Clearance Planning Agency Afghanistan Norwegian People’s Aid Norway UN Mine Action Service United Nations Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation U.S.
Funding (as at 2000/03/01)
The Global Landmine Survey process is funded through a variety of channels. To date, the following funds have been pledged:
[1:3 challenge match] US $ 4,000,000 US State Department US $ 3,700,000 Canada – CIDA & DFAIT US $ 3,000,000 Foundations [Rockefeller. J & C MacArthur, Compton] US $ 500,000 United Kingdom – DFID US $ 480,000 Japan US $ 450,000 Norway – MFA US $ 380,000 VVAF US $ 300,000 Germany US $ 100,000 World Bank US $ 20,000
Contributions from the governments of Canada, Japan, Germany and the U.S. have been provided to support a survey in Yemen. UNOPS is the executing agency with SAC implementation contracted to the Mine Clearance Planning Agency (MCPA). The survey commenced in July 1999 and is progressing ahead of schedule with completion planned for July 2000. Yemen has used preliminary survey data to comply with Article Seven reporting requirements of the Mine Ban Treaty.
The Canadian International Demining Center (CIDC) is surveying in Mozambique with a direct and bilateral Canadian government (CIDA) contribution. The survey is conducted according to Survey Working Group standards and SAC has appointed a quality assurance monitor with funding from the U.S. Department of State. Training of local staff is completed.
With support from the U.S. Department of State, the UN Foundation, and the United Kingdom SAC contracted Handicap International- France to begin operations in early November 1999. Work is progressing well. Local staff are trained and the survey instrument has been tested.
With funding from the MacArthur Foundation, SAC conducted an advance survey mission with UNMAS participation and produced a country survey plan. SAC contracted Norwegian People’s Aid as the implementing partner and funding for the survey has been secured from the UK, Norway and the U.S. Survey operations has commenced in early May 2000.
A SAC technical expert has worked within the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Center (UNMACC) to bring together disparate survey materials within the Level One Impact Survey module of IMSMA. The work has been completed. UNMACC and other aid agencies already use the product of SAC’s work. The European Commission through UNMAS and UNOPS funded the project. Advance mission to Kosovo was funded by the United States.
Countries Under Consideration For Future Operations
Somaliland [NW Somalia]
With funding from the U.S. Department of State, SAC subcontracted the HALO Trust to conduct an advance survey mission to Somaliland. Conditions at that time was determined to be unfavorable for execution of a survey. However, the situation is being monitored and the possibility exists to survey Somaliland in 2000.
With funding from HMD Response International [UK] and the U.S. State Department, SAC and HMD Response International [UK] have sent advance teams to Lebanon and produced a country survey plan. With funding from the European Commission, HMD Response, with SAC as technical advisor, is planning to commence survey operations in summer 2000.
The Norwegian People’s Aid and Medico International have sent an exploratory mission to Western Sahara.
Norwegian People's Aid conducted an extensive socio-economic survey of Angola prior to the establishment of the current Level One Impact Survey standards. NPA and SAC are working together to consider ways to "retrofit" the existing data into the current IMSMA Level One Impact Survey module
Canada is providing direct and bilateral funding to a Canadian organization for the survey according to Survey Working Group standards. Operations began in April 2000 The survey is conducted according to Survey Working Group standards.
The Mine Clearance Planning Agency has done extensive survey work in Afghanistan. SAC has undertaken an advance survey mission to Afghanistan to work out a plan to asses current practices and possibly to “retrofit” existing data into Level One Impact Survey module.
Ethiopia & Eritrea
It is planned to conduct an advance survey mission to study the need and feasibility for a Level One Impact Survey in this region once conditions permit.
SAC is coordinating with UNMAS and UNOPS to explore possibilities for survey here.
- Technical Advisory Team – A specialized SAC team of internationally recognized experts in social science, survey, cartography, and statistics is available to assist surveys and to help with later analysis.
- Survey Information – The SAC information department will support national surveys with map data sets and related information.
- Data Base – In accordance with the Survey Working Group principles the SAC and UNMAS have developed the field questionnaire to support collection of the Level One Impact survey data. In cooperation with the Geneva International Center, this data set has been integrated into the UN Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA). The field module is available for national surveys.
- WorldWideWeb Site – The Global Landmine Survey will maintain a web site allowing access to survey information referenced geographically
The Survey Process
A Level One Impact Survey is conducted in different phases. These phases and their component activities are presented in a general chronological order, which corresponds to the task/sub-task matrix of the UN Certification Guidelines for Level One Impact Survey. A number of activities (or tasks) will occur within each phase, although in some cases a given task may continue throughout two or more phases. This general process may be modified as required by the particular conditions encountered in any given country, particularly if that country has a pre-existing mine action program.
PHASE 1: PLANNING, Preparation and Office Establishment
A UN Assessment Mission is an expected precursor to Humanitarian Mine Action intervention for Mine/UXO affected countries. The assessment mission will examine first the “need” for mine action and the “utility” of mine action within a country’s existing institutional mechanisms. This mission will explicitly call for the execution of a Level One Impact Survey when it is justified. An assessment mission report calling for the conduct of a survey is the first step in the process.
UNMAS formally requests that the Survey Action Center to mobilize an Advance Survey Mission to the identified mine affected country. In addition to confirming the “need” and “utility” for a survey, this mission will also examine the “feasibility” for the actual execution of the survey.
The purpose of an Advance Survey Mission is to develop the contacts and information required to plan for the actual survey. In some cases information may suggest that a survey is not appropriate and activities will stop, or be delayed.
Upon the approval and funding of the impact survey, an operational base(s) will be prepared to support the survey team, complete with temporary offices and a communications system.
An open and transparent recruitment and selection process is to be undertaken to attract and retain competent local & international staff. Final selection of staff is the responsibility of the implementing survey team with due consideration of the National host.
Collection of Expert Opinion
The survey team should begin the systematic collection of informed opinion of national “experts” familiar with the mine contamination problem. This should be done by using a standardized interview format and should involve a broad cross-section of agencies, and individuals representing diverse interests and regions.
Our, experience proves that best results come from provincial capital and district visits by survey staff to gather information on names and location of affected communities.
Sounding Board Meeting
The global survey instrument and methodology will be discussed with local stakeholders including relevant government bodies, NGO’s involved in mine action activities, and experienced national survey experts and social scientists to ensure that it meets local requirements and cultural sensitivities..
PHASE 2: PROJECT expansion and survey instrument Refinement
Based on the selection process and the level of academic and professional skills of the survey staff recruited, a training programme is to be developed. The aim of the training programme is to teach survey-related skills and knowledge to reinforce the survey process.
Following the survey training stage, a pre-test of the survey instrument itself is to be conducted to determine its utility and cultural acceptability. Likewise a pilot test is to be conducted of the entire survey process to analyze management, logistics and administrative systems and planning assumptions.
The refined survey process is to be used to develop methodologies for conducting a sampling to check for false negative in the areas not reported to be min affected. This will be used to a measure of confidence regarding survey findings.
Revise Operational Plan
Prior to actually conducting the survey, information gained during the testing exercises is to be used to revise and update the final operations plan.
PHASE 3: DATA Collection, Processing and Verification
The conduct of the Level One Impact Survey is to take place under contractual agreements and in close collaboration with National authorities. An independent Quality Assurance Monitor will evaluate the survey. The survey is to be conducted in accordance with SWG and UN policies.
Community Group Interviews
The field supervisors would visit mine affected areas prior to the survey teams and make overall arrangements for communities to be surveyed. The teams will conduct a group interview of the key informants within a community. The questionnaire will be administered to register the information of the group. The group interview will be conducted based on participatory approaches.
Visual Verification of Mined Areas
Reported mined areas will be visually verified from a safe area. Strict procedures are in place to ensure that enumerators do not take un-necessary risks. Visual verification will not only improve the quality of the data but will also provide relevant data for subsequent technical (Level II) survey as well.
Field operations will be regularly monitored and supervised by trained local supervisors, and international staff. All data will be checked and edited by a full time data editor, as close to the field as possible, prior they are sent for entry into the computer.
Quality Assurance Monitoring
Survey quality is assured by an independent UN Quality Assurance Monitor (QAM) who records and documents survey progress in accordance with the UNMAS Certification Guidelines.
The QAM’s reports will also serve as an instrument for certification of the survey results.
PHASE 4: Data Analysis. Presentation and Hand-Over
The objective analysis of data collected during the survey is vital to ensure acceptance of the survey results. The analysis of facts collected in quantitative study and impact weighting that is applied must be transparent, logical and understandable. The analysis of data must meet the informational needs of the National Authorities.
As part of completing the survey, the Survey team is to present it’s preliminary findings, maps and data to National authorities and other stakeholders in the country. This will be done not only to share the knowledge gained, but to illicit comments and input prior to publishing the final report and releasing data on the world-wide web.
Trained staff and equipment will also be handed over to the national mine action authorities.
The Survey Team is to produce a Final Report as a product for the National Authorities in order to allow them to continue the Mine Action process. This report is to focus on an objective presentation and analysis of the data gathered in the survey.
By focusing on community impact rather than the absolute number of landmines 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 Action Center, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation
2001 S Street, NW Suite 310
Washington, DC 20009 U.S.A.
Phone: (202) 483-9222
Fax: (202) 483-6610