The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) works towards a world free of anti-personnel landmines and for the reduction of the humanitarian impact of remnants of war by providing operational assistance, creating and sharing knowledge, and supporting instruments of international law.
The GICHD is an independent and impartial organisation. It was established in 1998 on a Swiss initiative and is now supported by the Governments of Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, México, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the Republic and Canton of Geneva. The Centre has particularly close working relations with the United Nations.
The Centre currently consists of 31 permanent staff members, including five persons seconded by the Governments of France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. In total, twelve nationalities are present at the Centre.
One of the Centre’s core missions consists in providing specific operational support and assistance to on-going or emerging mine action activities and programmes mainly run by the UN. The Centre is active in the fields of information management, standardisation, the provision of technical assistance and training, evaluation, and the facilitation of discussions by providing relevant fora.
In the field of information management, the GICHD develops and disseminates the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA), which is in use in 37 mine-affected countries. The Centre has also developed a tool that facilitates the exchange of data between the different actors in mine action; it runs training courses which integrate planning and management aspects into information management; and it has started the creation of a light and easy to use data entry tool based on off-the-shelves hand-held computer technology.
On behalf of UNMAS, the Centre prepares and updates the International Standards for Mine Action (IMAS). One of the benefits of IMAS is the fact that they facilitate a systematic lessons learned process which increases performance and security in mine action. The work of the GICHD in the area of IMAS makes it a repository of mine action know-how.
The Centre also offers its services to governments and interested organisations to evaluate projects and programmes. In addition, it provides technical assistance and training for specific programmes to governments, international organisations such as the ICRC, NATO, the European Commission, and various NGOs. The training programme can be found on www.gichd.ch.
The GICHD has continued to develop strategies and procedures for mine action, with the aim of improving quality and making mine action safer and more cost-effective. It uses its expertise in research to produce accurate, impartial, objective and detailed studies. The results of such studies are transformed into specific recommendations and guidelines for dissemination to the field, backed up by practical instruments like field demonstrations, workshops, training courses, guides, handbooks, and software tools.
The GICHD undertakes a whole set of research projects to improve operational use of animals, mainly dogs and rats. These animals have an important potential in reducing areas perceived as being mined in a fast and efficient way. Other key topics of the Centre’s research activities are both manual and mechanical demining, where several projects aim at increasing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of such techniques and equipment. In addition, the Centre runs several projects in the field of socio-economic impacts of mines and in the field of mine risk education.
The following publications became available during the reporting period:
- A Guide to Improving Communications in MRE Programmes (ISBN 2-88487-022-9)
- A Guide to Insurance for Mine Action Operators (ISBN 2-88487-033-4)
- A Guide to Mine Action (ISBN 2-88487-021-0, also available in French, Russian and Spanish)
- A Guide to the IMAS – IMAS 2003 & MRE (ISBN 2-88487-027-X)
- A Study of Mechanical Application in Demining (ISBN 2-88487-023-7)
- Mine Detection Dogs: Training, Operations and Odour Detection (ISBN 2-88487-007-5)
- Mechanical Demining Equipment Catalogue 2004 (ISBN 2-88487-026-1)
- The Development of National Mine Action Legislation – A Guide (ISBN 2-88487-014-8, also available in Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish)
- The Role of the Military in Mine Action (ISBN 2-88487-013-X)
These publications are available on the Centre’s homepage (www.gichd.ch) or can be obtained from the GICHD in hard copy.
Support for the Implementation of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention ("Ottowa Convention")
In September 2001, the States Parties to the Convention mandated the GICHD to establish an Implementation Support Unit (ISU). This unit provides a variety of services to the Presidency and the Co-ordinating Committee of the States Parties and has established a documentation and resource database facility on the Convention and the negotiations leading to its signature.
The GICHD also hosts the meetings of the Standing Committees within the intersessional work programme of the Convention. These meetings bring together representatives of States Parties, non-States Parties, international organisations, NGOs and other experts in order to ensure effective implementation and to report to the States Parties. The Centre also provides technical input to theses activities, mainly in the areas of mine clearance, victim’s assistance, stockpile destruction and technology.
Finally, the Centre administers a Sponsorship Programme on behalf of a Group of Donors, which allows selected delegates from less developed and/or mine-affected countries to participate at the implementation work of the States Parties.
Point of Contact:
Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining
7bis, avenue de la Paix
P.O. Box 1300
CH-1211 Geneva 1, Switzerland
Phone: +41 22 906 16 60
Fax: +41 22 906 16 90