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 explosive 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 that was established in 1998 as a Swiss initiative. 18 Governments (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) are represented in its Council of Foundation. The Centre currently consists of 34 permanent staff members, including four persons seconded by the Governments of France, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland. In total, 14 nationalities are present at the Centre.
Activities in 2004-2005
One of the core missions of the GICHD consists of providing specific operational support and assistance to mine affected countries. The Centre is active in the fields of information management, standardisation, technical assistance, training, evaluation, and the facilitation of the exchange of information.
Information management is one of the key elements required for success in mine action programmes. The GICHD has focused its work in this area on the development and deployment of the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA). These efforts have resulted in the deployment of IMSMA in 41 demining programmes world-wide and its adoption as a de facto data handling standard for mine action. In addition, the Centre is developing a light and easy to use data entry tool based on standard hand-held computer technology.
The Centre also prepares and updates the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) on behalf of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS). In this context, the GICHD also assists mine affected countries in establishing their own national mine action standards based on the application of IMAS.
The GICHD also offers its services to evaluate mine action projects and programmes. In addition, it provides technical assistance and training for specific programmes to governments, international organisations and NGOs. A particular emphasis is given to socio-economic aspects and to mine risk education activities, where the Centre carried out a series of workshops in conjunction with UNDP and mine affected countries.
The Centre undertakes a series of research projects with the aim of improving quality and to make mine action safer and more cost-effective. The results of this research forms the basis for specific recommendations, best practices and guidelines for dissemination to the field in the form of special handbooks, training courses, etc.
In 2004, several studies relating to mechanical demining equipment, socio-economic aspects of mine action, insurance and accidents were published and supported by outreach activities. In addition, a guide to improving communication in mine risk education programmes became available. The Centre also gave advice to national authorities and international fora, and looked into new technological developments. Finally, the GICHD undertakes a whole set of research projects to improve operational use of animals, mainly dogs and rats, such as in reducing areas perceived as being mined in a fast and efficient way.
The following publications became available in 2004-05:
- A Guide to the IMAS (ISBN 2-88487-027-X)
- A Guide to Improving Communication in Mine Risk Education Programmes (versions available in Arabic, English, Spanish)
- A Guide to Mine Action (versions available in Arabic, English, French, Russian, Spanish)
- A Guide to Socio-Economic Approaches to Mine Action Planning and Management (ISBN 2-88487-030-X)
- A Study of Mechanical Application in Demining (ISBN 2-88487-023-7)
- Guide on Insurance for Mine Action Operators (ISBN 2-88487-033-4)
- Humanitarian Impact from Mines other than Anti-Personnel Mines (ISBN 2-88487-035-0)
- Mechanical Demining Equipment Catalogue 2004 (ISBN 2-88487-026-1)
- Metal Detectors and PPE Catalogue 2005 (ISBN 2-88487-024-5)
- Training of Mine Detection Dogs in Bosnia and Herzegovina (ISBN 2-88487-034-2)
All GICHD publications are available on the Centre’s homepage (www.gichd.ch) or can be obtained from the GICHD in hard copy.
The GICHD supports the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (“Ottawa Convention”) according to the mandate given by the States Parties in September 2001. This includes also the preparation and support of meetings, the provision of independent professional advice and assistance, and the management of a documentation and resource database facility. Most of this work is carried out by the Centre’s Implementation Support Unit (ISU).
In addition, the GICHD 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 Ottawa Convention.
Finally, the Centre provides independent technical input into international efforts to minimise human suffering caused by weapons and/or explosive remnants of war, which is covered by the on-going work of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).
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