Landmine Monitor 2005

Survey Action Center (SAC)

Landmine Impact Survey

The international community has become more aware of the link between development and landmines. A significant amount is known about the location of suspected mine fields, but much less is known, however, about the socioeconomic impact of landmines on communities. Without measuring impact, it is difficult to develop effective strategies to allocate limited resources in a cost-effective manner to minimize the human and economic costs landmines inflict. If the impact of landmines is to be significantly reduced or all landmines in the ground eliminated starting in 2009, as envisioned by the Ottawa Treaty, rather than in decades or generations as assumed in the early days of mine action programs, better information, including baseline data to measure progress, is an immediate and unavoidable requirement. Landmine Impact Surveys provide this data.

Who Are We?

To meet this need, in a cooperative effort, the NGO community, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), established the Survey Working Group in 1998. The Survey Working Group (SWG) monitors standards and facilitates the international coordination of resources and expert personnel for the completion of the Landmine Impact Survey in countries affected by landmines. 

The members of the Survey Working Group (SWG) are:

  • Association for Aid and Relief, Japan
  • Canadian International Demining Corps, Canada
  • Cranfield Mine Action, UK 
  • DanChurchAid
  • Danish Demining Group, Denmark
  • Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, Switzerland
  • Geospatial International, Canada
  • HALO Trust, UK
  • Handicap International, France/Belgium
  • InterSOS, Italy
  • Landmine Survivors Network, USA
  • Medico International, Germany
  • Mines Advisory Group, UK
  • Mine Clearance Planning Agency, Afghanistan
  • Norwegian People’s Aid
  • Swedish Rescue Services Agency
  • UN Development Programme (UNDP)
  • UN International Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
  • UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
  • Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, USA 

Executed to a common international standard and certified by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) the Landmine Impact Survey:

  • Allows donors to rationally allocate funds to places of greatest human need as defined by impact on communities; 
  • Permits national authorities to develop national plans focusing on regions and areas of greatest impact; and
  • Gives implementers baseline impact data that will provide success indicators for mine action programs. 

The LIS is not a sample survey: it is a complete community level inventory of mine impacted communities and their attending suspected hazard areas. Rigorous analysis of LIS data indicates that no more than from 3 to 8% of all communities may have been missed by a particular national survey.

The Survey Action Center, as the executive arm of the SWG, mobilizes resources and executes surveys in partnership with international and national organizations. It also provides technical, planning, and operational support including training and data analysis expertise as well as financial oversight to most surveys. SAC also serves as the focal point for the Survey Working Group’s strategic policy function. In October 2001, at the SWG’s Geneva meeting, SAC established a Board of Directors consisting of Handicap International, Danish Demining Group, Mine Clearance Planning Agency and Norwegian People’s Aid.

How we do it?

Landmine Impact Surveys are often initiated by the United Nations when it recommends that SAC send an Advance Survey Mission (ASM) to a country to collect basic information for operational needs, preliminary estimation of the extent of the mine/UXO problem and institutional arrangements needed for a survey. At the completion of an ASM, a proposal is written if a survey is considered necessary. SAC also raises funds for the surveys. The implementing partners are selected through a competitive process. SAC trains the national survey supervisory staff and they, in turn, train the interviewers, who are dispatched to the affected parts of the country to conduct the actual survey. SAC analyzes the data for reporting purposes. Throughout the survey SAC provides technical backstopping, monitoring and advice. UNMAS provides a Quality Assurance Monitor to ensure the survey is being conducted according to the protocols set by the Survey Working Group. After the final report is written, which includes comments from the host government, it is submitted to the U.N. for certification and, once certified, the final report is distributed worldwide to donors, governments and other stakeholders. 

LIS data – a developing picture

There is completed data for eleven countries and the northwestern (Somaliland) and northeastern (Puntland) regions of Somalia. LIS results show that Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cambodia are of the most seriously mine affected countries. Mozambique and Ethiopia are in the middle rank, while Azerbaijan, Chad, Eritrea, Lebanon, Thailand and Yemen have definable and serious problems but are overall less impacted. The surveys are providing data that indicate the landmine problem, with good planning and targeting of resources, is solvable within our lifetime. To date LIS has identified 11,183 impacted communities. Of these 1,434 [13%] are highly impacted. A further 2,997 [27%] communities are medium impact, while low impact communities account for 60% of the total, but less that 5% of recent victims. Further analysis of the survey data shows that just 20% of all of the SHAs have incidents associated with them. SAC studies based on LIS data also show that past incidents are a better indicator of future incidents than on proximity to suspected hazard areas. Combined with national development priorities, these studies and other LIS data, regardless of the distribution of impact levels, can better inform strategic plans for mine action, and to reduce the risk and threat of landmines through achievable goals. 

Impacted Communities                
    Impact Category Total
    High Medium Low
Landmine Impact Survey Completed Comm % Total Comm % Total Comm % Total
Afghanistan * 1/2005 281 12% 480 20% 1,607 68% 2,368
Azerbaijan 6/2004 11 2% 101 21% 368 77% 480
Bosnia and Herzegovina 12/2003 154 11% 696 51% 516 38% 1,366
Cambodia 6/2002 564 29% 463 24% 911 47% 1,938
Chad 5/2001 49 20% 52 21% 148 59% 249
Eritrea 6/04 33 7% 100 21% 348 72% 481
Ethiopia * 4/2004 152 10% 308 21% 1,032 69% 1,492
Lebanon 8/2003 28 9% 164 54% 114 37% 306
Mozambique 8/2001 25 3% 205 21% 759 76% 989
Somalia: Phase 1 5/2003 45 13% 102 29% 210 59% 357
Somalia: Phase 2 5/2005 9 26% 9 26% 17 48% 35
Thailand 6/2001 69 13% 233 44% 228 43% 530
Yemen 7/2000 14 2% 84 14% 494 84% 592
Grand Totals   1,434 13% 2,997 27% 6,752 60% 11,183
* Note: pending UN Certification                

Completed Surveys

Landmine impact surveys have been completed in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina Cambodia, Chad Eritrea, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Mozambique,, Somalia (Phase 1 and 2: Awdal, Galbeed, Sahil, ,Bari, Nugaal and parts of the Togdheer and Mudug regions), Thailand, and Yemen. The surveys in Afghanistan and Ethiopia have not yet been certified.

Afghanistan (completed, awaiting certification)

The survey was completed in December 2004 with funding from the European Commission through UNDP and MACA. The governments of Canada and Germany and the EC through the UNMAS Voluntary Trust Fund provided funding directly to the Survey Action Center. MCPA implemented the survey with oversight and monitoring from a SAC coordination team based in Kabul. The survey identified 2,368 mine-impacted communities. It is estimated that 8% of the communities of Afghanistan are impacted by mines. 2,245 people between 2002-2004 have died or been injured by mines. Of the 2,368 impacted communities, 12% were categorized as high impact, with another 20% categorized as medium impact. Survey coverage was extensive, with all but five of the 329 districts in the country having been visited. Approximately 75 percent of the impacted communities were found in just 12 of the 32 provinces. Kabul is the most heavily impacted province, and Bagram district in Parwan province is the most heavily impacted district. The retrofit part of the survey up-dated the UNMACA database and reduced the contaminated area by almost 15 percent.

Eritrea (UN certified)

The survey was completed in May 2004 with funding provided by the European Community and the government of Canada through UNDP. The survey was executed by UNDP through the Eritrean Solidarity and Cooperation Association (ESCA) with support from the Eritrean Demining Authority (EDA), UNMEE MACC, and HALO Trust. SAC provided training and data analysis for the technical report. A total of 481 communities were recorded as having landmine/UXO contamination with 33 (7%), 100 (21%), and 348 (72%) in the high, medium, low impact category, respectively. The number of suspected hazard areas blocking access to valuable socioeconomic resources was recorded as 914. The survey found 295 victims, of which 77 were fatalities, in the prior two year timeframe. The final technical analysis report was distributed in June 2005. 

Ethiopia (completed, awaiting certification)

The survey was completed in April 2004. with funding provided to SAC by the European Community and the governments of Norway, United States, and Germany and to UNDP by the governments of Norway and Netherlands . The Norwegian People’s Aid implemented the survey. Of the 1,492 communities affected by landmine/UXO contamination, 152 communities (10%) were high impact, 308 communities (21%) were medium impact and 1,032 communities (69%) were low impact. The number of suspected hazard areas blocking access to socioeconomic resources was recorded as 1,916. The survey found 1,295 victims, of which 558 were fatalities in the last two years. 

Lebanon (UN Certified)

The survey was completed in October 2003 with funding from the European Community. The survey was implemented in collaboration with the National Demining Office through the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), with technical support from the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF). A total of 306 communities were recorded as having landmine/UXO contamination with 28 (9%), 164 (54%), and 114 (37%) in the high, medium, and low impact category, respectively. The final technical analysis report was issued in July 2004.

Somalia (Phase 2: Bari, Nugaal and Mudug Regions)

The survey ended in May 2005 and was certified by the United Nations on 10 August 2005. Funding was provided by the European Community through UNDP. The Puntland Mine Action Center (PMAC) implemented the survey with oversight and monitoring by a SAC coordination team in Garowe. The survey identified 9 high impact communities, 9 medium impact, and 17 low impact communities. Landmine incidents killed 21 people and injured 43 others in the 24 months preceding each community survey. The districts of Gaalkacyo and Galdogob reported 90% of the recent victims. The LIS confirmed the existence of 53 Suspected Hazard Areas (SHAs).  

On-going Surveys


The survey began in December 2002 with funding from the European Community and the governments of Germany, Canada, and the United States. The Institute of National Demining, InterSOS, HALO Trust, Mines Advisory Group, Norwegian People’s Aid, and Santa Barbara Foundation are conducting the survey under the auspices and support of CNIDAH, the Angolan mine action authority, with oversight and monitoring by a SAC coordination team based in Luanda, Angola. As of 31 May the results show that of the possibly 3,246 possibly mine impacted localities identified in the Preliminary Opinion Collection (POC) in 10 provinces, 1,402, or 44%, have been confirmed as mine impacted. The impacted communities contain 2,265 distinct mine-and UXO-suspected hazard areas. The land contaminated by mines and/or unexploded ordnance (UXO) impacts the safety and livelihood of an estimated 1,658,000 people and has led to the death or injury of 324 people in the last two years. 

On 31 May 2005 the survey reduced its activities when funding expired. SAC closed its oversight and monitoring and data entry operations on 15 June. HALO Trust, however, continued collecting preliminary opinion in Kuando Kubango and will complete it by the end of August. They will then send survey teams in September to conduct the LIS. InterSOS completed surveying Namibe with funding from the government of Italy through UNDP. Eleven provinces have been completed. MAG and HALO Trust have received funding from the U.S. State Department to complete Moxico, Lunda Sol and Kuando Kubango provinces by early 2006.

SAC and CNIDAH signed an agreement to continue its partnership in implementing the LIS. SAC will raise funds to complete the survey and send a technical advisor to work with CNIDAH and write the survey findings and print and distribute the final report in 2006. Through funding from the government of Liechtenstein through the UN Voluntary Trust SAC will write and distribute a preliminary report on the 10 completed provinces. This report will be available in October. 

Future Surveys

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

SAC conducted an Advance Survey Mission in March 2005. As a result SAC, DanChurchAid (DCA) and local partners will collect preliminary opinion about the extent of landmine contamination at the sub-district level in 11 provinces in the DRC. With initial funding from the government of Canada the project is scheduled to begin in the last quarter of 2005.


With funding from the government of Canada SAC will establish operations in Khartoum in September 2005 and begin planning to survey Blue Nile and Equatoria states as part of the first phase of a Landmine Impact Survey in Sudan. 

LIS Explorer

In May 2005, SAC added an application to its website ( to allow users to explore the results of completed landmine impact surveys. From an internet browser, one may view the survey data from the vantage point of communities, suspected hazard areas, and/or recent victims. The LIS Explorer offers an interactive filtering of the displayed data so the users can focus on their particular interests. The results can be exported to a MS Excel workbook for further individualized analysis. In mid-September 2005 summary maps of the completed surveys as well as interactive GIS maps showing the LIS data from a geographical perspective will be available for download. The data and all necessary software will also be available on CD-ROM and can be used without internet access. With this application national authorities, operators, and donors will be able to develop analyses of landmine data to meet their special needs. 

Excerpt from:


General Assembly 


Distr.: General

10 December 2004

Fifty-ninth session

Agenda item 65 (v)