The Ottawa Convention (also known as the Mine Ban Treaty) provides a framework for achieving a world free of anti-personnel mines and calls for clearance of mined areas within ten years. The establishment of the intersessional work programme at the First Meeting of States Parties in Maputo in May 1999 was intended to ensure the momentum of the "Ottawa Process" and identify ways and means to meet the Convention’s obligations. At the first meeting of the Standing Committee of Experts (SCE) on Mine Clearance in September 1999, the Committee agreed to take forward action in five key areas. The following report on the second meeting outlines progress made and indicates where further action is required. The second meeting, like the first, was hosted by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). A summary report of the work of the Mine Clearance SCE will be presented to the Second Meeting of States Parties (SMSP) in Geneva , 11-15 September 2000. This SMSP report will be based on the present report, the report of the first meeting of the SCE, and any further updating of the progress that has taken place since the second meeting of the SCE. A draft report will be posted on the GICHD website for comment before it is finalised for the SMSP. On the last day of the meeting, a group of mine affected countries presented a statement supporting the intersessional process of the Convention and expressing their will to improve and enhance their participation in the coordination for mine action. The text of the statement is annexed.
| Mr. A. Da Silva, Ambassador, Mission of Mozambique to the UN in Geneva
| Mr. G. Aicken, Assistant Head, Conflict & Humanitarian Affairs Dept., DFID
|Mr. A. Verbeek, Senior Policy Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
|Mr. G. Laurie, First Secretary, Mission of Peru, Geneva
Topic 1 : Standards and Criteria
1.1 StandardsPresentations were made by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD). Progress made : The GICHD reported its progress in reviewing and revising the International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance conducted on behalf of UNMAS. After the review these will be retitled International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Action. The SCE on Mine Clearance supported the review process. The first version of the International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance Operations was released by UNMAS in March 1997, with the intention of reviewing and revising them periodically. For this first review exercise, UNMAS invited GICHD to coordinate the work. A User Focus Group was established to advise on field operational issues. The format of the International Standards Organisation was adopted and legally binding international instruments (ILO Conventions, International Standards Organisation, Ottawa Convention, etc.) were used as a legal framework in this exercise. A Technical Committee was established to review the work done. Discussion : The usefulness of distinguishing standards from guidelines was highlighted. The importance of donor assistance for this exercise was also expressed. It was suggested that international standards should not be imposed on countries and that a national authority should be established to implement these standards, for which international assistance would be required. Flexibility in the implementation of the standards was also urged. Action : 1. GICHD expected to complete most of the work on the revision of the International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance by September 2000 and to complete all by mid-2001. 2. UNMAS/GICHD to ensure a broad participation of mine-affected countries in the process of preparing the review of the International Standards. UNMAS to advise countries formally through their missions in New York on the process and to publish draft revised standards on the UNMAS web-site; all stakeholders invited to comment. 3. Responsible UN agencies and International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) to ensure broader participation of mine-affected countries in the development, preparation and review of standards, guidelines and studies related to mine action. 4. All stakeholders to contribute to this process, e.g. via the website (www.minclearancestandards.org). 5. UNMAS to submit these revised standards to the UN General Assembly (UNGA 55). 6. National authorities of mine-affected countries to ensure that the new standards are used. Donors and mine action agencies also encouraged to do so. 7. Effective dissemination is vital, including through translation into local languages. SCE to consider further after SMSP. 8. The Mine Action Support Group (MASG) was invited to play an active role in disseminating the agreed revised International Standards for Mine Action. The MASG could also discuss other good practice guidelines, such as the Bad Honnef guidelines. 9. SCE to consider further the implications of the application of standards to the unique requirements of emergency demining. 10. The process of reviewing and revising International Standards to be discussed in future meetings of the SCE.
1.2. The Relationship between UN Mine Clearance Standards and the Ottawa ConventionProgress made : As requested, the SCE on the General Status and Operation of the Convention discussed this issue at its first meeting. As Co-Chair of that Committee, Canada reported that the UN standards were not incompatible with the Convention. Action : No further action needed.
1.3. Mine Action TerminologyProgress made : As part of the review and revision of the International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance, the GICHD is preparing a glossary of terms and terminology for humanitarian demining. Discussion : UNDP pointed out that it had issued a document on terminology used in mine action and suggested that efforts should be coordinated in order to avoid duplication. The importance of translating these terms was considered an urgent task by mine-affected countries and UNMAS. Various mine-affected countries also raised the question of inclusiveness in the revision of these standards: national experiences should be taken into consideration in the elaboration of standards and terminology. UNMAS explained that a questionnaire had been sent to more than 100 stakeholders and that the draft document is available on the UN website (www.mineclearancestandards.org). Action : GICHD to publish the first draft of a glossary of terms and terminology on its website by the end of April 2000.
1.4. Guidelines for Establishing a Conducive Operating EnvironmentProgress made : GICHD reported on their planned study into how stakeholders might contribute to a conducive operating environment. Donors should aim to offer a firm financial commitment, preferably covering more than one year. Donor coordination, the selection of appropriate mine action agencies and the use of a proper contracting system were underlined. Donors should also support their mine action agencies at the political level. The governments of mine-affected countries should create conditions conducive to efficient mine action programmes. Mine action should start as soon as possible after a conflict has ended. An agency in the government must be established to assist in the creation of an indigenous capability which can also handle legal and bureaucratic problems. For instance, there should be no restrictions on the import of mine action equipment, including dogs. The donor governments and the government of the mine-affected state should work closely together. Discussion : Several mine-affected countries argued that the GICHD presentation did not take into account the fact that, in some cases, mine action was not started by external donors but by the authorities of the mine-affected country itself with its indigenous capacity. GICHD explained that their study was focused on mine action programmes which had been established with donor support. While there were often three "actors" (donors, mine-affected countries and the mine action agencies), regional bodies such as the Organisation of American States (OAS) could also be an actor. Further discussion about the best ways of improving coordination among donors should be undertaken. Coordination was necessary at different levels (e.g. at the MASG in New York as well as among donors at the national level). Action : 1. GICHD to take into account comments made in preparing guidelines. 2. The ICBL-Mine Action Working Group (ICBL-MAWG) to present a paper to the SMSP on creating a conducive operating environment. 3. ICBL-MAWG and GICHD to consult and collaborate on this matter.
1.5. Good Practice Guidelines/PrinciplesProgress made : ICBL reported on the work done so far on expanding and enhancing dissemination of relevant good practice guidelines and principles. The Bad Honnef framework, which embodies an integrated and comprehensive approach to mine action from a development-oriented point of view, was outlined. Special attention was placed on the need for a long-term engagement, long-term donor funding commitments, better coordination of matching funds, coordination among all stakeholders and on the allocation of resources for mine action from a development point of view. Discussion : OAS offered to share its experience in mine action activities in the Americas . Others supported the emphasis on a qualitative approach instead of a purely quantitative one. Action : 1. Handicap International (HI), MAG and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) will review and expand existing guidance and principles for good practice in humanitarian mine action. 2. The SCE on Mine Clearance commends the relevance of the Bad Honnef guidelines.
Topic 2 : Measures of Impact and Benefit
2.1: Study on the use of Socio-Economic Analysis in Planning and Evaluating Mine ActionProgress made : UNDP and GICHD reported on the progress of this Study which was being undertaken by the GICHD at UNDP’s request. The Study aims to develop operational guidelines for the planning and evaluation of mine action programmes. These guidelines focus on human, social, economic and environmental factors in mine action and their role within wider emergency and humanitarian interventions. The study should contribute to a better measurement of the socio-economic impact of the mine threat in particular contexts. It will establish guidelines for programme managers and assist in priority setting, and will improve the measurement of the benefits of clearance. The study will include case studies on Kosovo, Laos and Mozambique . Discussion : The importance of the relation between mine action and development was noted, and the relevance of the study widely recognised. Action : 1. UNDP/GICHD aim to publish the report by August 2000. 2. UNDP/GICHD aim to present preliminary results to the SMSP
2.2 : Funding for further Level 1 SurveysProgress made : The Survey Action Center (SAC) reported on its progress in implementing level 1 surveys in different parts of the world. The survey work is carried out in close cooperation with national mine action authorities and the UN programmes in Yemen, Mozambique, Chad, Thailand, Lebanon, Cambodia and Kosovo, which is a special case. Discussion : SAC intended to start new surveys in Afghanistan , Angola and Laos using the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) model, which many participants had found useful. Information is disseminated through a CD-ROM and a website. The "UN Foundation" (Turner) could provide funds to supplement donor contributions to support the level-1 surveys. Action : 1. The SCE encourages the Survey Action Center to continue level-1 surveys. 2. UNMAS / SAC to disseminate level-1 survey findings e.g. through an interactive website. 3. Further funding needed for additional surveys.
2.3: Impact of Mine Clearance on Peacebuilding and ReconstructionProgress made : The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) presented for consideration a framework for monitoring and evaluating mine action in different political and geographical situations. IDRC’s research was based on the cases of Angola and Mozambique , where the impact of mine clearance could be seen in seven stages : emergency relief, repatriation and reconstruction, demobilisation and demilitarisation, reconciliation, democratisation of elections, governance and development. Discussion : The use in Mozambique of mine clearance teams comprising demobilised soldiers from both sides of the former conflict was a positive experience. This system helped build confidence and drew upon former combatants’ knowledge of the location of mined areas. The same approach has been used in Georgia/Abkhazia. UNDP noted the connection with the socio-economic study and suggested the possibility of linking the findings of both studies, for instance on the subject of demobilised soldiers. The United States Geological Survey (USGS), can make available maps for public purchase of Vietnam , Cambodia , Laos , Nicaragua , Honduras , El Salvador , Guatemala , former Yugoslavia , Uganda , Tanzania and Somalia . They are mainly 1:50,000 with some 1 :250,000. Nothing higher than 1:50,000 is available. The USGS Customer Service Order desk telephones are 1-888-275-8747 (valid in USA only), 303-202-4200 ( Colorado ) or 703-648-5920 ( Reston VA ). A website for one stop shopping on-line is in the development stage. Action Officer is Major Phil Janzen (for information only) : telephone numbers 202-647-0562 and 202-647-0792 (direct number) ; fax 202-647-2465; e-mail : email@example.com. Action : The SCE recommends further exploration of the relationship between the framework as outlined by IDRC and the UNDP/GICHD study on socio-economic impact.
Topic 3: Planning and Prioritisation
3.1: Baseline report on critical issuesProgress made : The SCE endorsed the report of the First Meeting of the Committee. The co-rapporteurs undertook to ensure that information provided during that meeting was summarised in the report. Level-1 surveys might also provide important baseline information for assessing progress in mine clearance. Action : 1. Co-Chairs to report to the SMSP on the progress made on the five topics. 2. GICHD to retain key documents for later reference
3.2: Develop existing portfolios of mine action projectsProgress made : Two documents are available that aim to assist donors in making funding decisions and effectively match needs and resources. These are the compendium document (HI/MAG/NPA) and the annual comprehensive Portfolio of Mine Action Projects (UNMAS). Each was a guide, but neither was intended to preclude donors from conducting additional investigations and appraisals before making funding decisions. Discussion : UNDP explained that the portfolio was developed in response to a request of donor countries. UNMAS said that the portfolio was already circulated but it could also be available to those who want upon request. A new portfolio would be finished in April 2000 (contact John Ennis at UNMAS). Both documents were generally welcomed and had been found helpful, though different donors used them to a greater or lesser extent. Action : 1. Donors to indicate clearly their criteria and requirements for funding, which will help governments and mine action organisations seeking funding to provide proposals better tailored to meet donors’ funding criteria. 2. UNMAS and HI/MAG/NPA to consult when updating their respective portfolio/compendium to make any appropriate linkages and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts. Each should identify a points of contact for this liaison. 3. Other NGOs (in addition to HI/MAG/NPA) to consider contributing to these documents.
3.3: Development of an electronic data exchange mechanismProgress made : UNMAS reported on the development of the Database of Mine Action Investments. It is a new tool to better coordinate donor responses to the global landmine problem and promote the more efficient allocation of resources. Obtaining and sharing these data will help identify funding gaps and overlaps. These data will also contribute to learning lessons from the experience of past donor activity and develop a better understanding of the relationships between the nature and extent of donor activity and the progress of mine action. Discussion : Many donor countries have already provided information for this database. The database should also help recipient countries. The inclusion of action funded by the private sector and other non-government sources of funding was proposed, and received support, but there were some practical difficulties. Action : 1. Donors to input data and to ensure regular updating of the database (www.un.org/Depts/dpko/landmines/ ). 2. Countries to enter complete data sets to make the database more effective, including funding criteria. 3. Mine-affected countries to check the data and notify UNMAS of inconsistencies or gaps. 4. UNMAS to consider the possibility of including information on private sector resources.
3.4: Mine-affected countries’ plans to be available on websiteProgress made : UNMAS reported on the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA), developed by GICHD for UN mine action programmes. Discussion : There was wide interest in and support for the IMSMA project. Several countries and organisations commented on the availability of information on other web-sites. Links should be established between these sites. Two websites that provide many links to other relevant sites on mine action activities are: www.icbl.org and www.hdic.jmu.edu OAS said that the model was going to be used in Central America in three months and probably later in Ecuador and Peru . Action : 1. UNMAS to explore linking relevant sites of other countries or organisations to its site and to incorporate information of mine affected states’ national demining programmes if capacity allows. 2. Mine-affected countries to provide texts for inclusion in the UN database or details of relevant websites for links to the UN site. 3. All stakeholders to provide the Rapporteurs with details of relevant websites.
Topic 4 : CoordinationThe issue of coordination was important to many mine affected countries. They wish to enhance their participation in international discussions on mine action and coordinate with all relevant stakeholders (UN agencies, donor community, NGO’s, intergovernmental agencies and regional organisations). They also expressed the need to coordinate among themselves on a regular basis, requesting the international mine action community to find ways to make this objective possible.
4.1 : Revive Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Mine ActionProgress made : UNMAS explained the role of the Inter-Agency Co-ordination Group (IACG) for coordinating different UN agencies. The Steering Committee on Mine Action consisted of the IACG, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the ICBL. More use could perhaps be made of the Steering Committee. This could be an appropriate forum for considering issues such as content of the UN Secretary General’s Report on Mine Action. Discussion : UNDP stressed the importance of knowing which mechanisms like the Steering Committee are working and using them. OAS requested participation in the Steering Committee; some Latin American countries supported this request. However, practical considerations such as numbers of potential additional members would have to be taken into account. Action : UNMAS to utilise the Steering Committee and to consider prospects for participation by regional agencies.
4.2 : National Coordination Mechanisms and Regional Best PracticeProgress made : Nicaragua made a presentation on national coordination mechanisms in Italy , Mozambique , Thailand , Zambia and Nicaragua and stressed the need to continue addressing this issue in the future. Action :
- Nicaragua to continue to compile information from mine-affected countries and, as appropriate, donor countries about internal coordination mechanisms and best practice.
- All stakeholders to actively consider contributing to this exercise.
- UNMAS to consider the possibility of more closely involving donors in the annual International Meeting of Mine Action Programme Directors and Advisers.
4.3 : National coordination mechanisms within SADCProgress made : The Instituto Nacional de Desminagem ( IND ) of Mozambique presented a report on their national experience within the Southern Africa Development Council (SADC). An Agreement on the Implementation of the SADC Mine Action Database was signed between SADC and IND , that will enter into force on 1 April 2000 and would last 9 months. EU is supporting the SADC database and Canada the IND database. Discussion : Mozambique requested special attention because of the recent floods, which had forced them to change their priorities for mine action and to develop a new Plan. According to UNDP and UNMAS, US$2,800,000 was needed for the moment. A parallel with the impact of Hurricane Mitch on Nicaragua and Honduras was drawn and led to proposals to share experience and advice. Action : 1. OAS and SADC to discuss regional experiences in mine action with a view to enhancing coordination. 2. SCE to consider further possibilities for compiling guidelines on lessons learned on emergency mine action in the event of natural disasters.
4.4 : Dissemination of news on mine actionProgress made : UNMAS referred to the publication of the Landmine Magazine and its website. ICBL explained that part their website included news on progress in mine action (e.g. projects completed) and that E-groups had been set up for specific regions and mine action topics. 1. UNMAS to identify further ways of enhancing dissemination of news on mine action, including through regular publication of the Landmine Magazine and regular updates of the website. 2. UNMAS to send to interested parties regular updates on a country’s mine situation in the event of a crisis or emergency mine action response. 3. All stakeholders to visit the ICBL website (www.icbl.org) and to consider contributing to it, including through participation in the E-groups. 4. Landmine Monitor to issue the Second Landmine Monitor Report in time for the SMSP. Further funding requested.
4.5 : Improving collection and dissemination of informationProgress made : IDRC reported on the project on Information Communication Technologies and Humanitarian Mine Action in Southern Africa project (HMA-ICT) One of the main components of HMA-ICT is the live database website that has been created for Mozambique and its expected to be used in Angola . The project will concurrently develop activities at the regional level to include Namibia , Zimbabwe , Zambia and Southern Africa as a whole. The site allows the humanitarian mine action community in Mozambique to input, extract and access data on mine action operations in the country. Action : IDRC to consider extending to other countries the live database website created for Mozambique .
4.6 : Reporting under Article 7Progress made : Canada presented a brief update on the status of reports required under Article 7 of the Mine Ban Treaty. Article 7 reports are due within 180 days of the entry into force of the Mine Ban Treaty for a particular state. As at the end of March, 38 countries had submitted reports, 35 states were late in submitting their reports, and for 21states the deadline for reporting had not yet arrived. Of the countries that have reported, 11 indicated mined areas or areas suspected of being mined. Action (for consideration by the SCE on the Status and Operations of the Convention):
- All State Parties to submit their Article 7 reports and their yearly updates on time. All mine action players to encourage them to do so.
- State Parties experiencing difficulties in compiling their reports to approach other States Parties for technical assistance.
4.7 Website for work of SCEsProgress made : This GICHD website is already developed and contains updated information about the work of all the SCEs, including the first report of the SCE on Mine Clearance. Action :
- GICHD to update regularly their website on their work of the SCEs.
- SCEs to provide GICHD the information to be incorporated into the website.
- All stakeholders to visit and use the SCE page of the GICHD website.
- All stakeholders to use website to seek approval on draft report to SMSP.
- SCE to use the website to seek comments and observations to the draft report.
Topic 5: Building National Capacity
5.1: Successful development of sustainable national capacityProgress made : Australia presented a discussion paper on cooperation between the civil and military sectors. Discussion : See under 5.2 Action :
- SCE to recognise the use of the military in certain circumstances.
- Continue investigations into conditions necessary for successful development of a sustainable national capacity.
5.2: UN policy of the use of the militaryProgress made : UNMAS presented the guidelines on the use of local militaries of mine affected countries in mine action programmes supported by the UN. These guidelines were agreed upon last year by the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action. They seek to clarify the framework within which collaborative arrangements with the militaries can be considered, on a case by case basis, when they are considered appropriate. The guidelines state that the UN will not engage in arrangements which might hinder its neutrality and impartiality, e.g. by working with military forces that are party to a conflict. The overall structure of a mine action programme should be agreed upon before entering into arrangements with the militaries and the overall responsibility for the programme should be in the hands of civilian authorities. The guidelines also contain information on the use of MOUs, the use of the International Standards for Mine Action and the non-interference of the UN in the established military chains of command. Discussion :UNMAS explained that these guidelines were written primarily for the use of the UN; they were not binding outside the UN but other stakeholders might wish to apply them. Several donor and mine affected countries noted the positive aspects of the use of military for mine clearance operations. One organisation warned that if military are working under the authority of civilian ministries, they may be missing the incentives and cannot be paid by the UN. UNDP agreed with the principle of not paying the military but gave examples where compensation could be given to military deminers, for instance by providing meals. Action :
- The Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action to review the way these guidelines are applied in mine action programmes on a case by case basis.
- States Parties and donors to consider the possibility of training military trainers of mine affected countries.
- Non-UN mine action stakeholders urged to apply UN guidelines in all circumstances where use of military is an option.
5.3: Curricula and training materials for developing national capacityProgress made : UNDP and the Cranfield Mine Action introduced the training programme and related materials which Cranfield is developing on behalf of UNDP. The objective is to strengthen the managerial capacity of national organisations, such as the Mine Action Centres. Detailed analyses are made of what national staff need to know, and of ways of delivering training to them. The programme will cater for executive directors, senior managers and middle managers. Discussion : Places may be available later for those working on mine action programmes managed by NGOs. NGOs welcomed the development of this course. The financial aspects were discussed. Although the training is expensive, it is cheaper in the longer term to develop a national capacity, including the senior management, instead of continuing to use expatriate technical advisors. The development of an indigenous capacity at the level of middle managers is especially relevant considering the cultural differences. Action :
- Cranfield to run pilot course in UK in July/September 2000, with expected UK Government support. Later courses to be run at regional or national level
- Other donors to consider assisting participation in future courses.
5.4 : Implementation of the Report "Development of Indigenous Mine Action Capabilities"Progress made : UNMAS reported on the implementation of the recommendations of the 1996-1997 Multi-Country Study.
- Donors and implementing agencies to consider a multidisciplinary approach to mine action including, where appropriate, elements in addition to mine clearance such as victim assistance and mine awareness
- Actors involved to retain a flexible approach in following guidelines and recommendations
- Phasing out of direct assistance to national capacities to begin at the appropriate time so as to reduce reliance on foreign assistance when adequate local capacities are developed (e.g. phasing out of Technical Assistants)
STATEMENT OF MINE AFFECTED COUNTRIESMr. Co-Chairs I will make a statement on behalf of the delegations of the following mine-affected countries represented in this meeting: Croatia, Ecuador, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Peru, Somalia De-Mine Action Group, Sudan , Thailand and Zambia . The above countries want to express their full support to the intersessional process of the Mine Ban Treaty and encourage everybody here to put forth any possible effort to comply globally with the high objectives of this international binding instrument. In relation with the work done by the Standing Committee of Experts on Mine Clearance, we will like to express our deep appreciation for the progress done for each of the different actions contemplated in the five topics of its agenda and while supporting all of them we will firmly invoke all the mine action stakeholders to bear in mind the following : 1. We consider that mine-affected countries have an important role to play in the elaboration and preparation of standards, guidelines and studies related to mine action, and would like to be invited to participate in this process in a proper way, particularly with respect to the International Standards Review. We understand that UNMAS and the GICHD will take measures to assure this; 2. We also consider that given the various differences between our countries in relation to the landmine issue, this diversity shall appropriately be addressed in the production of standards, guidelines and studies; 3. Mine-affected countries wish to enhance our participation in the international mine issue discussion, in coordination with the other stakeholders (United Nations agencies, donor community, NGO’s and intergovernmental agencies, including regional organisations) and in all the levels of coordination; 4. Mine-affected countries also have the need to share among ourselves our own experiences in mine action. Unfortunately the lack of resources does not allow us to coordinate on a regular basis. The SCE meetings gives us the possibility to make some kind of coordination among us. We will kindly encourage the donor community to continue giving financial support to our participation in this process as well as in other meetings relevant to this issue. A regular mechanism could be developed to this end; 5. Mine-affected countries also encourage the UN system and the mine action international community to find appropriate way in which coordination meetings among mine-affected countries could be insured, perhaps within the context of the intersessional work. Workshops could also be organised to achieve this objective. Finally, Mr. Co-Chairs, we will request that the above recommendations, concerns and ideas be reflected in the report of this meeting as action plans and/or recommendations to all participants. Thank you very much.