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Mine Action Working Group, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports

Mine Action Working Group

The ICBL Mine Action Working Group was formed in February 1998 to serve as the focal point for addressing issues related to mine action, with a particular focus on the work in the field. The core members of the group have been project-implementation organizations, such as Handicap International (HI), Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Mines Clearance Planning Agency (MCPA), Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF), and medico international, as well as the German Initiative to Ban Landmines. In addition to this core, there is wider participation from a number of other organizations either involved or interested in the issue. The MAWG is a loose structure, where the main basis of communication is by e-mail, but members of the group also meet for discussions within the context of various international mine action meetings.

The goals of the MAWG are to promote the ICBL call for more resources for mine action programs, to ensure meaningful NGO participation in all relevant political and decision-making processes that define the parameters for mine action, and to promote an understanding and general acceptance of integrated mine action, as formulated in the “Bad Honnef Guidelines.” Overall, the MAWG collaborates with other working groups of the ICBL to promote full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty.


First Meeting of States Parties: The MAWG presented a written statement at the beginning of the meeting, outlining key points that the international community had to address in order to solve the crisis of landmines:

  • The need for more and better information on the impact of landmines on peoples and communities in order to set true and clear priorities of the work.
  • To make use of the knowledge and competence of the NGO mine action community.
  • To recognize the mine action agencies’ need for longer funding cycles in order to increase effectiveness and efficiency of mine action programs.
  • To create funding mechanisms and procedures that enable the agencies to focus on the work on the ground, not on extensive bureaucracy.
  • To focus research and development efforts on methods that are relevant to the situation on the ground, aimed at improving the speed, safety and efficiency of existing mine clearance methods.

The MAWG also presented the Bad Honnef framework for integrated humanitarian mine action to the plenary of the FMSP.

ICBL General Meeting: During the ICBL General Meeting, MAWG members facilitated workshops on mine action with participants at the general meeting. A key issue in the discussions was the need to ensure that mine awareness was given sufficient emphasis in the mine action discussions. Partly as a result of these discussions, a sub-group addressing mine awareness issues was established later in 1999.

Mine Awareness Subgroup: Since its creation the group as been working on the following issues : Preparation for and participation in the ISCE on Victim Assistance, Socio-Economic Reintegration and Mine Awareness; production of a short video presentation on mine awareness, in collaboration with ICRC; and preparation of a draft recommendation paper for the SCE.

The subgroup has also been actively involved in follow-up on a Warner Brothers’ and U.S. State Department initiative to use animated characters/comics as mine awareness learning tools, sending out State Department questionnaires and collecting the answers on the initiative. It has also followed-up on the UNMAS/UNICEF Superman field test in Kosovo. The ICBL, because of concerns from member organizations about the use of the Superman comic, was invited to participate in a field test in Kosovo, but so late that participation was virtually impossible. The subgroup sent a letter to UNMAS/UNICEF regarding the process.

Intersessional Work: Members of the MAWG have participated actively in the ICBL delegations to the meetings of the Standing Committees of Experts that carry out the intersessional work related to the treaty. MAWG members have been particularly active, in the SCEs related to mine action: Mine Clearance; Technology; and Mine Awareness, which is integrated into the SCE on Victim Assistance, as well as participating in the SCE on the General Status and Operation of the Convention.

The main goal of the MAWG has been to ensure that realities of mine action work in the field are reflected in global mine action policies developed by the international community. It also seeks to assist the State Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty to achieve the goals as outlined in the obligations of the treaty. Throughout the intersessional work, it has promoted the views of the ICBL and its members concerning mine action programs, technology, and mine awareness, as formulated in the revised Bad Honnef Guidelines for humanitarian mine action.

The following issues have been raised in particular: funding for mine action programs in countries/areas that are not parties to the Mine Ban Treaty; the problem of various political, legal and bureaucratic obstacles to undertaking mine action programs in mine affected areas; the need for comprehensive surveys on impact of landmines; the need to use mine awareness methods and tools that are relevant to the field situation; the need to promote and coordinate technology initiatives that are relevant to the reality in the field, as well as emphasizing the need for overall and effective coordination of mine action efforts. In addition to these issues, the MAWG has forwarded the view that State Parties should refrain from retaining live APMs for training or research, as permitted under Article 3, as well as raising the concern about antivehicle mines with antihandling devices. In the intersessional process, the MAWG has enjoyed a fruitful cooperation with the chairs of the various committees.

Interaction with donors: The MAWG participated in the December 1999 meeting of the Mine Action Support Group (MASG), an informal group of donor countries that meets regularly in New York. At this meeting, MAWG presented the mine action agencies’ views on cooperation with donors, their analysis of the mine action situation, as well as the mine action NGOs’ views on policies and priorities for funding. This was the second time that MAWG participated in a MASG meeting, and the exercise was encouraging.

Survey Action Center: Although not a direct MAWG initiative or project, the SAC is probably the most active arena for cooperative efforts between the mine action NGOs. All members of the MAWG are actively represented in the Survey Working Group, which meets regularly to advise the SAC on matters of Global Landmine Impact Survey policy and implementation. The Survey Working Group and SAC also provide a venue for fruitful contact between the NGOs and UNMAS and the Geneva International Center. The MAWG continues its call for support of the Global Impact Survey, and stresses the need to put the results to use.

Other activities: Members of MAWG have been closely involved in the revision process of the UN standards for humanitarian mine action, and in the UNDP initiative on undertaking socio-economic analysis of the impact of mine action.

Communication: The MAWG has established two email subscription lists to facilitate discussion on mine action, the icblmineaction@egroups.com and the mineawarenessdiscussion@egroups.com. The MAWG also has a designated page on the ICBL website, where relevant statements and documents can be found.

Sayed Aqa of MCPA has been chair of the MAWG during this period. HI and NPA have served as co-chairs. The Mine Awareness subgroup has been chaired by Anne Capelle of HI (Belgium).