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Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), Landmine Monitor Report 2003

Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD)

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 as a Swiss initiative and is supported by the Governments of 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. The Centre has particularly close working relations with the United Nations.

The Centre currently consists of 28 permanent staff members, including five persons seconded by the Governments of France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. In total, 13 nationalities are represented at the Centre (including staff members having more than one citizenship): Switzerland (12 persons), UK (5), US (3), Canada (2), New Zealand (2), Australia, Chile, Columbia, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Sweden.

Activities in 2002-2003

Operational Assistance

One of the Centre’s core missions consists of 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.

The GICHD develops and disseminates the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) in co-operation with the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and other users. IMSMA consists of a ready-to-use computer platform covering data collection, mapping and information management needs of mine action programmes in the field. As of April 2003, IMSMA is in use in 29 mine-affected countries and regions.

On behalf of UNMAS, the Centre prepares the International Standards for Mine Action (IMAS). IMAS provides practitioners and donors with an updated framework of technical and procedural prescriptions for safe and effective demining. In total, 27 IMAS have been endorsed by the relevant UN committee by the end of 2002. An additional five IMAS are currently being prepared.

The GICHD also develops and distributes the Technical Notes for Mine Action (TNMA). In addition, the Centre organises the annual International Meeting of Mine Action Programme Directors and Advisors in Geneva on behalf of the United Nations.

Finally, the Centre offers its services to governments and interested organisations to evaluate projects and programmes. It provides technical assistance and training for specific programmes of governments, or international organisations such as the ICRC, NATO, the European Commission, and various NGOs.

Research Activities

The GICHD 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, handbooks, and software tools.

The GICHD undertakes a whole set of research projects to improve the operational use of mine detection dogs. These animals have an important potential in reducing areas perceived as being mined in a fast and efficient way. Another key topic of GICHD’s research activities is mechanical demining, where several projects aim at establishing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of such equipment. In addition, the Centre runs 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:

  • Socio-Economic Approaches to Mine Action: Operational Handbook (ISBN 92-1-126146-5)
  • Communication in Mine Awareness Programmes (ISBN 2-88486-001-6)
  • Improving Communication in Mine Awareness Programmes (handbook)
  • (ISBN 2-88487-002-4)
  • Mine Action Equipment: Study of Global Operational Needs (ISBN 2-88487-004-0)
  • Explosive Remnants of War – A Threat Analysis (ISBN 2-88487-003-2)
  • Explosive Remnants of War – Undesired Explosions in Ammunition Stockpiles (ISBN 2-88487-006-7)
  • Mechanical Demining Equipment Catalogue (ISBN 2-88487-008-3)
  • Metal Detectors Catalogue (ISBN 2-88487-009-1)
  • Explosive Remnants of War – Warnings and Risk Education (ISBN 2-88487-010-5)
  • Explosive Remnants of War – Information Requirements (ISBN 2-88487-011-3)

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 (“Ottawa 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 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 these 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