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Country Reports
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Landmine Monitor Report 2003

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


The primary responsibility for managing mine action programmes in mine-affected countries lies with the national and local authorities. In many instances, however, these countries request the assistance of the UN to effectively manage their responses to mine and UXO contamination over the long term. Within the UN system, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) fulfills this critical role. The purpose of UNDP’s work is to create an environment and framework in which all mine action activities are conducted to greatest impact and efficiency and that donor funds are effectively utilized. UNDP’s field- and Headquarters-based services are intended to assist national authorities to establish the institutional structures necessary to address the mine threat in an integrated, pragmatic fashion.

UNDP’s approach to mine action is not just about removing mines, but rather about addressing the larger socio-economic implications of the landmine threat against the divergent historical backdrops of the countries that it assists. Not all solutions work for all countries. Differing cultures and experiences require different approaches to tackling the mine problem, and UNDP is well placed to bring this expertise to the mine action field.

UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery

UNDP coordinates its global response to mine action needs in post-conflict environments through the Mine Action Team (MAT) of its Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR). The Mine Action Team, together with UNDP’s network of field-based staff, provides support to countries emerging from crises and conflicts that require development assistance. The MAT provides two types of services to respond to the rapidly growing demand from mine-affected countries for assistance: (a) technical, operational, material, managerial and resource mobilization support to national mine action programmes, some in countries where conflicts have recently ceased and projects are in their initial phases of development, and others in countries with ongoing, mature programmes; and (b) a range of Global Partnership Projects that support UNDP’s overall effort to strengthen national mine action capacities, including UNDP’s mine action management training courses and mine action exchange programme.

UNDP Countries

UNDP currently provides mine action support to 23 countries, including several which were not featured in last year’s Landmine Monitor Report. These countries fall into three general categories:

  • New Programmes: Several new mine action programmes were established during the reporting period, at the request of the host governments. In Afghanistan, UNDP is developing a detailed transition plan under the auspices of the Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan, in coordination with the Afghan Administration, which will ensure a smooth and gradual transfer of responsibility for the coordination of mine action to appropriate Government authorities. In Angola, the key areas of UNDP’s assistance include technical support to the Inter-Sectoral Commission on Demining and Humanitarian Assistance (CNIDAH), the national coordinating body, and the establishment of a provincial level support project to help rationalise the Government’s effort to introduce streamlined approaches to mine action activities throughout the country. Four new capacity building projects have recently been established in Colombia, Iran, Jordan and Tajikistan. In Sri Lanka, UNDP has moved into the main phase of its capacity building project, providing technical support to the National Steering Committee for Mine Action (NSCMA) and regional mine action offices.
  • Ongoing Programmes: UNDP continues to support existing mine action programmes in several countries where there is an increased need for funding, training and development of exit strategies. These countries include Albania, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Lebanon and Somalia. In each country, UNDP is helping to strengthen national management and coordination structures and policy-making bodies. UNDP also works closely with national authorities to establish mine action strategies and to support Government efforts to integrate mine action within long-term development plans.
  • Mature Programmes: UNDP continues to support countries that have mature mine action programmes that have either been handed over to national authorities or will shortly be handed over, and which require further financial support. In Azerbaijan, UNDP continues to provide capacity building support to the Azerbaijan mine action programme. In Bosnia, specific achievements in the past year include: (a) enactment of a national law on demining; (b) establishment of a unified, national mine action centre, transforming the two Entity Mine Action Centres into two regional offices; (c) a commitment by the Government to directly support the mine action programme by financing staff salaries; and (d) development of an eight-year national strategic plan, which seeks to render the country free from the effects of mines by 2010. In Cambodia and Laos, UNDP has been assisting the authorities in developing national mine action strategies, linked to national development and reconstruction plans. In Croatia, UNDP is primarily focused on helping the Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC) establish a long-term strategic plan for mine action and developing national standards within the framework of the International Mine Action Standards.

One of the key accomplishments of UNDP’s capacity building programme in Mozambique has been the successful establishment of the National Demining Institute (IND), which has taken the lead in coordinating a national response to the mine/UXO problem and ensuring that this response is well integrated within national development plans. UNDP has recently provided support to the Government of Ukraine to address its significant stockpile of antipersonnel landmines, including large numbers of PFM mines that are deemed to be too dangerous to destroy by traditional methods. UNDP is also assisting the Government with the process of ratification of the AP Mine Ban Treaty. Finally, in Yemen, UNDP continues to help the Government clear all high-impact communities and address the medical and socio-economic reintegration issues of mine victims. More than 2.5 million m2 of land have been released for productive use and 70% of high-impact communities cleared of mines and UXO. UNDP plans to phase out its current capacity building project in Yemen over the next two years, after which the Government will assume complete control over its own programme.

Early Capacity Building Support

One of the important lessons of recent years, particularly in immediate post-conflict environments, is that the United Nations must begin long-term planning from the very beginning, even during the initial stages of emergency responses. Accordingly, in countries like Afghanistan, Eritrea, Lebanon and Sudan, where peacekeeping missions are present and the UN Mine Action Service is implementing emergency mine action programmes, UNDP is working closely with the national authorities to develop the necessary capacities to address the needs of these countries once the emergency phases are over. This parallel approach recognizes from the outset the importance of national ownership.

Cooperation Among Mine-affected Countries

One of the key initiatives undertaken by UNDP in the past year has been the promotion of cooperation among mine-affected countries. UNDP recognizes that although the scope and impact of the mine problem on affected communities is often unique to individual countries, many broad similarities exist among all mine-affected countries. In this regard, the sharing of information and knowledge about how individual countries have been affected by mines and how they have tackled their mine problems can be valuable to other mine-affected countries, as well as the international mine action community as a whole. The individual lessons learned and the unique approaches that mine-affected countries bring to addressing the socio-economic, cultural and human impact of mines on their communities are an invaluable complement to the more traditional means of technical assistance that the international mine action community provides.

One of the practical steps that UNDP has taken to promote such cooperation is its Mine Action Exchange Programme (MAX), which was launched in 2001. The MAX programme provides a mechanism for the staff of mine action programmes to undertake short assignments to other programmes or international mine action organizations. The purpose of the MAX programme is to develop and strengthen relationships and networks among indigenous mine action programmes and to share experiences and lessons learned. To date, seven UNDP-supported mine action programmes have participated in the MAX programme, including Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Lebanon, Mozambique and Somalia.

Management Training Courses

The key to UNDP’s national capacity building efforts is to encourage national ownership and sustainability of mine action programmes, including mine clearance and mine risk education projects. An integral part of this effort is training national staff to more effectively manage their respective programs. As part of its broad effort to strengthen national capacities, UNDP continues to offer its successful mine action management training courses to train national staff in effective management practices. The courses, which are implemented in collaboration with the UK-based Cranfield University, have provided basic and advanced management training skills to more than 300 senior- and mid-level mine action managers from more than a dozen mine-affected countries.

Landmine Impact Surveys and Impact-based Strategic Plans

In the past year, UNDP has supported landmine impact surveys (LIS) in 10 mine-affected countries. These surveys have provided important data about the scope and impact of the landmine problem in affected communities, and they have helped mine action operators prioritize their tasks accordingly. In Afghanistan, UNDP is managing a national landmine impact survey, which seeks to identify the impact of mines/UXO on the local population, thereby assisting mine action operators in their prioritization of activities. In Angola, UNDP is working closely with CNIDAH, the national coordinating body, to implement a LIS to support the development of a comprehensive mine action strategic plan incorporating key long-term priorities. In Azerbaijan, Cambodia and Chad, UNDP has worked closely with national authorities to incorporate the results of landmine impact surveys into impact-based strategic plans. In Eritrea, UNDP continues to support the Eritrean Landmine Impact Survey, which has completed training of data collectors at the Zoba (province) and sub-Zoba (district) levels and is now operational. LIS are also underway in Ethiopia, Lebanon and Somalia. In Yemen, where the first comprehensive landmine impact survey was conducted, UNDP has helped develop an impact-based strategic plan based on the results of the LIS. This plan, in turn, has helped national authorities prioritize the mine action programme’s approach to the mine problem.

Technical Assistance to Develop Legislation Based on IMAS

An integral part of establishing an effective national mine action programme is to develop a legal framework within which to conduct mine action operations. In its support role to national governments, UNDP, in partnership with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), has undertaken a study to examine the legal foundations of national mine action programmes. The study has assembled examples of mine action legislation enacted by governments, collected case studies, identified common themes, and reviewed national mine action structures in typical mine-affected countries. The results of the study have been compiled into an information kit designed to assist countries to address the landmine problem more effectively, including advising States Parties on how to meet their obligations under Article 6.1 of the AP Mine Ban Treaty. UNDP and GICHD are currently organizing a series of regional training workshops to discuss the findings of the legislation study, debate varying applications of the study, and develop strategies for applying the study to their respective countries. The long-term aim is to create a comprehensive approach to drafting legislation, which will provide a legal foundation for establishing and operating national mine action institutions.

Resource Mobilization

UNDP has mobilized over US$67 million for mine action in the past year, with more than US$15 million channeled through its newly-established Thematic Trust Fund for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (TTF), a new financial instrument designed to help UNDP address its development priorities. The TTF enables donors to provide contributions to UNDP in support of its thematic priorities, including mine action. Since its inception, the TTF has demonstrated its relevance as an important vehicle for channeling donor funds to UNDP mine action projects in the field and at Headquarters. UNDP expects to receive an increasing share of financial contributions through the TTF in the coming year.

One of UNDP’s most successful public-private partnerships, Adopt-A-Minefield, has raised over US$3 million in the past year. The program, formalized by an agreement between the United Nations Association of the USA and UNDP in 1998, raises funds for UN mine clearance operations in several mine-affected countries, including Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq, Mozambique and Vietnam. The funds were raised from tens of thousands of supporters worldwide, including school children, community leaders, educators, corporate leaders and celebrities. Of the US$8 million raised to date, Adopt-A-Minefield and UNDP have cleared over four million square meters of land, with a further four million square meters currently being cleared.

Transition Strategies

UNDP is currently drafting guidelines for transition strategies for UN-supported mine action programmes that support capacity building efforts at the national and local level. ‘Transition’ in this context is defined as either the termination of, or a move towards a substantial reduction in the size and scope of, a capacity building project led by international advisors. The final guidelines, which will be issued in early 2004, are intended to be incorporated into future mine action project documents and to be used throughout the life cycle of a mine action capacity building project. UNDP-supported mine action programmes that have reached a mature stage of development and that will benefit from the guidelines include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia and Yemen.

Mainstreaming Mine Action

One of UNDP’s key initiatives in the past year has been to engage key stakeholders in discussions about mainstreaming mine action within national development strategies. Although mine action is a recognised development problem, it has not traditionally been addressed within a formal development framework. Rather, mine action has typically been treated as a humanitarian problem that attracts significant funding in the immediate aftermath of hostilities, but considerably less over the long-term. While humanitarian funding should continue, a parallel strategy of incorporating mine action into development planning and budgets should be embraced. One of the practical ways to achieve this goal is to ensure that mine action is fully addressed in the development planning tools of mine-affected countries. The inclusion of mine action in these frameworks would reflect a recognition of the obstacles that mines pose to poverty reduction and broader development challenges in post-conflict environments.