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Survey Action Center, Landmine Monitor Report 2003

Survey Action Center

Landmine Impact Survey

The international community has become more aware of the link between development, socio-economics and landmines. Within the same community, a significant amount is known about the location of suspected mine fields, but much less is known about the socio-economic impact of landmines on communities. Without measuring impact, it is difficult to develop effective strategies to allocate limited resources in a cost-effective manner that seeks to minimize the human and economic costs landmines inflict. If landmines are to be reduced, if not eliminated by 2010, 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 can 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 worst affected by landmines. The Survey Action Center was created with the aim of managing the Global Landmine Survey initiative.

This initiative involves the execution of Landmine Impact Surveys (LIS) which focus on obtaining not only information regarding the location of minefields, but also information regarding the socio and economic impacts that landmines have on local communities. 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.

Originally, the Survey Working Group (SWG) designated the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) to manage and serve as the fiscal agent for the Survey Action Center. In February 2001, the SWG decided, in its Oslo meeting, to create an independent SAC. SAC is an international organization with headquarters in Takoma Park, MD, and registered in the USA as a non-profit organization. SAC 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 the 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.

Much has been learned during the initial five completed surveys, not only about the true definition of the landmine problem in surveyed countries, but also about how impact survey information can be utilized to develop more refined national strategic plans that link both mine action and development. The Survey Working Group asked SAC to further the incorporation of impact survey data into national planning processes and in response, SAC, in partnership with Cranfield Mine Action (UK), has expanded the range of impact survey activities to include a strategic planning process with stakeholders and host government officials during the course of the survey utilizing survey data. SAC has also introduced the Task Assessment Planning (TAP) where impacted communities are prioritized through a multi-disciplinary plan for follow-on activities to minimize impact through mine action and social and economic development projects. Greater efforts are also being made to more closely integrate impact survey activities with ongoing UN efforts at local capacity development.

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

  • Association for Aid and Relief, Japan
  • Canadian International Demining Corps, Canada
  • Cranfield Mine Action, UK
  • 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 Service Agency
  • UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
  • UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
  • UN Development Program (UNDP)
  • UN International Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, USA

How we do it?

Landmine Impact Surveys are initiated by the United Nations when it recommends to SAC to 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. It is then the SAC’s responsibility to raise 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. Survey data is entered into IMSMA and SAC analyzes the data for reporting purposes. Throughout the period of a survey SAC provides technical backstopping, monitoring and advisory functions. 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.

Completed Surveys

Landmine impact surveys have been completed in Cambodia, Chad, Northern Iraq, Mozambique, Thailand and Yemen. In 2003 surveys will be completed in Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somaliland. A brief description of each survey is given below.

Azerbaijan: This survey was conducted through the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) and the International Eurasia Press Fund (IEPF) with oversight and monitoring from a SAC team based in Baku. The European Commission provided funds for the survey through UNDP. UNDP also provided vehicles and other equipment. The survey identified over 650 mine suspected communities, of which, almost 85% were low impacted. The survey also identified UXOs as a larger problem than previously known. The final technical analysis report will be issued in October 2003.

Lebanon: The survey began in March 2002 with funding from the European Union. The impact survey is being implemented in collaboration with the National Demining Office through the Mine Advisory Group (MAG), with technical support from the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF). Data entry and analysis were completed in June 2003. The final analysis report will be issued before the end of 2003.

Somaliland: With funding from the European Commission, Finland, and Sweden, the UNDP/SMAC conducted a landmine impact survey through the Danish Demining Group with oversight and monitoring from SAC. The survey identified 357 affected communities, of which 45 were high impact, 102 were medium impact and 210 were low impact communities. There were 276 mine/UXO victims since 2001, of which 151 (more than 50%) were children 14 years of age or under. A new gazetteer emerged as a byproduct of the survey which the government of Somaliland adopted and it is also used by the UN and NGOs. Due to security reasons, the survey was not conducted in the Sool and Sanaag regions. The final technical analysis report will be issued in October 2003.

On going Surveys

Afghanistan: The survey in Afghanistan began in June 2003 with funding from the European Commission through UNDP and MACA. MCPA will implement the survey with oversight and monitoring from a SAC coordination team based in Kabul. The survey is planned to be completed in 14 months.

Angola: The survey in Angola started in December 2002 with funding from the Government of Germany, CIDA and the U.S. Department of State Humanitarian Demining Program. The European Commission has pledged to support the survey. Under the auspices and support of CNIDAH, HALO Trust, InterSOS, Santa Barbara Foundation, Norwegian Peoples’ Aid and Mine Advisory Group will conduct the survey with oversight and monitoring from a SAC coordination team, based in Angola. Cranfield University and Geospatial will conduct the strategic planning exercise and Development Workshop will conduct Task Assessment and Planning (TAP) for the survey.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: The survey began in November 2002 with funding from the U.S. Department of State Humanitarian Demining Program and the European Commission through the International Trust Fund. Handicap International-France is implementing the survey with support from BHMAC. SAC has introduced the concept of “Task Assessment Planning” (TAP) where communities once identified as high or medium will be prioritized and a multi-disciplinary plan will be developed to minimize impact through mine action and social and economic development projects. BHMAC is conducting a pilot project using the TAP methodology. The data collection period will be completed by October 2003.

Eritrea: The survey is directly executed by UNDP through the Eritrean Solidarity and Cooperation Association (ESCA) with support from Eritrean Demining Authority (EDA), UNMEE MACC and HALO Trust. Funding is provided by the European Commission and the Government of Canada. SAC is providing training, data analysis support for technical training. Data collection will be completed by the end of 2003.

Ethiopia: The U.S. Department of State Humanitarian Demining Program, the European Commission and the governments of Finland and Norway are funding the survey in Ethiopia, which began in January 2002. The data collection began in April 2003 and will be completed in October 2003. The Ethiopian Mine Action Office (EMAO) is implementing the survey through the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA). SAC is providing training, technical assistance and oversight. UNMAS has provided a quality assurance monitor.

Future Surveys

SAC is planning to conduct advance survey missions in Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Georgia and Sudan in 2003.

More Information

Worldwide Web Site The Survey Action Center maintains a web site allowing access to survey information referenced geographically. SAC’s website address is www.sac-na.org.

Survey Action Center

6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 240
Takoma Park, MD 20912, U.S.A.
Tel: (301) 891-9192; Fax: (301) 891-9193
E-mail: sac@sac-na.org
Website: www.sac-na.org