Landmine Monitor 2004

Humanitarian Mine Action

In its first report issued in 1999, Landmine Monitor described the Mine Ban Treaty as “an opportunity to bring the landmine crisis under control during the next decade, a major step towards the realization of a mine-free world.” Five years on, it is clear that tremendous progress has been made in the field of humanitarian mine action using the comprehensive framework presented by the Mine Ban Treaty. Progress cannot be limited to States affiliated with the Mine Ban Treaty, however, and the achievements of some non-States Parties in supporting and implementing humanitarian mine action are commendable.

A lot more is known in 2004 about the varying degrees to which uncleared landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) affect millions of people living in 83 countries. This has been achieved through increased transparency, better research, continued and dedicated efforts of field operators, and the development of new tools, including the Landmine Impact Survey, the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA), and other important but less systematic and not internationally institutionalized tools for the improvement of mine action operations, information management, and coordination.

Humanitarian mine action (HMA) has become widely accepted as the best means to address the global landmine crisis and is far more prevalent than five years ago. This includes survey and assessment; marking, mapping and clearing of mines; mine risk education; and quality assurance. Many of the most mine-affected countries have sophisticated programs in place implementing integrated mine action activities and doing so within the broader context of the overall development of the country. Landmine Monitor estimates that since 1999, more than 1,100 square kilometers of land has been cleared, destroying more than four million antipersonnel mines, nearly one million antivehicle mines, and many more millions of pieces of unexploded ordnance.

Over the coming five years, between the First and Second Review Conferences of the Mine Ban Treaty, there must be increased attention and focus on the task of removing the mines from the ground and reducing their impact on affected communities. For the 47 Mine Ban Treaty States Parties that declare themselves to be mine-affected, 22 are now half-way to their ten-year deadline in 2009 to clear all mined areas within their jurisdiction or control.

Landmine Problem

As the Mine Ban Treaty took effect in March 1999, the international community was realizing that a concerted effort was needed to reshape the contours of the global mine problem. Early attempts by the United Nations, the United States, and others to define and explain the problems posed by uncleared landmines often focused on unverified estimates of millions of mines in various countries. It has come to be understood that from the perspective of mine action, the actual number of mines in the ground is not as important as, for example, the actual impact the landmines are having on each community in terms of causing suffering and economic setbacks. Over the past five years, the global problem has become ever more carefully defined to take into account the communities impacted by landmines.

Starting at the global level, Landmine Monitor Report 2004 has identified 83 countries that are affected to varying degrees by the presence of uncleared landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), as well as eight other areas that are included in Landmine Monitor’s reporting due to their particular mine-affected status.

Landmine/UXO Problem in the World

Central Asia
Middle East/
North Africa
Rep. of Congo
DR Congo
Sierra Leone
Burma (Myanmar)
Korea, North
Korea, South
Sri Lanka
Bosnia & Herzegovina
France (Djibouti)
Macedonia FYR
Serbia & Montenegro
United Kingdom (Falklands)
Western Sahara

Bold: States not Party to the Mine Ban Treaty

Countries leading the list of the most significantly affected countries include many of the same countries as five or ten years ago, namely Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Cambodia. Some are no longer considered as heavily affected, such as Mozambique, Nicaragua, and Yemen, while others are increasingly seen as representing new, more serious challenges, such as Burma, Colombia, Iraq, and Nepal. In October 2003, the UN reported that available casualty data suggests Iraq is the country most affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war.

The list of affected countries varies some from that reported in 2003. Honduras and Djibouti have been removed, as they have declared the completion of mine clearance. Suriname has been added, as it revealed in its initial Article 7 report that it has a mined area. The status of France and UK has not changed, but Landmine Monitor has added them to the list because of their acknowledged responsibility for clearing mined areas under their jurisdiction in Djibouti and the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), respectively.

Since 1999, the annual tally of mine and UXO affected countries has changed due to new mines being laid (adding FYR Macedonia and Uzbekistan), to new information about previously unknown mined areas (adding Venezuela and Suriname), to completion of mine clearance (removing Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Djibouti and Honduras), to clarifications regarding mine-affected status (removing Slovenia and Tanzania), and to Landmine Monitor’s decision to remove those countries that are marginally affected by UXO and which suffer few if any casualties (El Salvador, Estonia, Hungary, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, and Mongolia); the Czech Republic arguably fits into this latter category and has been removed from the list this year with the completion of clearance of the former military area at Ralsko.

Countries that have completed mine clearance and declared themselves mine-free since the publication of Landmine Monitor Report 1999, include Moldova (August 2000), Bulgaria (October 1999), Costa Rica (December 2002), Czech Republic (April 2003), Djibouti (January 2004)[48]and, most recently, Honduras (June 2004). In June 2004, Namibia stated that while there was still a problem on the country’s border with Angola, the country could be viewed as mine safe. Landmine Monitor still lists Moldova as affected due to significant UXO contamination.

Identification of Mined Areas: Surverys, Assessments, and Information Management

Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty requires the identification of mined areas and suspected mined areas. While the global mine contamination problem is now much better defined than in 1999, there remain several significantly mine-affected countries where little or no information is available on the scope or scale of the problem. Through assessment, survey, and better information management, mine-affected countries can better prepare strategic plans and prioritize mine clearance operations.

There has been a steady increase in the number of assessments made to determine the scope of the landmine problem in affected countries. Landmine Monitor noted that 30 countries had undergone assessments or surveys from 1997-2000. It reported 34 ongoing surveys or assessments in 2001 and 32 in 2002. In 2003 and 2004, assessment and/or survey were conducted in approximately 37 countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Croatia, Cyprus, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Jordan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, and Vietnam, as well as Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Somaliland.

Surveys or assessments were initiated in 2003 and 2004 in Burundi, Ecuador, Iraq, Liberia, FYR Macedonia, Malawi, Peru, Senegal, Tajikistan, Vietnam and Zambia, in addition to Puntland (Somalia). Burundi reports that while mapping and marking has not been conducted, it has carried out preliminary assessments in six of 17 provinces. Tajikistan began general mine action assessments in its Central Region in late 2003. The Zambian Mine Action Center began a national impact survey in August 2003.

Assessments include interagency missions taken by the United Nations at the invitation of the government to determine the political will of the country to address its mine problem and the extent to which the UN can be of assistance. Since 2001, the UN has carried out assessment missions in fifteen countries. Recent missions included Uganda (April 2004), Senegal (March 2004), Liberia (September 2003), Malawi (August 2003), and Tunisia (January 2003). Mine clearance organizations and donor agencies frequently conduct assessments to evaluate mine action programs or determine mine action needs.

Landmine Impact Surveys (LIS) are designed to look at the impact of landmines on communities in order to help authorities develop strategic plans to reduce the impact and use limited resources more efficiently. The LIS includes community mapping, sketch drawings of individual suspected hazard areas, and gathering of information on victims from mine incidents two years or less prior to the survey. It also includes the socio-economic impacts that landmines have on each community. The LIS is community-focused as opposed to minefield-focused. General or Level One Surveys typically include minefield mapping, sketch drawings of individual minefields, and the gathering of technical data for the initiation or continuation of mine clearance operations.

At least seven nationwide impact surveys have been completed since 1999 and another eight were underway in 2003/2004. The Survey Working Group is the coordinating body for most LIS operations, with the Survey Action Center (SAC) as the executing agency. It has completed impact surveys in Yemen (2000); Chad, Mozambique, and Thailand (2001); Cambodia (2002); and in Azerbaijan and Somaliland (2003). In 2004, surveys were scheduled for completion in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, while surveys in Afghanistan, Angola and Somalia (Puntland) should be completed in 2005. In addition, the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation was coordinating nationwide surveys in Lebanon, Vietnam, and Iraq in 2003 and 2004.

According to the SAC, of the ten countries surveyed, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, and Ethiopia are in the top rank of seriously affected countries, Mozambique is in the middle rank, while Azerbaijan, Chad, Eritrea, Lebanon, Thailand and Yemen have definable and serious problems, but are overall less impacted.

In some places, Landmine Impact Surveys have been criticized for overestimating the mine problem, for not being detailed and thorough enough, and for not covering all affected areas. In Mozambique, HALO Trust resurveyed some areas covered by the LIS and found that 282 sites identified by the LIS as mined were in fact not affected, while HALO also identified 89 contaminated sites that had been missed in the survey. In Thailand, the LIS reported a total mine-contaminated area of approximately 2,556 square kilometers, three times more than the previous estimate, and considered unrealistic by some.

Most mine-affected countries with operational mine action bodies have progressively compiled substantial amounts of information that, although perhaps not consistent, can serve both priority-setting and strategic planning purposes. Prior to the Landmine Impact Survey in Cambodia, several organizations had conducted numerous smaller technical surveys and gathered data in individual databases as well as in the database held by national authorities.

Initiated in 1999, the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) assists mine action programs with data collection and mapping of information collected on affected areas, mine clearance, mine casualties and other relevant information. According to the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), the database has been installed in 35 countries, and four areas.[49] In February 2004, five key mine action operators stated, “The IMSMA system in its current format is too complicated and is not working as intended. A more simple and user friendly system should be introduced to assist in the coordination of mine information, and this information should be shared and made freely available.”[50]

Mine Clearance

Following the identification of mined areas, Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty requires: 1) the marking, monitoring, and fencing or protection of such areas to ensure the effective exclusion of civilians; and 2) the destruction of emplaced mines as soon as possible, but not more than ten years after entry into force of the treaty for a particular State Party. Equally relevant and important is Article 6, which states the right of each party to seek and receive assistance to the extent possible. This article implies a responsibility of the international community to provide funding and support for mine action programs in mine-affected countries with limited resources.

Mine clearance has continued to evolve from a strictly military activity to a more sophisticated and systematic humanitarian and developmental initiative. Most NGOs involved in mine clearance have aims that go beyond the clearance of mines; for example the opening up of affected areas for productive use by marginalized groups. A comprehensive framework for this kind of development-oriented mine action was first formulated through initiatives such as the “Bad Honnef” guidelines issued in 1997. Mine clearance involves a variety of techniques, primarily manual deminers, canine mine detection, and mechanical systems.

Some form of mine clearance was reported to have taken place in 2003 and 2004 in a total of 65 countries, including 41 States Parties, 24 non-States Parties, and seven areas.

Humanitarian mine clearance by an international or national NGO, or by any other entity conducting clearance that benefited the civilian population, was recorded in 36 countries, including 28 States Parties, eight non-States Parties and four areas. Among the key accomplishments during 2003 and 2004, Djibouti declared itself “mine-safe” on 29 January 2004, and Honduras completed its mine clearance operations in June 2004. In January 2004, the Yemeni government declared the Aden governorate to be free of landmines. For the first time, humanitarian mine clearance operations started in Armenia (May 2003), Chile (September 2003), Senegal (late 2003), and Tajikistan (June 2004).

Humanitarian mine clearance took place in the following States Parties in 2003/2004: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Croatia, DR Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Eritrea, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Jordan, FYR Macedonia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Perú, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, and Yemen. The non-States Parties included: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. The areas were: Abkhazia, Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh and Somaliland.

As can be seen from the listing below, a combined total of more than 149 million square meters of land was cleared in 2003, and a total of 174,167 antipersonnel mines, 9,330 antivehicle mines, and 2,570,200 UXO were destroyed.[51] Inconsistent and incomplete reporting of clearance results is improving, but these figures should still be regarded with caution.

  • In Afghanistan, 30 million square meters of mined land and 59.5 million square meters of former battlefield were cleared, destroying 17,884 antipersonnel mines, 5,259 antivehicle mines, and 1,347,238 UXO;
  • In Albania, a total 310,800 square meters of land was cleared and another 799,601 square meters reduced through survey;
  • Angola reported an area of 3,525,197 square meters was cleared, destroying 14,726 antipersonnel mines, 1,045 antivehicle mines and 71,596 UXO;
  • In Armenia, deminers cleared 100,000 square meters in one province between May and November 2003;
  • In Azerbaijan, the two national demining NGOs reporting clearance of some 1.3 million square meters of land;
  • In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a total of 6.4 million square meters land was cleared;
  • In Cambodia, a total of 41.7 million square meters of land was cleared, destroying 60,626 antipersonnel mines, 1,096 antivehicle mines and 118,307 UXO. This was 20 percent more land cleared than in 2002 and the largest annual clearance total ever;
  • In Croatia, 28.5 million square meters of land was cleared;
  • In Ecuador, a total of 24,971 square meters of land was cleared, destroying 60 antipersonnel mines.
  • In Eritrea, approximately 4.8 million square meters of land and 2,375 kilometers of road was cleared in the Temporary Security Zone and adjacent areas, destroying 439 antipersonnel mines, 187 antivehicle mines, and 5,785 UXO;
  • In Guinea-Bissau, two mine clearance NGOs demined 442,292 square meters of land, destroying 102 antipersonnel mines and 2,123 UXO;
  • In northern Iraq, two NGOs cleared a combined total of 988,811 square meters of land, destroying 29,667 mines and 905,137 UXO;
  • In Jordan, the Army Engineer Corps cleared approximately 4 million square meters of land, destroying 556 mines;
  • UXO Lao cleared 8.8 million square meters of land, destroying 54,420 pieces of UXO;
  • In Lebanon, the Army reported demining 1.6 million square meters of land, and destroying 2,200 antipersonnel mines, 250 antivehicle mines, and 8,000 UXO;
  • In FYR Macedonia, more than 1.6 million square meters of land were released through clearance and survey operations;
  • In Mozambique, a total of 7,058,095 square meters of affected land was cleared, and 9,263 antipersonnel mines, 1,395 antivehicle mines, and 13,455 UXO were destroyed;
  • In Nicaragua, between March 2003 and March 2004, 376,517 square meters of land were cleared, and 14,451 landmines and 27,033 UXO were destroyed;
  • Perú reported that humanitarian clearance in the departments of Piura and Tumbes was completed in December 2003;
  • In Rwanda, a total of 26,752 square meters of land was cleared;
  • In Serbia and Montenegro, a total of 1,460,000 square meters of land was cleared of mines and UXO;
  • In Sri Lanka, a total of 2,155,364 square meters of land was cleared, and 24,038 antipersonnel mines, 54 antivehicle mines and 13,231 UXO were destroyed;
  • According to the Sudan Emergency Mine Action Program, almost 450,000 square meters of land was cleared;
  • In Thailand, a total of 718,910 square meters of land was cleared;
  • Yemen cleared about 2.8 million square meters of land, destroying 155 antipersonnel mines, 44 antivehicle mines, and 9,660 UXO.

In 2003 and 2004, other types of clearance besides HMA, such as explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), clearance for commercial purposes, and limited demining tasks was carried out in 29 countries. This included 13 States Parties: Belarus, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Moldova, Namibia, Philippines, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom (Falklands), Zambia, and Zimbabwe. It also included 16 non-States Parties (Burma/Myanmar, China, Egypt, Georgia, India, Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nepal, South Korea, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine), as well as Chechnya, Taiwan and Western Sahara.

In 2003 and 2004, no clearance activities were recorded in 20 countries. This included 13 States Parties: Algeria, Bangladesh, Burundi, Republic of Congo, Denmark, France (Djibouti), Liberia, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tunisia and Venezuela. It also included seven non-States Parties (Cuba, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Somalia, Syria, and Uzbekistan), as well as Palestine. Four countries (Algeria, Niger, Tunisia and Venezuela) reported that they are planning to undertake humanitarian mine clearance. Landmine Monitor Report 2003 indicated that no clearance activities were taking place in 16 mine-affected countries, including 12 States Parties.

Landmine Monitor has recorded clearance initiatives conducted or implemented by civilians living in mine-affected communities in countries including Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, DR Congo, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Laos, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. In some locations, such as Cambodia, the practice is systematic and widespread in parts of the country, while elsewhere, such as Nicaragua, there may be spontaneous instances of clearance. The practice represents a grassroots attempt to meet the urgent need for arable land and other economic resources denied to local inhabitants by the presence or suspected presence of mine-contaminated areas. According to a study released in September 2003, one of the major reasons why “village demining” still exists in Cambodia is: “For many villagers, the risk of not being able to provide for a family is greater than taking the risk of clearing mines by themselves and reducing the overall risk in contaminated land to a tolerable level.”[52]

It is difficult to arrive at a reliable statistic on the number of square meters of land that have been cleared in the past five years. Major problems are encountered with inconsistent and incomplete reporting of clearance from many countries. In many cases it is hard to distinguish between clearance of mined land, area reduction through survey, and battle area surface clearance. With those caveats, Landmine Monitor reporting from 1999-2003 indicates that nearly 1,100,000,000 square meters of land have been cleared through all these methods. More than four million antipersonnel mines, nearly one million antivehicle mines, and more than eight million pieces of unexploded ordnance have been destroyed in clearance operations.

Mine Clearance Deadlines (Article 5)

A total of 42 States Parties have declared emplaced mines and must meet the Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 requirement to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under their jurisdiction or control. Both Argentina and the United Kingdom have declared with respect to the Falkland/Malvinas Islands. Five other States Parties have not submitted their initial Article 7 reports, but are expected to officially declare a mine problem: Burundi, Liberia, Serbia and Montenegro, Sudan, and Turkey. Landmine Monitor identifies six other States Parties as mine-affected, but they have not officially declared areas containing or suspected of containing antipersonnel mines in their Article 7 transparency reporting: Bangladesh, Belarus, Moldova, Namibia, Philippines, and Sierra Leone; these six are not included in the “Deadlines” chart below.

Mine Clearance Deadlines (Article 5)

2009 (22)
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chad, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, France (Djibouti), Guatemala, Jordan, FYR Macedonia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Perú, Senegal, Swaziland, Thailand, Uganda, United Kingdom (Falklands), Venezuela, Yemen, Zimbabwe
2010 (7)
Albania, Argentina (Malvinas), Cambodia, Liberia, Rwanda, Tajikistan, Tunisia
2011 (5)
Colombia, Rep. of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Zambia
2012 (5)
Algeria, Chile, DR Congo, Eritrea, Suriname
2013 (3)
Afghanistan, Angola, Cyprus
2014 (5)
Burundi, Greece, Serbia and Montenegro, Sudan, Turkey

Italics: No Article 7 report yet submitted declaring mined areas.

Twenty-two of these 47 States Parties face a deadline in 2009 to destroy or ensure the destruction of antipersonnel mines in known or suspected mined areas under their jurisdiction or control, including thirteen by 1 March 2009.[53]

Of those with 2009 deadlines, it appears about 12 have clearly set goals to meet the deadline.

  • Croatia’s mine action plan was due to be revised in 2004 to ensure the country meets the 2009 treaty deadline;
  • Guatemala stated in August 2004 that clearance operations throughout the country were scheduled to end by June 2005;
  • Jordan’s three-phase demining plan should see mine clearance in the country completed by May 2009;
  • Malawi stated in June 2004 that it is taking the necessary steps to ensure the country is free from mines and UXO by 2009;
  • Nicaragua reported in April 2004 that, depending on available funding, the completion date for the country’s demining operations may be pushed back from 2005 to 2006;
  • Niger presented a draft mine action plan in February 2004 for the period from 2004 to 2006 and it is seeking international assistance;
  • Perú’s mine action coordination body Contraminas told Landmine Monitor in April 2004 that Perú should meet its treaty-mandated clearance deadline of 1 March 2009;
  • Senegal announced in June 2004 that a five-year national mine action plan to clear Casamance is awaiting the approval of the government;
  • The United Kingdom confirmed in February 2004 that the government is “fully committed” to destroying all mines in areas under UK jurisdiction, meaning the Falklands, but there has been no progress on a mine clearance feasibility study, first proposed in October 2001;
  • Venezuela has not yet begun clearance operations of mined areas located at six Naval posts, but the task is not expected to take long;
  • In Yemen, a five-year strategic plan is in place to clear fourteen high impact communities by 2004.

Some States Parties have set clearance goals that stretch past their 2009 treaty-mandated deadline, while others have acknowledged their doubts that they will be able to meet the goal. Several report their primary goal is to become “impact-free” or free from the risk of mines (“mine-safe”). Some countries have indicated increased assistance as a condition for them to successfully complete the Article 5 obligation by 1 March 2009.

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina’s mine action strategy approved in April 2003 required $333 million to “become free from the negative impact of mines” and UXO by 2010; a draft new strategy of August 2004 required $104 million to clear and reduce first priority areas in highly impacted communities by 2009 and fence and mark other suspected areas;
  • Chad’s mine action plan, updated in January 2003, aims to free the country from the impact of mines and UXO by 2015;
  • Mozambique’s first mine action plan set the goal of becoming “mine-impact free” within ten years, which would mean 2012;
  • Thailand confirmed in June 2004 that while it is committed, it doubts it will be possible to meet its mine clearance deadline of 1 May 2009;
  • Zimbabwe told Landmine Monitor in February 2004 that unless sufficient funds are obtained, it will not be able to meet the 2009 deadline.

Some have taken no steps toward even establishing a plan to meet their clearance deadline. In March 2004, Denmark confirmed the country has no plan in place to clear mined areas in a nature reserve on the Skallingen peninsula. Ecuador’s Army, which is responsible for mine action in the country, has not made its mine clearance plan public, including how it intends to meet its treaty deadline. Swaziland has remained silent on its intent to clear its one minefield.

Some States Parties face ongoing mine-use and no humanitarian mine clearance has been initiated, which calls into question the viability of the goal to remove emplaced mines within the 2009 treaty deadline. Uganda stated that the Lord’s Resistance Army continued to lay antipersonnel mines in the north of the country in 2003 and 2004, while two recent assessment missions stressed the need for a mine action coordination center and a national mine action plan. The experience of Angola showed that it was possible to conduct a nationwide mine clearance program in the midst of a conflict. Exactly how more recent States Parties in similar states of conflict, such as Burundi, Colombia, DR Congo, and Sudan, will manage to meet their clearance deadline is a looming challenge.

The ultimate goal of eradicating antipersonnel mines has usually been termed “mine-free.” However, an increasing number of States Parties are focusing on objectives other than “mine-free,” and utilizing terms such as “mine-safe,” “risk-free” or “impact-free.” Such terms are indicative of a need to discuss more thoroughly and articulate more precisely the objective of Article 5 of the treaty, which requires destruction of “all anti-personnel mines in mined areas.” An integral component is discussion of the provision in the Mine Ban Treaty for a mine clearance deadline extension. As stated in Article 5(3), a request for an extension of the deadline can be made to a Meeting of States Parties or a Review Conference, and must include, among other things, a detailed explanation of the reasons for the requested extension with information on financial and technical means available and the circumstances hindering the clearance and destruction of all antipersonnel mines in all mined areas. Some outside the Mine Ban Treaty believe that the mine-free objective is economically unachievable and morally questionable. In June 2004, the United States called the “mine-free” goal, “an unnecessary action regardless of whether or not the mine generates any adverse impacts or poses a threat to civilians.”[54]

Apart from the discussion on “mine-free,” some States Parties, such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Mozambique are emphasizing area reduction measures to mark and/or fence mined areas and suspected land rather than physical mine clearance. This approach is grounded in Article 5(2), which obligates States Parties to take every effort to implement the minimum standard of protection of civilians from the effects of antipersonnel mines contained in CCW Amended Protocol II. Mine action operators recognize that survey operations and area reduction are important and necessary steps, which not only bring down the number of new mine incidents but are also cost-efficient planning and priority setting measures. But these activities have to be followed up by actual clearance operations, and there is concern that overemphasis on survey and area reduction could make it difficult for a country to comply with its obligation to destroy all antipersonnel mines from mined areas within ten years.

Case Studies

A review of the mine action achievements in seven major mine-affected States Parties provides a window into some of the activity taken over the past five years: Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, and Yemen. The first four countries listed are, as was the case five years ago, still believed to be among the most mine-affected countries in the world. The last three countries are included in this analysis in an attempt to provide a well-rounded overview of the state of mine action in every part of the world.

Between the seven countries, in the five years since the Mine Ban Treaty became international law at the start of 1999 and the end of 2003, a total of about 513 million square meters of mined land was cleared during which a total of 367,856 antipersonnel mines, 19,615 antivehicle mines, and 32.7 million UXO were destroyed. A handful of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operate in several of these States Parties, led by three long-established groups: HALO Trust, Mines Advisory Group, and Norwegian People's Aid. Each country includes a coordination body that despite some instances of funding crises, mismanagement, and statistical clearance discrepancies, continues to play a central role in building the capacity of the governing institutions to manage the country’s mine problem.

  • Afghanistan: The Mine Action Program in Afghanistan (MAPA), established 1989, is the oldest and largest demining program in the world. In 2004, the program consisted of the UN Mine Action Center for Afghanistan and sixteen NGO implementing partners. The Mine Action Program in Afghanistan experienced a severe shortage of funds in 2000 and had to lay-off mine action teams. Additionally, mine action operations were virtually brought to a halt following 11 September 2001 and all mine action activities experienced great difficulties during the subsequent military conflict. However, by March 2002, mine action had returned to earlier levels. In February 2004, a planning process was initiated to transfer responsibility for the MAPA from the United Nations to the national government. Afghanistan has estimated that $300 million will be needed between 2003 and 2007, and an additional $200 million for 2008 and 2012 to make the country “mine-effect free.” Between 1999 and 2003, a total of about 131 million square meters of mined land was cleared, as well as 373 million square meters of battlefield areas. In that period, a total of 105,072 antipersonnel mines, 10,775 antivehicle mines, and 2.54 million UXO were destroyed.
  • Angola: In 2004, there were ten operators engaged in mine clearance-related activities in Angola: eight NGOs (HALO, MAG, NPA, Intersos, SBF, BTS, MgM, and DCA), the National Demining Institute and the Angolan Armed Forces. In the time that it has been reporting, Landmine Monitor has faced difficulties in reconciling conflicting data on mine clearance for Angola, particularly as reported by INAROEE and its successor. Between 2000 and 2003, an estimated total of about 18.9 million square meters of mined land was cleared. In that period, a total of 21,061 antipersonnel mines, 1,096 antivehicle mines, and 159,613 UXO were destroyed.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Eight years after the end of the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina remains the most heavily mine-contaminated country in Europe, with a least four percent of the country mine-affected. There are 18,600 recorded minefields, which is said to represent only about 60 percent of the actual number of mined areas. In 2003, BHMAC had accredited 37 demining organizations to work in the country: three Entity Armed Forces and three Civil Protection agencies, 14 NGOs and 17 commercial companies. Between 1999 and 2003, a total of about 31.9 million square meters of mined land was cleared and a total of 15,467 mines and 10,038 UXO were destroyed.
  • Cambodia: In 2003, there were four demining operators in Cambodia, including three NGOs (CMAC, HALO Trust, MAG). Proper humanitarian mine clearance started in 1992, initiated by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). After establishing mine clearance operations in 1992 and 1993, the rate of clearance annually remained fairly steady from 1994 to 1999, averaging 18.1 million square meters per year. The totals are up sharply since then, with the exception of 2001, due to a CMAC mismanagement and funding crisis. Cambodia aims to reach “zero impact” from landmines and UXO by 2012. Between 1999 and 2003, a total of approximately 146 million square meters of mined land was cleared and a total of 161,633 antipersonnel mines, 3,866 antivehicle mines, and 450,012 UXO were destroyed.
  • Nicaragua: Mine clearance in Nicaragua is the responsibility of the Engineer Corps of the Nicaraguan Army, with technical supervision and support provided by the OAS Assistance Mission for Mine Clearance in Central America (MARMINCA). As is the case for most mine clearance in the region, annual demining figures for Nicaragua have proven elusive for Landmine Monitor. Between 2001 and 2003, a total of 1,110,899 square meters was cleared. In 2000, as well as between 2002 and 2003, a total of 26,085 antipersonnel mines were destroyed. In 2000 and in 2003, a total of 43,205 UXO was destroyed.
  • Mozambique: Demining in Mozambique started at the end of the war in 1992, as the United Nations prepared to return refugees and IDP as part of the UNOMOZ operation. In 2004, seven operators were engaged in mine clearance-related activities in Mozambique: five NGOs, two commercial firms, and the Armed Forces. Between 1999 and 2003, a total of about 35 million square meters of mined land was cleared and a total of 34,416 antipersonnel mines, 2,680 antivehicle mines, and 22,765 UXO were destroyed.
  • Yemen: The Mine Clearance Unit of the National Demining Program completed its first clearance task in December 1999. Between 2000 and 2003, a total of about 6.84 million square meters of mined land was cleared and a total of 4,663 antipersonnel mines, 677 antivehicle mines, and 44,270 UXO were destroyed.

An often-neglected aspect of mine clearance has been that carried out in areas that are not sovereign states. The ICBL and others have periodically been criticized for focusing too much attention on the mine action needs of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty without addressing equally pressing humanitarian needs in non-States Parties and entities that are not internationally-recognized. For years, a handful of NGOs have engaged in mine clearance that has made a significant impact in post-conflict areas largely ignored by the international community. The Mines Advisory Group has carried out mine action operations in northern Iraq since 1992. Between 1999 and 2003, MAG cleared a total of 3,640,093 square meters of mined land and destroyed a total of 42,542 landmines and 886,955 UXO. NPA has also engaged in northern Iraq for many years. The HALO Trust has operated in Nagorno-Karabakh since 2000. Between 2000 and 2003, HALO cleared a total of 2,691,097 square meters of mined land, surveyed another 7,767,500 square meters and did battle area clearance of 45,414,190. In this period, it cleared and destroyed a total of 2,167 antipersonnel mines, 977 antivehicle mines and 8,710 UXO.

Coordination and Planning

In 2003 and 2004, there was some form of coordination and planning body in place in 42 of the mine-affected countries, plus four areas: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Burundi, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Djibouti, DR Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, and Lebanon, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Perú, Rwanda, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe, plus Abkhazia, Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh, Palestine, and Somaliland.[55]

This was three more countries than reported in Landmine Monitor Report 2003. In Burundi, a Mine Action Center was created in June 2004 in the headquarters of the UN peacekeeping operation. A Georgian Mine Action Center was formed by a local NGO in early 2004. In Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority established the Iraq National Mine Action Authority and Iraq Mine Action Center in Baghdad.

The creation of a mine action center was included in a mine action plan drafted by Senegal in June 2004. In FYR Macedonia, the UN Mine Action Office closed and the Ministry of Defense took over responsibility for the coordination of mine action.

A national plan for removing landmines helps to ensure that priority areas most needed by the population are cleared and helps to establish a measure against which to assess the social and economic impact of mine clearance. There is now greater recognition of the importance of putting mine action planning into the broader context of development plans, such as those included in Poverty Reduction Strategies, UN Development Assistance Frameworks and other mechanisms.

In 2004, Landmine Monitor recorded national mine action plans in-place in 23 countries and two areas, one more than reported in 2003 with the addition of Zambia: Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Senegal, Sudan, Thailand, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

In March 2004, the government of Laos issued a National Strategic Plan that sets mine/UXO action objectives and priorities over a ten-year period (2003-2013) and creates a new National Regulatory Authority to oversee and coordinate UXO/mine action activities. The Army in Senegal developed a plan, with the support of the French military, to clear the Casamance region in three phases over a five-year period. The Zambian Mine Action Center has developed a strategic demining work plan, employing IMSMA.

International Developments

The Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies met in February and June 2004, co-chaired by Cambodia and Japan with Algeria and Sweden as co-rapporteurs. The Committee focused on the status of implementation and updates on activities and problems faced by mine-affected States Parties. A total of 25 countries made statements in February 2004 using the “4P” framework (“Problems, Plans, Progress and Priorities”). In June 2004, 30 countries presented this information, with many focusing on their anticipated needs to fulfill the Article 5 obligation. There was an increase in the number of non-mine-affected countries reporting on bilateral support efforts, in addition to support provided to international organizations such as the UN and to operational mine clearance organizations.

Over the past five years, first NGOs and later larger institutions and donor bodies have advocated for the inclusion of mine clearance planning and priority-setting in national development and poverty reduction plans. As noted above, another trend in recent years is the focus for some mine-affected States Parties on achievement levels other than mine-free, such as impact-free or mine-safe within the ten-year deadline of the Mine Ban Treaty.

The ICBL Mine Action Working Group (MAWG), co-chaired by Norwegian People's Aid and the Afghan Mine Detection and Dog Center, presented at both Standing Committee meetings held in 2004. In February, it focused on the future of mine action, particularly in relation to the First Review Conference, and proposed that the Committee consider three related concepts: exit strategies and achievement levels, mine-impact free and mine-free, and impact versus control of mined areas.

Norway continued to chair the informal Resource Mobilization Contact Group that provided a review of resources currently available to achieve Article 5 obligations to the June 2004 Committee meeting. This review identified over $2.2 billion in international, national and in-kind resources applied to mine action in the past seven years and concluded that “ensuring a sufficient flow of resources over the next several years will be crucial.” In addition to the sufficient flow of resources, increased in-country coordination and better prioritization of mine action activities is required.

Five humanitarian demining NGOs formed the NGO Perspective on the Debris of War in August 2002 that has argued that too many mine action programs are unnecessarily costly and complicated, and called for a larger percentage of available funds to be directed toward practical clearance activities.[56] On 22-24 March 2004, the NGO Perspective met in Oslo together with UN mine action representatives to discuss and agree on best practices for improving cooperation and effectiveness in the conduct of mine action. Four areas of concern were raised and discussed: coordination, personnel, costs and International Mine Action Standards (IMAS). Some conclusions from the meeting, agreed upon by both the UN and the NGOs were:

  • All mine action stakeholders should be included in the development of realistic and achievable national mine action plans;
  • The development of mine action plans and activities should be undertaken locally;
  • Mine action plans should be broad enough to secure national infrastructure priorities and other macro priorities, and contribute to the development of a national plan;
  • Relevant actors should be engaged to improve national and international policies and development strategies, enhance effectiveness in mine action, reduce the need for expensive expatriate personnel and ensure assistance in mine action is based on needs analysis and cost- effective approaches; and
  • IMAS should be reviewed and simplified where appropriate.

The United Nations Development Programme’s mine action work promotes the development of national and local capacities through integrated and sustainable mine action programs. One activity is the creation of national mine action centers to coordinate, prioritize, and ensure the quality of the various mine action operations.[57] According to UNDP, it is currently involved in mine action capacity-building in 27 countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Croatia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uganda, Ukraine, and Yemen.

A number of studies have been conducted and published at the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) in 2003 and 2004. The following are examples: “Study of Explosive Remnants of War – Warning and Risk Education,” published in May 2003; “A Guide to International Mine Action Standards,” published in January 2004; “Mine Detection Dogs: Training, Operations and Odor Detection,” published in June 2003; and “The Role of the Military in Mine Action,” published in June 2003.

The International Mine Action Standards are guidelines for mine action practitioners with the objective of helping national governments, mine action centers and demining organizations conduct consistent and safe mine action activities in accordance with international standards. First proposed in July 1996, the first international standards for mine action were issued by UNMAS in March 1997. These were re-developed by GICHD, reissued in 1999, and continue to be refined and reviewed regularly to reflect developing norms and practices, and to incorporate changes to international regulations and standards. The IMAS can be viewed online at

Research and Development

Article 6 of the Mine Ban Treaty allows States Parties to exercise their “right to participate in the fullest possible exchange of equipment, material and scientific and technological information” concerning implementation of the treaty. Since 1999, Landmine Monitor has taken note of various projects by donors, mine-affected countries, international agencies, and commercial companies to research and development better methods to detect and destroy emplaced mines. A comprehensive overview has proven to be beyond the scope of the Monitor, but other actors, most notably the GICHD, have undertaken several studies into demining methodology and technology projects. Measuring the impact of these projects in the field remains a difficult task.

While basic manual demining techniques have essentially remained unchanged since World War II, progress has steadily been made over the past five years to enhance, expand and improve the “toolbox” of equipment available and thereby increase the efficiency and safety of deminers.

The ICBL has continued to challenge technology experts to develop affordable, locally adaptable, and culturally appropriate tools for use in mine action. The distance between research and development experts and end users remains wide, despite several efforts to bridge the divide. NGO practitioners and mine-affected countries continue to extend a standing invitation to researchers to visit the field and visualize the real needs and characteristics of humanitarian mine clearance environments.

On 17 July 2000, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the European Commission, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States establishing an International Test and Evaluation Program to promote the development of new technologies for humanitarian demining and share information among different actors. These governments together with Australia, South Africa and others have been at the forefront of the funding and promotion of research and development initiatives in mine action.

On the recipient end, CROMAC in Croatia has several projects involving research and development and has been engaged in the testing new methods of mine detection as has CMAC in Cambodia. Cambodia co-chaired the short-lived Standing Committee on Technologies for Mine Action in 1999-2000. Several mine action NGOs test and develop detection and clearance equipment that is affordable, appropriate, and sustainable. Mine action practitioners have long supported the development of new technologies as long as these efforts do not divert funds from their ongoing mine action efforts. This requires transparency concerning investments in R&D, coordination to avoid duplication of efforts and careful consideration of humanitarian end-user requirements.

Mine Risk Education

Mine risk education (MRE) has evolved considerably since 1999, both quantitatively and qualitatively. While programs of varying sizes were reported in 25 countries in 1999, mine risk education programs were recorded in 63 countries in 2003 and 2004, including significant MRE programs in 46 countries. Mine risk education programs in 1999 generally consisted of lecture-type presentations and dissemination of posters, but in 2004 an increasing number of MRE programs were closely linked with survey, marking and clearance, and worked within the framework of official school curricula. In addition, in some countries mine risk education developed from teaching people basic mine recognition skills and warning messages, in the expectation that they would learn to avoid mines, to implementing detailed qualitative surveys which uncover primary factors that contribute to landmine accidents and risk-taking, such as poverty, displacement and social exclusion. In 2003, Landmine Monitor recorded 8.4 million people who attended MRE sessions, a significant increase in comparison to the 4.8 million reported in 2002. Between 1999 and 2003, about 22.9 million people attended MRE sessions. Despite this progress, much still needs to be done to ensure that the needs and priorities of affected communities are prioritized. In June 2004, the ICBL and UNICEF stated, “Future thinking in MRE will require a more strategic approach in more countries, whereby MRE will need to be mainstreamed to ensure its sustainability. This will come through the inclusion of MRE in the school syllabus, into injury surveillance and public health planning, and by integrating MRE processes in community organisations and structures along with mine clearance.”[58]

In 2001, the term “mine risk education” replaced the previously used term “mine awareness.”[59] MRE “seeks to reduce the risk of injury from mines/UXO by raising awareness and promoting behavioral change; including public information dissemination, education and training, and community mine action liaison.”[60] The term MRE is now used by most operators, including the International Committee of the Red Cross.[61]

MRE Programs

The number of countries with mine risk education programs increased from 25 in 1999, to 43 in 2000, to 44 in 2001, with smaller scale MRE activities in another 14. In 2002, significant MRE programs were reported in 36 countries, with basic or limited MRE activities in 21 countries.

In 2003 and 2004, Landmine Monitor recorded some form of mine risk education in 63 countries. There were significant MRE programs in 46 countries, and more basic or limited MRE activities in another 17 countries. No mine risk education activities were recorded in 23 mine-affected countries.

The 46 countries with MRE programs in 2003 and 2004, included 30 States Parties (Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Croatia, DR Congo, Ecuador, Eritrea, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Jordan, FYR Macedonia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nicaragua, Perú, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe) and 16 non-States Parties (Azerbaijan, Burma/Myanmar, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Vietnam), as well as five other areas that Landmine Monitor monitors due to their mine-affected status (Abkhazia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Palestine).

New MRE Programs

In 2003 and 2004, new mine risk education programs and activities were recorded in 14 countries: Burma/Myanmar, Burundi, Chad, DR Congo, Georgia, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia. New small-scale MRE activities were also recorded in Armenia, Bangladesh, Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Somalia, and Ukraine.

Limited MRE Activities

Basic or limited mine risk education activities were recorded in 14 mine-affected countries in 2003 and 2004, including nine States Parties (Bangladesh, Belarus, Chile, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania, Moldova, Sierra Leone, and Tunisia) and five non-States Parties (Armenia, Israel, Poland, Somalia, and Ukraine), as well as in the Falklands/Malvinas and Somaliland. In addition, in three countries not considered as mine-affected by Landmine Monitor (Estonia, Kenya and Latvia), there are MRE activities aimed at reducing the risk from unexploded ordnance.

No MRE Activities

In 2003 and 2004, no mine risk education activities were recorded in 23 countries, including 13 States Parties--Algeria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti (which has now declared itself to be “mine-safe”), Greece, Niger, Philippines, Rwanda, Suriname, Swaziland, Turkey, and Venezuela--and 10 non-States Parties--China, Cuba, Egypt, North Korea, South Korea, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Oman, and Uzbekistan--as well as in Taiwan and Western Sahara. This does not suggest, however, that mine risk education is needed in all these countries.

In 2003 and 2004, mine risk education programs ended in Ethiopia, FYR Macedonia, and Namibia. Mine risk education has been severely hampered by security in Iraq, where some key MRE operators were forced to suspend their operations and pull out of the country.

MRE Needs

A pressing need for mine risk education, or increased MRE, was apparent from the number of civilian casualties in 14 countries: Burma/Myanmar, Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Georgia, India, Iran, Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, southern Sudan, Somalia, Turkey, Vietnam, as well as in Somaliland. A need for effective MRE coordination was reported in Colombia.

Other countries where calls for MRE, or increased MRE, were recorded include El Salvador, Liberia, Mauritania, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, as well as Western Sahara. The number of new casualties in these countries suggests, however, that the need for MRE is less acute than in countries mentioned previously.

Operators reported difficulties in obtaining funding for MRE activities in Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Integration of MRE with Other Mine Action Activities

Since 1999, the integration of mine risk education with survey, clearance, or marking activities has considerably increased. Most MRE programs reported in 1999 had only limited links with survey, marking, or clearance. In 2003 and 2004, indicators of a growing integration between MRE and survey, marking, or clearance were recorded in Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Uganda. Such integration generally resulted in a better response to the clearance requests put forward by mine-affected communities.

  • In Afghanistan, Afghan Red Crescent volunteers pass clearance requests from affected communities to demining agencies, while Handicap International (HI) developed its own explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) capacity in response to the high number of clearance requests received through its MRE program; at a national level though, the integration between MRE and clearance is limited.
  • In Angola, most MRE operators collect mine-affected communities’ requests for clearance or marking; they then provide these data to demining agencies, encouraging them to clear or mark the areas. Most requests are reported to receive a response.
  • In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Task Assessment and Planning pilot project was carried out by survey teams to provide the local data needed to prioritize mine action. The community mine action plans represent an integrated approach to mine action, combining clearance and survey with mine risk education and victim assistance.
  • In Cambodia, new approaches developed since 2002 aim to prevent mine and UXO incidents through a combination of limited clearance, long-term marking, UXO disposal, MRE, and community liaison.
  • In Croatia, Norwegian People's Aid developed a program that combines MRE with survey, impact assessment, clearance, and post-clearance community liaison.
  • In Eritrea, MRE teams can travel with demining units and provide post-clearance MRE in communities.
  • In Ethiopia, community liaison staff and deminers live in the same camp; in 2003, mine-affected communities reported 1,495 landmines or UXO to community liaison personnel; all devices were subsequently cleared.
  • In Iraq, the Mines Advisory Group conducted community liaison while Iraqi Red Crescent volunteers gathered information and relayed it to the Coalition forces/occupying powers that were urged to address the issue immediately.
  • In Lebanon, the Landmines Resource Center conducts community liaison, linking the demining companies and the communities targeted by the demining operations, enabling mine-affected communities to express their needs and to report dangerous areas for verification and clearance.
  • In Mozambique, HI reviewed its strategy and developed three EOD teams that respond to communities’ clearance requests channeled through the community liaison teams.
  • In Nicaragua, MRE activities are leading to the discovery of new unregistered minefields.
  • In Sri Lanka, MRE activities have been closely linked with resettlement of internally displaced persons and with mine clearance, with MRE operators acting as liaison between communities and the demining teams before, during, and after clearance operations.
  • In Somaliland, some demining groups have been conducting MRE as part of their overall mine action work.
  • In Sudan, three organizations have been conducting MRE along with clearance.
  • In Uganda, the government reports that MRE has been instrumental in providing the army with information about mines and UXO to be removed.

Other Forms of Integration

The training of large numbers of teachers and/or the integration of mine risk education in the school curriculum was recorded in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chechnya, Eritrea, Estonia, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Laos, Mozambique, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Vietnam, and to a lesser extent in Russia and Syria. In the DR Congo, DanChurchAid and Eglise du Christ au Congo began a combined HIV/AIDS awareness and mine risk education project.

Emergency MRE

Since 1999, new approaches were developed in order to provide mine risk education in emergency contexts such as Afghanistan, Chad/Sudan, Iraq, and Kosovo. Methods used included quick impact briefings, massive dissemination of field-tested leaflets, radio and TV spots and soap operas, as well as the training of large numbers of teachers and community leaders.

MRE Number sand Indicators of Success

The changing nature of mine risk education, from traditional lecture-type presentations to a broader set of activities that are more targeted toward highly mine-affected communities, leads some key MRE actors to believe that the number of people ”reached” or ”trained” no longer adequately reflects the impact of their work. In Croatia, for instance, the ICRC considers that traditional lecture-type presentations are of limited value, as people are generally aware of the risk. Other agencies, in Senegal for example, prefer to report the number of teachers or trainers that they trained, rather than the number of people that attended MRE sessions. In addition, the increased integration of MRE into clearance and marking activities leads some agencies to look for new indicators to measure the success of their programs. New indicators identified in various countries in this Landmine Monitor Report include results of Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices (KAP) Surveys, as well as numbers of clearance/marking requests received and responded to.[62]

In 2003, Landmine Monitor recorded 8.4 million people who attended mine risk education sessions, a significant increase compared to the 4.8 million reported in 2002. Between 1999 and 2003, about 22.9 million people attended MRE sessions. These numbers do not include the millions more that received MRE through radio and television as well as through short briefings, such as those scheduled in 2002 for refugees returning to Afghanistan. Significant increases between 2002 and 2003 were recorded in Angola, Cambodia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Mozambique, Namibia, and Sri Lanka, as well as in Abkhazia and Chechnya. In a number of programs, a reduction in numbers was related to a closer integration of MRE into clearance and marking, as well as to a stronger focus given to highly impacted communities.

Key Actors

Since 1999, the number of mine risk education programs implemented by national NGOs and Red Cross/Crescent societies has considerably grown. National NGOs and Red Cross/Crescent societies conducted MRE programs in 34 countries in this reporting period,[63] an increase from 28 countries in the previous reporting period,[64] and 20 countries in 1999 and 2000.

Internationally, the principal mine risk education operators are the International Committee of the Red Cross, Handicap International, the International Save the Children Alliance (Save the Children Sweden, UK, and US), Mines Advisory Group, DanChurchAid, and the HALO Trust.[65] In the United Nations system, UNICEF is the primary MRE actor and supports NGOs, mine action centers, and ministries of education.[66] The OAS supports a number of MRE programs in Central and South America.

MRE by the Military

A recent study by the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) on the role of the military in mine action states that military forces should ”refrain from involvement in broad-based MRE campaigns until they have acquired the ability to develop MRE communication strategies that minimize the use of one-way communication channels, such as lectures and printed media, and emphasize the active participation of the community in the program.”[67] The authors of the study add,”While the military may be able to provide warnings about the technical dangers of landmines and UXO, they are not suited to undertake community-based MRE, where social issues and helping to develop alternative coping mechanisms are important.”[68]

Mine risk education activities conducted or supported by the military were reported in 24 countries in 2003 and 2004, including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Ecuador, Estonia, Honduras, India, Jordan, Kenya, South Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Syria, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, Zambia, Zimbabwe, as well as in Falklands/Malvinas. However, most of these activities were basic or limited.

Evaluations and Assessments

In 2003 and 2004, external evaluations and KAP surveys[69] were recorded in Angola, Burundi, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Serbia and Montenegro, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uganda, and Vietnam. Between 1999 and 2002, external evaluations and KAP surveys were recorded in Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,[70] Kosovo, Senegal, Somaliland, Thailand,[71] and Yemen.[72]

  • In Afghanistan, an evaluation that took place in 2002 revealed that “MRE agencies are omitting to measure the impact of their work among their target groups in a systematic and regular manner.” In response, the Afghan NGO META developed a system to enable KAP surveys to take place every four months.
  • In Albania, a survey that was completed in August 2002 showed good MRE coverage but revealed that 70 percent of people had an economic need to enter mine-affected areas.
  • In Burundi, an external evaluation of a MRE program developed by UNICEF and the Ministry of Interior indicates that, if the number of returning refugees increases, it will be necessary to review and strengthen the process.
  • In Cambodia, MAG, HI, and NPA are conducting a study on the deliberate handling and usage of live ordnance.
  • In Ethiopia, an evaluation of RaDO’s program called for reporting to be more focused on qualitative results than on numbers.
  • In Lebanon, an external evaluation called for MRE to be more focused on schools through trained teachers.
  • In Serbia and Montenegro, following an evaluation that showed a high level of knowledge and awareness of the danger from mines and UXO, the ICRC concluded that its involvement could be handed over to local bodies, provided that clearance continued.
  • In Sri Lanka, an impact evaluation found that almost 99 percent of the targeted communities were aware of the mine threat, while areas that had not received MRE showed a higher rate of mine incidents and a lesser number of people aware of the risk.
  • In Sudan, two agencies conducted KAP surveys.
  • In Vietnam, an evaluation of RENEW’s MRE project calls for closer linkages with mobile ordnance removal.

MRE Standards and Guides

A first edition of the international mine risk education standards was released in December 2003.[73] UNICEF has been developing MRE standards since 2001. In September 2003, during the Fifth Meeting of States Parties, UNICEF and Cranfield University presented a second draft of the MRE standards to MRE operators gathered for a meeting of the international MRE Working Group. The standards were written by Cranfield University for UNICEF. During the meeting, MRE operators raised strong concerns, in particular about the accreditation process as defined in the standards.[74]

Since 1999, two agencies, HI and GICHD, have released a number of mine risk education guides and methodological documents.[75]

In August 1999, UNMAS launched its “Landmine Safety Project” (LSP) in partnership with CARE and Mine Tech (replaced in September 2002 by HI and UNOPS). The project aimed at providing mine risk education to aid workers. An internal review by UNMAS indicates that 230 people from 27 countries participated in 14 workshops, but “the reach of the workshops was limited.” The total budget amounted to $1.3 million.[76]

International Developments and State Reporting on MRE

ICBL’s Mine Risk Education Sub-Working Group was created in September 1999 to serve as a resource on MRE issues for the ICBL, with its co-chair, HI, acting as Landmine Monitor’s thematic research coordinator for MRE.[77] In addition, ICBL and UNICEF have co-convened twice a year since 2002 the international MRE Working Group (MREWG). The MREWG met on 19 September 2003 in Bangkok and on 23 June 2004 in Geneva.

In 2001, States Parties responded positively to an ICBL proposal, originally made in 1999, to move “mine awareness” from the Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration to the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance and Related Technologies. At the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in September 2002, States Parties agreed to change the name of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Awareness and Mine Action Technologies to the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies.

Since then, at Standing Committee meetings in February and May 2003, and February and June 2004, States Parties reported on mine risk education programs in accordance with the “4P approach” (problems, plans, progress and priorities). In June 2004, 21 mine-affected States Parties mentioned MRE in their reports at the Standing Committee meeting.[78]

As of 30 September 2004, 35 mine-affected States Parties had reported on mine risk education in their Article 7 Reports, under Form I (measures to provide warning to the population): Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Colombia, DR Congo, Croatia, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Ecuador, Eritrea, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Jordan, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Perú, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe. This represents a significant increase compared to 24 States in 2003.


[48] One known minefield remains in Djibouti, but it is under the jurisdiction and control of France.

[49] Afghanistan, Angola, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, DR Congo, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Estonia, FYR Macedonia, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Iraq, Lebanon, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Perú, Rwanda, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Tajikistan, Yemen, and Zambia, as well as the Caucasus region, Kosovo, Somaliland, and Western Sahara.

[50] NGO perspective on the Debris of War, “Cost-effectiveness in Humanitarian Mine Action,” Presentation to the Resource Mobilization Contact Group, Geneva, 10 February 2004.

[51] The total for square meters cleared excludes area reduction and battle area clearance where known. If not specified as antipersonnel or antivehicle, “landmines” are included in the antipersonnel mine total.

[52] Ruth Bottomley, Crossing the Divide, Landmines, Villagers and Organisations, (Oslo: International Peace Research Institute, 2003), p. 130.

[53] Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, France (Djibouti), FYR Macedonia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Perú, Senegal, United Kingdom (Falklands/Malvinas), Yemen and Zimbabwe.

[54] Statement by the Delegation of the United States, Organization of American States AG/RES.2003 (XXXIV-O/04), “Americas as an AP Landmine-Free Zone,” 8 June 2004.

[55] Countries listed here are countries where a national body has been created in order to be responsible for coordination of mine action activities. Countries where this responsibility lies within the Ministry of Defense, the Defense Forces or similar are not listed.

[56] The NGOs are DanChurchAid, Danish Demining Group, the HALO Trust, Handicap International, and Norwegian People’s Aid. Landmine Action UK has joined more recently and MAG is an observer. The presentation can be found at, accessed on 13 October 2004.

[57] For more information see the UNDP contribution in this Landmine Monitor Report.

[58] Statement by ICBL and UNICEF at the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies, Geneva, 22 June 2004.

[59] For a broader definition of mine risk education, see Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 34.

[60] UNMAS, “Guide for the management of mine risk education,” IMAS 07.11, First Edition, 23 December 2003, p. 2.

[61] The ICRC reported in June 2004 that it had just decided, after a two-week workshop, to change “mine awareness” to “mine risk education.” “Mine Risk Education Working Group Minutes,” 23 June 2004.

[62] See for instance, International Committee of the Red Cross, “ICRC Afghanistan Mine Action Program Annual Report (January-December 2003),” January 2004, p. 6.

[63] Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, FYR Macedonia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Perú, Serbia and Montenegro, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Uganda, Vietnam and Yemen, as well as Chechnya, Kosovo and Palestine.

[64] Landmine Monitor Report 2003, p. 33.

[65] Other international agencies active in mine risk education have included: Africare, Association for Aid and Relief-Japan, Associazione Volontari per il Servizio Internazionale, Australian Volunteers International, the BBC/Afghan Education Project, Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief, CAMEO, CARE, Caritas, Catholic Relief Services, Danish Demining Group, HAMAP Démineurs, HELP, HMD Response, HUMAID, INTERSOS, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Landmine Survivors Network, Médecins sans Frontières, MERLIN, Mines Awareness Trust, Non Violence International, Norwegian People’s Aid, Oxfam, Peace Trees Vietnam, Potsdam Kommunikation, Solidarity Service International, Santa Barbara Foundation, Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, World Education, World Learning, World Rehabilitation Fund, World Vision. Occasionally, international private companies also conducted MRE.

[66] Email to Landmine Monitor (HI) from Reuben McCarthy, MRE Officer, UNICEF New York, 1 October 2004.

[67] GICHD, The Role of the Military in Mine Action, Geneva, June 2003, p. 13.

[68] Ian Mansfield, “The Role of the Military in Mine Action,” Disarmament Forum: Disarmament, Development and Mine Action, UNIDIR, Issue Number 3, 2003, p. 39.

[69] The Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices method was first applied to MRE by HI. See Landmine Monitor 2003, p. 37.

[70] Landmine Monitor Report 2003, p. 218.

[71] Ibid, p. 465.

[72] Ibid., p. 497.

[73] See

[74] “MRE Working Group Meeting - 19 September 2003 Bangkok: Minutes of the meeting,” undated, p. 6.

[75] See Landmine Monitor Report 2002, p. 37.

[76] UNMAS, “Internal Review of the Landmine and Unexploded Ordnance Safety Project (LSP) (July-December 2003),” New York, May 2004.

[77] Recent statements and more information on the Sub-Group are available on, as well as in the ICBL section of this Landmine Monitor Report.

[78] Afghanistan, Thailand, Senegal, Eritrea, Mauritania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Rwanda, Tajikistan, Mozambique, Jordan, Uganda, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Sudan, Burundi, Malawi, Albania, Perú, Republic of Congo and Chad.