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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Releases > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs Fact Sheets > 2003
Fact Sheet
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs
Washington, DC
April 8, 2003

Humanitarian Mine Action Subgroup Minutes of March 13, 2003 Meeting

Summary: the Interagency Policy Coordination Committee (PCC) Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) Subgroup met on March 13, 2003. NSC chaired the meeting. Representatives from the Department of State (DOS), the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Agency for International Development (USAID) participated. The meeting consisted of informational briefings on a proposal for a NATO/Russia Council humanitarian demining initiative; Iraq planning; Democratic Republic of Congo’s request for HMA assistance; FY 2003 HMA planning overview for the U.S. Government (USG); the missions of the Humanitarian Demining Training Center; current research and development activities; DOS country programs; the activities of the DOS Office of Mine Action Initiatives and Partnerships (MAIP); the G-8 Africa Action plan for HMA; the institutionalization of HMA into development planning and updates of the USG funding profile; and the recently published Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) report. The group also discussed a potential role for NATO in demining.

Iraq: In cooperation with the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), DOS/PM/HDP is moving forward with the HMA plan for Iraq. The first phase, immediate response with mine risk education (MRE), is underway. In conjunction with DOD, mine boards are being produced. In addition, technical advisors have been hired to work with UNICEF and the award of a grant to Mines Advisory Group (MAG) to provide MRE teams is pending a supplemental appropriation. Preparations for the second phase of Quick Reaction Demining Force (QRDF) deployment are being made so that it will be operational 10 days after being called up by Humanitarian Operations Center (HOC), ORHA, or appropriate office. The third phase, enhanced NGO HMA capabilities for operations in central and south Iraq, and the fourth phase, indigenous HMA capacity-building, are in the planning stages. The total cost of this plan is $23.559 million from FY03-05 Funding. It is contingent on FY 03 supplemental funding being approved. Without supplemental funding, Phase Three will be eliminated and Phase Four will be reduced. Humanitarian urgency will set priority of all operations related to this plan.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): The DOS’ African Bureau (DOS/AF) has expressed cautious optimism that the conflict in the DRC is winding down. The DRC made an open appeal through the UN for aid, but has not yet made a formal request to the USG. DOS/AF suggests any HMA program wait for a transition government. The mine problem is localized and does not constitute an immediate humanitarian crisis. Concerns include DRC’s lack of an official central army and the lack of minefield maps and knowledge of who laid mines. On the other hand, there also is concern for the safety of humanitarian service providers that already have, and continue to arrive in country. DRC has apparently signed over partial authority to oversee HMA to the UN.

FY 2003 Overviews: Subgroup members presented their plans for the current fiscal year.

DOD: The FY 03 deployment calendar includes PAV support in March and April, completed and/or active missions to Azerbaijan, Mauritania, Cambodia, Nicaragua and Egypt, and currently funded and/or planned missions to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Chad, and Sri Lanka. Spending in FY 03 is estimated at $8 million. In addition to the training missions, DOD Overseas Humanitarian Disaster and Civic Aid (OHDACA) is funding development of mine boards for use in MRE (mine risk education) and a subject matter expert to support USCENTCOM in the Humanitarian Operations Center (HOC). DOD is also providing MRE, on a reimbursable basis, to USG agencies deploying personnel to mine-affected countries.

USAID-Leahy War Victims Fund (WVF): The Leahy WVF Fund, administered by USAID, provides rehabilitation and other related assistance to landmine survivors and other victims of war. It funds programs in over 14 countries, 12 of which are mine-affected. FY 03 spending is estimated at between $10 and 12 million. New programs are planned for Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and the DRC.

USAID-Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI): The Office of Transition Initiatives has in the past supported humanitarian demining ranging from public outreach and awareness to actual removal in certain mine-affected countries (Angola, Bosnia, and Kosovo). Currently, OTI does not have any planned activities related to humanitarian demining. However, since many OTI programs support independent media and public information it is possible that some support to public outreach in mine-affected countries will occur.

DOS/PM/HDP: The Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs was appropriated $56 million for FY 03; including $10 million for the Slovenian International Trust Fund (ITF). The Department has revised the Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related (NADR) Strategic Plan to effect a reduction over the next two years – in the number of countries funded by State and to concentrate resources on most severely impacted countries. Currently PM/HDP plans to “graduate” between 15-18 countries that likely will have their landmine problem well under control by the end of FY 04 and anticipates that no more than 6 additional countries will be added over the next 2-3 years.

The Humanitarian Demining Training Center (HDTC): HDTC serves as the training and information center for DOD’s Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) program. The center researches current worldwide tactics on landmine use and demining techniques employed by both military and civilian organizations. This data is incorporated into instruction to provide innovative and realistic training tailored to meet DOD requirements in accordance with internationally recognized standards. HDTC is funded through DOD with the Overseas Humanitarian Disaster and Civic Aid appropriation and the core mission is to train U.S. military Special Operations Forces to conduct Train-the-Trainer HMA programs in mine affected countries.

Office of the Secretary of Defense/ Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (OSD/SO/LIC) Research and Development: Currently, the Humanitarian Demining Technology Program provides field testing of demining technology in Croatia, Thailand, Cambodia, Angola, and Mozambique. During CY 2003, new field starts are planned for Honduras, Rwanda, Angola, and Azerbaijan.

Program Management Reviews: DOS/PM/HDP reported feedback from most recent program managers’ assessment visits. Sudan, Namibia, Rwanda, Thailand, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka programs are all on track. In Zambia, the Zambia Mine Action Center (ZMAC) continues to experience difficulties becoming operational. Post assisted in developing a strategy for a June 15 cutoff date, absent any appreciable progress. In Laos, funding shortages compounded by management problems contributed to a decrease in operational capacity. However, the foundation of the program remains. Talks continue for moving the QRDF to Thailand, but no agreement has been reached. Three PAVs are planned for the spring, the Georgia, Tajikistan, and Colombia.

DOS’ Office of Mine Action Initiatives and Partnerships (MAIP): MAIP continues to find a willingness to participate in HMA among private sector colleagues. Currently, the Office facilitates 30 partnerships and is looking to add 6 more. The office plans to continue to explore partnerships with civic organizations (i.e. Rotary International) that provide an opportunity for a long-term relationship rather than one-time events. MAIP has found that partners are often interested in demining technology and would like its staff to be briefed by R&D personnel. The office plans to spend $440,000 in FY 03 to produce educational materials, host conferences and meetings, and support its NGO partners. MAIP is currently assessing the effectiveness of its programs and its success in raising awareness and mobilizing resources.

G-8 Africa-Action Plan for Mine Action: This initiative stems from the 2002 G-8 Africa Action Plan. The U.S. and Canada drafted a paper outlining each member states’ plans for HMA in Africa, how each donor operates, and calling for increased funding support for mine action in Africa. The paper will be presented at the G-8 meeting in Evian, France in June.

Mainstreaming Mine Action: There is a recent push in the international community, led by Canada and Norway, to institutionalize demining in the development planning process. The need for emergency HMA for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in other than immediate post-conflict situations has decreased. The focus should turn to eliminating the landmine impact on economic and infrastructure recovery in developing countries.

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