Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
April 5, 2002
The U.S. Humanitarian Demining Program and NADR Funding
The U.S. Humanitarian Demining Program: A Commitment to Make the World Mine-Safe
The U.S. Government's Humanitarian Demining Program seeks to relieve human suffering while promoting U.S. interests. The Program's objectives are to reduce civilian casualties, create conditions for the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes, reinforce an affected country's political and economic stability, and encourage international cooperation and participation. Since Fiscal Year (FY) 1993, the United States has committed almost $600 million to mine action initiatives, including research and development.
Obtaining U.S. Demining Assistance
A mine-affected country generally requests U.S. assistance via the U.S. Embassy. Upon endorsement by the Embassy, the request is then forwarded to a U.S. Government interagency Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC) Executive Steering Group on humanitarian mine action, chaired by the Department of State (DOS) with the Department of Defense (DoD) as vice-chair. The overall PCC, which is chaired by the National Security Council, is responsible for approving and coordinating U.S. humanitarian demining programs.
Upon receiving the request, the Executive Steering Group determines whether to conduct a Policy Assessment Visit to the affected country to evaluate the nature of the mine problem, the requesting nation's resources and its commitment to solving the problem, and the suitability of U.S. assistance. Based on this assessment, the PCC may approve the establishment of a formal program for the country.
A typical U.S. program may involve assisting in the establishment of a mine action center (MAC), a mine awareness program, demining training, the provision of equipment and other material essential to conduct mine clearance or mine awareness operations or programs, and survivor assistance. As a country develops its mine clearance capabilities, the PCC Subgroup will periodically evaluate the development of the program. When the program reaches Sustainment, the United States passes off its active role to the host nation.
U.S. Funding and Participation
While other U.S. Government agencies may support specific mine action initiatives, funding support for humanitarian mine action comes primarily from DOS, DoD, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Mine clearance operations, surveys, mine awareness efforts, survivor assistance, training, and equipment are supported through programs sponsored by these entities.
Within DOS, the Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs (PM/HDP) manages two separate accounts to support mine action. Under the Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Projects (NADR) appropriation, DOS funds both commercial and nongovernmental organizations' initiatives supporting a host country's program and its progress towards Sustainment. Overall Sustainment is achieved when the host nation is successfully managing and conducting humanitarian demining operations, and can sustain those operations by directly soliciting donors for support, if national resources are insufficient. DOS also provides direct non-cash support to military demining organizations within a mine-affected country, to include the provision of equipment, technical assistance, training, and other services. NADR funds also are used to support programs conducted by international organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States. NADR is not limited to funding commercial, NGO, or international organization operations. NADR funds can be channeled to a U.S. embassy or to an operational element of DoD to support the acquisition of services and equipment. FY02 NADR funds total $40 million; an additional $3 million was received for Afghanistan. Overall, U.S. mine action support from NADR has totaled over $180 million since 1997 (see attached chart).
PM/HDP also manages U.S. funding support to the Slovenian International Trust Fund (ITF) for Demining and Victims' Assistance to assist mine-affected countries in the Balkan region. The U.S. Congress has appropriated $14 million in FY 02 funds to match contributions for mine action conducted through the ITF. Since the U.S. provided its first matching contribution to the Fund in December 1998, the Fund has been a success both operationally and financially, providing $51,063,816 in U.S.-sponsored mine action support to the Balkans.
DoD funds humanitarian mine action from its Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA) account. FY02 OHDACA funds total $18 million. OHDACA finances training conducted by U.S. Special Operations Forces as well as limited amounts of equipment to support that training. Equipment may be left behind for use by the mine-affected nation. OHDACA also supports mine awareness education initiatives, again normally conducted by U.S. Special Operations Forces personnel. Through separate funding (approximately $14 million in FY02), DoD also supports research and development of promising mine detection and removal technologies.
The third primary source of U.S. mine action funding is the Patrick J. Leahy War Victims Fund administered by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Through the fund, USAID contributes to improving the mobility, health, and social integration of the war disabled, including landmine survivors. USAID mine action funding totals $10 million for FY02.
Since 1993, the United States has established humanitarian demining programs in 44 countries, with additional countries likely to benefit in the future. The United States, other international donors, and mine-affected countries can take pride in the following success stories, each of which is commended for the reduction in landmine casualties, the reach of mine awareness programs, the number of landmines found and destroyed, the amount of land cleared, or the number of survivors provided with assistance.
The Mine Action Program for Afghanistan is one of the most effective demining programs worldwide. Mine awareness briefings have reached over seven million people; the landmine casualty rate has been reduced by 50 percent; Afghan deminers have cleared 244 sq. km of high priority, mine-infested land and destroyed 210,000 landmines and 985,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance (UXO); and, 1.5 million refugees have been able to return to their homes.
The humanitarian demining program in Cambodia includes a fully trained staff of 2,400 Cambodians, in addition to 35 foreign technical advisors and six UN staff members. Deminers from various organizations have cleared 145,606,798 sq. m of land in Cambodia, destroyed 131,176 landmines and 603,774 pieces of UXO, and reduced landmine casualties by almost 70 percent. In 2001 the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) cleared 17,802 sq. m of land, a 77 percent increase in productivity. Meanwhile, casualties have been lowered from a reported 2,799 in 1996 to 809 in 2001, representing a reduction of more than 70 percent.
Since 1997, a national mine awareness program, demining operations, and the use of more effective protective equipment have lowered civilian and military casualties significantly. At present, Jordan is conducting a Level Two Survey of minefields along the Syrian border. As of February 2000, Jordan's Royal Corps of Engineers had cleared 83,823 landmines from about 200 minefields, restoring more than 3,000 acres of land to safe use.
U.S. Special Operations Forces soldiers have trained more than 1,000 Lao, creating an indigenous training capability. UXO Lao personnel have destroyed an estimated 372,000 pieces of UXO and cleared over 2,800 hectares of land. More than 300 Lao medical staff members have received training in emergency rehabilitation or laboratory services. According to UXO Lao, from 2000 to 2001 casualties were reduced from 102 to 39, respectively.
Since 1992, mine clearance operations have removed more than 15,000 landmines, 13,000 UXO, and opened more than 4,500 km of roads, facilitating post-war resettlement of agricultural land and reconnecting nearly one million people to their local economies. Operations have also played a vital role in Mozambique's overall development strategy. For example, the Massingir Dam project will supply electricity and irrigation to approximately 9,000 hectares of land. The U.S. demining contractor, RONCO, is now clearing the Sena rail line, Mozambique's top national demining priority. The restored rail line will open large areas of the Zambezi River Valley for development by facilitating the export of agricultural and mineral products to the country's second largest city and port of Beira.
Namibia possesses a modern demining capability and a dedicated unit of over 1,000 deminers. These deminers have cleared more than one million sq. m of land, restoring it to productive use, and destroyed more than 5,000 mines and 1,300 UXO. Namibia is progressing towards mine-safe status with the clearance of ten known minefields and 410 electric power pylons.
To date, over 31,000 landmines have been found and destroyed by Nicaraguan demining units, including a program high of over 5,000 in 2001. The Nicaraguan Army reported that of the 135,000 mines originally emplaced within the country's borders, over 72,000 had been found and destroyed as of January 2002. In total, over 1,856,540.5 sq. m of land has been cleared.
The Rwandan program is now in the Sustainment phase. More than 200 U.S.-trained deminers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel have cleared over seven million sq. m of land, including 6,000 km of bush roads, destroying almost 24,000 mines and UXO. Landmines and UXO fatalities have dropped from 108 in 1994 to three in 2000. Some 400,000 refugees and 200,000 internally displaced persons have returned to their villages.
Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining, and Related Programs (NADR) Funds for Humanitarian Demining Programs