|The Fight Against Antipersonnel Mines (European Community, 1997, 108 p.)|
|Chapter VI: Development and co-ordination of a local capacity|
CONSIDERATION FOR THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE COUNTRY
The basic principle is that the country concerned remains the only party responsible for the fight against mines conducted on its territory. The role of die UN, of die International Institutions or die various interveners is to not only participate in the dimming operations but also to contribute to die establishment of a national mine action program. When the mine-clearance organization is appointed by die UNO, the program manager takes care of the co-ordination die whole of die operations, either directly or through die regional structures under his supervision. The doctrine of die UN today is well defined. The Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) is in charge of die co-ordination of all mine-clearing operations. This department works in co-operation with technical experts of the Department of peace keeping operations. From the very beginning of the mine-clearing operations, no matter who the project manager is, it should be kept in mind that die program will be transferred to a national organization as soon as possible, so as to take care of operational surveillance, alert, training and mine-clearing tasks, but also all the tasks related to logistic support, administration and medical security. Each member of the personnel should contribute to die training of die local agent who will replace him some day. This could be problematic in regions where there is no training in administration, management and accounting. This problem should be discussed upstream. Considering all hypothesis, die schedule of operations and deadlines should be established and the progressive departure of expatriates should be organized, taking into account die local personnel who will relieve diem.
Reinforcing or establishing a local and durable capacity influences die mode of intervention.
• operational autonomy on the shorter or longer term (this duration should be decided upon when arranging the program);
• acquisition by die personnel of experience broad enough to help respond to all forthcoming situations;
• ability to adapt to all conditions of work;
• the quality of education guarantees maximum security. Without the guarantee that this discipline is understood and accepted by everyone, training will not be considered completed;
• die duration of training should be adapted to the level of competence of die personnel recruited: in Mozambique, training at the ADP centre (Accelerated Demining Program) goes on for 17 days during which theory is taught, alternating with practical experience, until a «real world» training period right in the field. In Cambodia, training at the CMAC (Cambodian Mine Action Centre) goes on for one month before the trainees get integrated within a team of deminers;
• understanding on the part of everybody of his position, role and duties within die mine clearance structure, no matter what his job is. For this purpose, each position should be clearly defined, and a «job description should be established for each operator and well understood by all.
THE CONDITIONS FOR AUTONOMY
The time necessary to eradicate mines from most affected countries is a matter of years if not of decades, and it is unlikely the international community will be able to take on all die financial and operational responsibility for such a long period of time. The countries concerned might end up having to take on die mine action programs established as well as all the other aspects of restoration and social and economical development of the country.
The national capacity should be set up so that die process of transfer of responsibility could be progressive and efficacious.
NATIONAL STRUCTURE FOR TRAINING AND CO-ORDINATION
This is an essential co-ordination cell used to avoid duplication of initiatives and to manage mine clearing operations throughout the country. The standardization of die procedures depends on this structure, and so do die centralization of some tasks and die simplification of everybody's work. Particularly with regard to centralized purchases, administration of common stores and operating of a mine-clearance school. This structure should also help guarantee that all deminers work according to die same standards and gather information that will be used by the sponsors, the media and the population. Finally, the structure should permit a rationalization of international financial aids, and keep some more remote regions from being left aside (all financial supports will be grouped within a «trust fund» and distributed fairly across the country). This structure will only be efficient if it is economically viable, which is indisputably the toughest objective to achieve. For this purpose, the government should include these programs among the various tasks they are in charge of. To date, mine clearing operations have been initiated and conducted under mandate from the UN. These interventions were designed as temporary and the organizations taking them on also had temporary responsibility.
How to make sure that financing from the various sponsors, called upon by all, and local budgets, so restricted, if not in deficit, could be properly utilized to sustain such a capacity? There is still no clear-cut answer to this question, although it is strongly suspected centralized organizations may tend to leave aside the most underprivileged populations living in remote regions.
ATTAINMENT OF AUTONOMY
The process usually consists of three phases.
• The first phase goes on for two years, and its objective is to- set up the National plan for the fight against mines;
- assess the extent of the problem;
- build up a data bank;
- arrange a rehabilitation program including mine clearance;
- set the priorities for the first stage of mine action;
- establish the specialized mine clearance organism;
- undertake the deminers' training;
- start making the population aware of the danger of mines.
This first phase will then permit to set up the Mine Awareness Education, the Nation-Wide Mine Survey and to provide the country with a real National Mine Action Capacity.
• The second phase is the consolidation
phase that may go on for between 5 and 8 years. Like the former one, this phase
is financed on an international basis.
- prepare for the transfer of expertise so that the locals may be autonomous at the end of this phase;
- adapt the organization in place to the local context, especially with regards to the «santVASAN» program, including air evacuation;
- prepare for the transfer of responsibilities of the action program to the national authorities, regarding both training of the personnel and administration of national deminers, of contract management, of logistic support and communication strategies;
- update the minefield inventory so as to acquire a better knowledge and to prepare new rehabilitation programs;
- adapt and develop proximity mine clearance.
The second phase will correspond to the organization of the Angolan National Mine Action Institute which will be the last step of a whole process initiated in October 94 by the Angolan Department of Defense.
• The third phase is the autonomy phase
for the country that will take over the mine clearance program. This is the
application in the real world of everything that was done before. This phase is
financed by the country itself, and its success depends upon the political
goodwill of the country leaders and the restoration of the country.
It will only come to an end upon removal of the last mine...
A DECENTRALIZED INTEGRATION
Integrating the various components necessary for the organization of a local mine action capacity requires that the program is as cheap as possible, that its scope covers as much of the most affected territory as possible, and that it becomes operational soon. Most of the extensively mined countries are characterised by great migrations of populations and high demographic increase rates. While the first demining operations are usually conducted in the areas with the highest demographic density, those with the most resources and the most fertile soils, the most underprivileged populations will eventually have to rely on the exploitation of poor and remote regions for their survival.
Besides, mine clearance cannot be viewed as a mere emergency and military support program, as it will condition the whole development of the country in the future, especially because it is subject to very costly commercial contracts. On the other hand, it is critical to establish local capacities in response to these situations of uncertainty, which do not raise much interest among the political and national decision makers, so as to eradicate the dangers that put the heaviest burden on the rural populations. These capacities should be established for the long run, in co-operation with local authorities and taking into account the existing initiatives and the motivations of the decentralized administrations and powers.
In short, the experience acquired in the past thirty or forty years spent assisting with development and mine action, the demonstrated advantages of decentralization and community approach all underline the importance of local mine action, which is just as essential as the action resulting from national co-ordination.