02 Jun
Regional Workshop on EORE
Sihanoukville, Cambodia:
On 30 May-2 June 2023, the ASEAN Mine Action Center (ARMAC) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) is co-organising a regional workshop on explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) to enhance awareness of EORE good practices, facilitate peer-to-peer exchanges and address challenges faced by EORE practitioners in ASEAN Member States. The workshop is funded by the Government of Norway and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. The objective of this four-day workshop is to facilitate dialogue and cooperation between EORE practitioners within the framework of the ASEAN, as well as to provide a space for informal networking and cooperation between EORE practitioners in the region. The workshop also aims to co-design and share concrete programmatic responses to key challenges and needs identified and share global, regional and national EORE good practice i.e. tools, approaches, and partnerships.
Mrs. Lauti Nia Astri, Charge d’ Affairs of the Embassy of Republic of Indonesia to Cambodia, in capacity of the Chair of the Steering Committee of ARMAC presided over the opening of the Workshop.
In her opening address, Mrs. Lauti highlighted that, “As the Chair of ASEAN, Indonesia would like to see a resilient ASEAN and become a barometer for cooperation that would contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and world. With this spirit, Indonesia takes up a theme of ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth. Indonesia puts its priority deliverables under 3 pillars: (i) ASEAN matters, (ii) Epicentrum of Growth, and (iii) implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP). Under these 3 pillars, Indonesia is determined to make ASEAN important and relevant for the people of ASEAN and beyond, including to actively carry out peace and humanitarian diplomacy. Along with ASEAN Political-Security Blueprint 2025 and ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on the Establishment of an ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center, Indonesia sees the need to support ARMAC. Furthermore, I would like to underline that Indonesia has a high commitment to demining in global level. In this regard, Indonesia has ratified the Ottawa Convention in 2006 and actively carried out demining process under UN peacekeeping operations in Lebanon and Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Over 25 participants/EORE practitioners attended the workshop representing their respective national mine action authorities in the ASEAN Region.
09 May
Regional IMSMA Core Workshop
9-10 May 2023, Hanoi: The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) have taken the initiative to organize a regional IMSMA Core workshop in Hanoi, Viet Nam, on 9-10 May 2023 with the funding support from Office for Humanitarian Assistance of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. This workshop is a remarkable opportunity for government officials, regional mine action authorities, and other stakeholders to exchange experiences and engage in discussions on Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) Core in the region. The workshop contributes significantly to enhancing regional cooperation and coordination in mine action, with the objectives to exchange experiences from Southeast Asia regarding IMSMA Core implementation in different programmes and to identify requirements, system design and customization, testing, and as well as to integrate into the current operational environment.
The workshop also presents an opportunity for National Mine Action Authorities (NMAA) to present their Information Management system challenges and opportunities and provides participants with a general understanding of the IMSMA Core system and how to request its services, to gain knowledge about the setup, timeline, and national capacity required for the IMSMA Core implementation process. Overall, the workshop aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the IMSMA Core system, its implementation process, and the challenges and opportunities it presents for NMAAs in the ASEAN Region, in particular the landmine/ERW affected AMS.
On behalf of the Steering Committee and the Chair of ARMAC, Mr. Prum Suonpraseth, Executive Director of ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center, thanked the Donor for making this regional workshop possible, and thanked the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and Viet Nam National Mine Action Center (VNMAC) for hosting the regional workshop. ARMAC ED also highlighted that the partnership between GICHD and ARMAC has grown from strength to strength following the formalization of the partnership in 2021 between the two entities.
ARMAC ED stated that the establishment of ARMAC aims to actively contributing in efforts to implement not only the ASEAN political-Security Community Blueprint 2025 but also promoting cooperation on socio-economic development issues by developing partnerships, facilitating knowledge sharing, and supporting cooperation and initiative in the regions, bringing together practitioners and subject matter experts from both inside ASEAN and around the world to make contribution to support affected countries in addressing the effect of landmine/ERW thru capacity development as we made strong effort to realize our ambitious targets of achieving a mine-free world by 2025. He further elaborated that the regional workshop on IMSMA Core represents the culmination of a rich and substantial intellectual exercise aims at helping institutional capacities and enhanced capabilities, contributing to our efforts in shaping our region and the world at peace.
13 Feb
Mine Action Managers Course For Southeast ASIA
Ratchaburi, Thailand – 13 February 2023:
The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) in partnership with Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) organized a 10-day training course for Mine Action Operational Managers. The course aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of Mine Action staff with objectives to 1) confirm understanding of the governance and liability concepts applied to MA operations including IMAS, its relationship with NMAS and organizational SOPs; 2) apply effective and efficient operational planning and implementation of MA survey and clearance operations; 3) Develop leadership and management good practices through the provision of individual tool sets and the enhancement of personal leadership styles; and 4) improve the ability of personnel to communicate with and influence staff at the operational level. 26, of whom 7 are women, Mine Action Managers from 12 organizations in the ASEAN region were selected to attend the course.
The course is delivered in a classroom setting, with a number of interactive group exercises, practical elements, inclusive and interactive as well as enabling peer-led knowledge-sharing and reflective learning, through Q&A and simulation exercises.
Presiding over the opening ceremony of the course was H.E. Mr. Rachmat Budiman, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to the Kingdom of Thailand, representing the Chair of the Steering Committee of ARMAC and joined by ARMAC Executive Director Mr. Prum Suonpraseth, Director General of Thailand Mine Action Center (TMAC) Gen. Suphathat Narindrabhakdi and GICHD Team represented by its Division Head, Mr. Amen Harutyunyan.
16 Jun
Regional Workshop On Residual Risk Management Frameworks For Southeast Asia

From June 14th to 16th, as part of its ongoing collaboration, the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) along with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) hosted a conference on residual risk management. The goal of the 3-day workshop was to provide a regional platform to management of residual contamination. The conference was a great opportunity for knowledge exchange and a step towards establishing a standard for risk management among ASEAN states.

16 Dec
Online workshop on Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE)

15-16 December 2021:

The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) Programme staff attended the online workshop on Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) hosted by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) and ran by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) on 15 and 16 December 2021.

The workshop provided essential knowledge and tools on social and behavioral change, results framework or theory of change, standardizing beneficiary definitions, gender, diversity and inclusion, and digital EORE.

ARMAC’s participation to the Workshop allowed staff to understand better how these approaches work in the Cambodian context, and how local organizations could take these approaches forward.

19 May
Explosive Ordnance Risk Education in ASEAN in a Time of Pandemic

The new Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has emerged and compounded the huge challenges of Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) all over the world including the ASEAN Region. In this regard, the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) responded by hosting its first Regional Webinar “Explosive Ordnance Risk Education in ASEAN in a Time of Pandemic” today (19 May 2020).

The Regional Webinar gathered more than fifty representatives from explosive ordnance affected ASEAN Member States (AMS), mine action related organisations, academics and individuals from all over the world. Overall, it aimed to identify all potential available means and capabilities to ensure the continuity of EORE operations within affected AMS. Despite the complex challenges, EORE should continue to be provided to the affected communities using alternative safer approaches, where possible, which reduce the risk of spreading the pandemic.

The Webinar was welcomed and introduced by Mr. Ly Panharith, Executive Director of ARMAC. He expressed his appreciation to the participants for their interest to join the webinar, and highlighted the importance of various EORE adaptations that should be considered and the possible new normal in EORE and overall mine action sectors in the aftermath of the pandemic. He also underscored the necessity of exchange of information, experience and good practices since the pandemic brought about an unprecedented challenge to EORE.

At the Webinar, moderated by Mr. Hal Judge, ARMAC EORE Expert, organisations and institutions in the ASEAN Region shared how COVID-19 has affected their mine actions, particularly EORE activities, and their EORE adaptations in response of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Co-Chairs of international EORE Advisory Group, Mr. Sebastian Kasack (Senior Technical Advisor of Mines Advisory Group) and Mr. Hugues Laurenge (Child Protection Specialist of UNICEF), gave presentations on how EORE and COVID-19 delivery methods are being coordinated and integrated in inventive ways.

From a related perspective, Dr. Joanne Durham, Senior Lecturer of Queensland University of Technology, presented an overview of the relation of public health and mine action, as well as the impact of health crisis to mine action including EORE.

In the webinar, national mine (and unexploded ordnance – UXO) action authorities/centres, international organisations and non-governmental organisations shared their experience and strategy in adapting their operations to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. This sharing may help streamline mine action operations in ASEAN region

07 Feb
2020 Regional Consultative Meeting – Cambodia
“Good Practices and Integrated Approaches to Mine/ERW Risk Education for Affected Communities in ASEAN Member States”

6 February 2020, Siem Reap, Cambodia – Clearance of deadly landmines and other remnants of wars is extremely important for people who live in contaminated regions of the ASEAN Member States (AMS). The harsh reality is that it will take considerable time and work to de-fuse all the residual explosive devices. Meanwhile, alongside the painstaking clearance process, it is vital to protect and educate people, especially curious children, of the dangers of going into hazardous areas or triggering deadly old weapons.

To tackle these important issues, the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) took the initiative to convene a major consultative meeting on 6 February 2020 on the issue of “Good Practices and Integrated Approaches to Mine/Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Risk Education for Affected Communities in AMS.”

The Regional Consultative Meeting was the culmination of a ground-breaking one-year research and consultation project by ARMAC, with the generous financial support of the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), to analyse and document the AMS’ diversity of mine/ERW risk education (MRE) approaches in educating their populations on the dangers of landmines and ERW, as well as the efforts made to avoid these risks.

Gathering representatives from the ASEAN countries, the Regional Consultative Meeting was an ideal opportunity to formally present ARMAC’s Study highlighting the good practices, innovations and successes the AMS have achieved in integrating MRE into all mine action efforts as well as wider sectors such as development, education, sports, legislation, technology, media and others.

The mine/ERW affected AMS—namely Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam—have been centrally involved in the development of ARMAC’s Study entitled “Integrated Approaches to Mine/ERW Risk Education”. The meeting was also an opportunity to gather perspectives from all AMS and expert mine action organisations (including UNICEF, the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, Mines Advisory Group, the HALO Trust, Swiss Foundation for Mine Action, Humanity and Inclusion, and Norwegian Peoples Aid). Looking forward, the meeting laid solid plans to further build cooperation within ASEAN and with international agencies to progress and enhance the MRE agenda.

During the opening, H.E. Mr. Vu Quang Minh, the Chair of ARMAC’s Steering Committee and Ambassador of Viet Nam to Cambodia, expressed his thanks to the Government of Japan for their continuing support of the project, and to the representatives from the AMS who provided their expertise and time. He further noted that at the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat held in early January 2020 in Nha Trang, Viet Nam, the Foreign Ministers expressed support for ARMAC with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, H.E. Mr. Prak Sokhonn highlighting that he “is very encouraged by the positive progress in terms of institutional strengthening of ARMAC.” Concluding the opening H.E. Mr. Vu Quang Minh, urged the participants to continue their good efforts in working to enhance the ASEAN capacity to effectively address the problems of landmines and ERW” and looked forward to a future of peace and prosperity.

Representing the Government of Japan and the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund, Mr. Mitori Naoki, Councilor, Consular Office of Japan in Siem Reap, noted Japan’s strong commitment to ASEAN mine action and highlighted that Japan has consistently partnered with the AMS in the mine/ERW sector through financial contributions, provision of equipment and the dispatching of experts. He further offered is commendations to “all ASEAN Member States’ efforts to promote peace building and to enhance cooperation to share best practices in the region.”

Speaking at the meeting, ARMAC Executive Director, Mr. Ly Panharith, commented that “through the publication of the Study, ARMAC hopes to encourage further efforts in connecting MRE to relevant sectors, including integrating MRE into school curriculums, mobilising volunteer networks, harnessing new technology such as smart phone aps, and other creative approaches to behaviour change.”

Consistent with the agenda of the Regional Meeting, the new ARMAC Magazine featuring stories of integrated mine/ERW risk education from across ASEAN and international developments, was launched. The magazine is now available for download from ARMAC’s website and can be found here

Concluding the Regional Consultative Meeting, H.E. Mr. Prum Sophakmongkol, Secretary-General of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, added that this meeting will greatly assist ARMAC’s efforts to develop an integrated approach to MRE, including implementing recommendations from the ARMAC MRE Study where relevant and feasible.

06 Dec
Regional Training on Risk Management in Mine Action
For the second time this year the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) in collaboration with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining – GICHD, organised a Regional Training for #ASEAN mine action stakeholders.
Funded by the Government of Ireland and International Committee of the Red Cross, and in partnership with the Thailand Mine Action Centre, the training brought together participants from the five mine and explosive remnants of war affected ASEAN Member States to explore and learn about the different aspects of practical risk management in relation to mine action.
Speaking at the opening ceremony H.E. General Paripat Phalasin, Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff from the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, remarked that the training will help to strengthen capacity in the region and build closer ties within the mine action ASEAN community.
Over the next five days, participants will be engaged in participatory exercises and lectures as they improve their current risk management approaches by not only increasing their awareness of the risks involved in field operations, but also by learning how to actively manage those risks through simple yet effective tools.
Looking towards the future ARMAC hopes to organise other trainings on a diversity of topics and will continue to strive towards supporting an effective and efficient mine action sector.
29 Nov
The Fourth Review Conference of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention

The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) recently hosted a side event on “Integrated Approaches to Mine Risk Education (MRE) for Affected Communities in ASEAN Member States” during the Fourth Review Conference of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, held on 25-29 November 2019 in Oslo, Norway. The conference was attended by more than 600 mine action stakeholders from across the globe, and ARMAC took the opportunity to host a side event as part of a one-year project supported by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) to develop comprehensive and integrated approaches to MRE.

During the Review Conference, Ms. Asako Omi, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, extended commitment of Government of Japan to support mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) affected communities and announced that, “the Government of Japan has allocate[ed] more than USD 800 million since 1998 to support mine action, including mine clearance, MRE, victim assistance and socio-economic integration activities. MRE remains one of our priorities of support, and the Government of Japan calls for an acceleration of efforts including through enhancing innovation and effectiveness.”

ARMAC’s side event gathered more than fifty MRE stakeholders from a diversity of countries and expert agencies to participate in a briefing of the preliminary results from ARMAC’s study on Integrated Approaches to MRE in ASEAN Member States through research and national consultative meetings in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam.

Representing ARMAC, Mr. Hal Judge, ARMAC MRE expert, presented the preliminary results of ARMAC’s research and consultation, including: the scope and complexity of MRE/ERW impacts, the results from consultations with over 150 stakeholders in the five countries, risk analysis, and the many advantages of integrating MRE through reinforcing activities and programs in the ASEAN region.

Other panelists reiterated the importance of sharing MRE best practices with, Mr. Mohammad Shafiq Yosufi, Director of the Directorate of Mine Action Coordination, Afghanistan National Disaster Management Agency, emphasizing the need for both qualitative and quantitative evaluations of MRE and the exchange of research results. Further, both Mr. Yosufi and Ms. Martha Isabel Hurtado Granada, Coordinator, Grupo de Acción Integral contra Minas Antipersonal, Colombia, also conveyed that MRE should be targeted to the most vulnerable communities, and may be adapted to specific groups at-risk.

Presenting a global perspective Mr. Matthieu Laruelle, Explosive Ordnance Risk Education Advisor, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), commended ARMAC for its preliminary research, and highlighted the shift in terminology of ‘Mine Risk Education’ to ‘Explosive Ordnance Risk Education’ to better describe the scope of devices the mine action community is addressing. His colleague from GICHD, Mr. Rory Logan, in his capacity as Secretary of the IMAS Review Board, also updated the participants on the current review of the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS 12.10).

Concluding the side event, Mr. Ly Panharith, Executive Director of ARMAC and Chair of the side event, expressed his dismay concerning the new trend of increased causalities from explosive ordnance (particularly in the Middle East) since 2016, but noted that “risk education is gaining momentum globally and is likely to feature prominently in the Oslo Action Plan going forward. For ARMAC, risk education will remain a high priority in our work and we will build ARMAC’s regional and international knowledge base and connections.”

07 Aug
National Consultative Meetings on ASEAN Mine Risk Education

On 6 August 2019, H.E. Mr. Prum Sophakmonkol, Secretary General of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), remarked that the meeting “presents a good opportunity for Cambodia to further strengthen its national Mine Risk Education programme and to document its best practices so that other ASEAN Member States can learn from Cambodia’s experience.”

Supported by the Government of Japan, through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), the meeting in Hanoi is the final national consultative meeting in a one-year project aimed at developing a comprehensive and integrated approach to Mine Risk Education (MRE) that will build on the best practices of ASEAN Member States (AMS) in educating their populations on the dangers of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). As an initiative of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC), the meetings were aimed at fostering discussion on the AMS’ current approach to MRE, and to bring those affected by mines and ERW together to share their knowledge and experiences in order to build an integrated approach to MRE that can be used throughout the region.

On 13 August 2019, the meeting in Myanmar was opened by Mr. U Win Naing Tun, Director General of the Department of Rehabilitation, Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, who remarked at the meeting that “nine out of Myanmar’s 15 States/Regions are contaminated with landmines, Explosive Remnant of War. The Mine Risk Working Group (MRWG) was established over seven years ago as an inter-ministerial and inter-agency coordination platform under the co-leadership of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement and UNICEF to ensure mine action interventions are aligned with international standards and lessons learned in Myanmar. The MRWG is now working closely with international forums like ARMAC to better respond to the needs of the affected population. We are glad that experiences from Myanmar will contribute to the integrated approach to Mine Risk Education in ASEAN.”

Following the meeting in Myanmar on 16 August 2019, a National Consultative Meeting was also organised in Bangkok, Thailand with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand. During the opening remarks, Dr. Suriya Chindawongse, Director-General of the Department of ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand, mentioned that the project’s implementation is an important step for ASEAN to raise awareness towards the dangers of mines/ERW and the efforts to address them.

H.E. Mr. Thongphane Savanphet, Deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lao PDR, opened the National Consultative Meeting on 22 August 2019, in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Lao has made progress with regards to MRE, for example Lao has integrated unexploded ordinance awareness activities into the primary schools’ curriculum in contaminated provinces to reduce the risk of further casualties.

On 16 September 2019, Ms. Le Thi Thu, Deputy Director General, Department of ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, gave opening remarks, and underlined Viet Nam’s commitment to working with AMS in various issues including mine action.

In regard to the importance of the meetings, Mr Ly Panharith, Executive Director of ARMAC, mentioned “ARMAC appreciated the input from the mine risk education stakeholders in all mine/ERW affected ASEAN Member States (i.e. Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam) who have been handling mine risk education with various innovative approaches. Their experience and knowledge are of critical importance to develop the integrated approach to mine risk education.”

Looking towards the future, the next steps for the MRE project will be to hold a side event during the Fourth Review Conference on a Mine-Free World on 25-29 November 2019 in Oslo, Norway, so as to establish a platform for ASEAN countries to form a collaborative community of MRE experts and stakeholders. Ultimately, it is hoped that through these consultative meetings, research and other activities undertaken through the project, that the number of victims of mines/ERW can be minimised and in so doing the socio-economic impact of mines is reduced and sustainable development outcomes are improved.

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