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24 Nov
Regional Webinar “Protecting ASEAN Communities through Explosive Ordnance Risk Education Implementation Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic”

"Protecting ASEAN Communities through Explosive Ordnance Risk Education Implementation Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic"

24 November 2020 – The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) and United States (U.S.) Department of State/ U.S. Embassy of Phnom Penh co-organised the Regional Webinar on Protecting ASEAN Communities through Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) Implementation Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Having attended by 52 participants, the Regional Webinar provided an open forum for authorities and all the stakeholders in sharing:

  1. knowledge, expertise and experience including good practices and lessons learned in implementing EORE during the pandemic, while ensuring do no harm;
  2. consequences and challenges in implementing EORE during the pandemic, as well as the solution towards those; and
  3. whether integration of EORE and COVID-19 risk education has been in place

The Webinar featured presentations from National Mine Action Centre/Authority, mine action related ministry and civil society organization from Philippines which covered Adjustment made in Coordinating and/or Implementing EORE. Speakers from Cambodia Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (HE. Mr. Ly Panharith, Deputy Secretary General), Thailand Mine Action Center (Flt. Lt. Chotiboon Anukulvanich, Interpreter and Coordinator of Special Affair), Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Myanmar (Mr. Win Naing Tun, Director General) and Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) in Mindanao (Mr. Craig Dreghorn, Senior Technical Advisor) briefed as follows:

  1. good practices and lessons learned of EORE programme activities to protect children and overall affected communities during COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. consequences and challenges faced and how these were addressed; and
  3. integration of EORE and COVID-19 risk education efforts.

Additionally, civil society organization from Viet Nam shared the Use of Technology/Social Media in Upholding EORE to Respond to the Ramification of COVID-19. Ms. Ta Thi Hai Yen, Programme Manager, Catholic Relief Service Viet Nam, introduced the use of a mobile application in their EORE activities during the pandemic.

Concluding the Presentation session, Mr. Hugues Laurenge, Child Protection Specialist UNICEF, presented Global Efforts to Protect Children and Overall Affected Communities through EORE. He started with introducing the recently released International EORE Standards and Resource Library for EORE-COVID-19, and further explained how to apply a human rights law – particularly related to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action (CCCs) perspectives to EORE sector in Southeast Asia.

The Webinar was officially opened by the Executive Director of ARMAC, Mr. Prum Suonpraseth, he underscored the importance of EORE works upheld by mine action stakeholders in the region. Meanwhile, in the Welcome Remarks, HE. Mr. Patrick W. Murphy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to Cambodia, highlighted

(ARMAC, 24 November 2020)

15 Sep
Regional Training on “Quality Management in Mine Action”

Regional Training on Quality Management in Mine Action

From 7 to 12 September 2020 – The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) co-organised the Regional Training on Quality Management in Mine Action. The training was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office through GICHD. As a ramification of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the training was conducted in a virtual format.

With twenty trainees from the ASEAN region, the training aimed to provide theoretical and practical knowledge on how to implement the Mine Action project cycle for better results through improved quality. The participants expressed interest in areas such as improving their understanding of information management, using priority setting techniques for work plans, and managing risk in mine action.

The training included lessons which consist of extensive discussions of a wide range of topics revolving around quality management in mine action such as (i) Quality Management and Land Release Overview; (ii) Key Quality Management Principles; (iii) Quality Planning of Non-Technical Survey, Technical Survey and Clearance; (iv) Mechanical Demining Operations and Quality Management; (v) Quality Assurance; (vi) Quality Control; (vii) Accreditation, Testing and Evaluation of Mine Action Staff and Equipment; and (viii) Application Changes in Mine Action Organisations.

The training was mainly delivered by Mr. Yuri Shahramanyan, Advisor on Operational Efficiency at GICHD. He began with introductory topics including land release, which involves the identification of hazardous areas, the cancellation of land through non-technical survey, the reduction of land through technical survey and the clearance of land. The participants further engaged in the discussion of key quality management principles i.e. Customer Focus, Leadership, Engagement of People; Process Approach; Continuous Improvement; Evidence-based Decision Making; Relationship Management.

Further, the role of gender and diversity in mine action, particularly in quality assessment, was also outlined in the training. The trainer, Mr. Dominic Wolsey, Advisor on Gender and Diversity at GICHD, explained that women, men, boys and girls have different roles and responsibilities, different mobility patterns and exposure to risk, different participation in decision making and access to services & resources. Mr. Wolsey highlighted the importance of mainstreaming gender and diversity considerations to implement efficient and effective Quality Management.

During the training, Mr. Armen Harutyunyan, Advisor on Operational Efficiency at GICHD, also delivered a session on Introduction to Quality Management Terminology, ranging from the definition of efficiency and effectiveness, to the explanation of what process and products are in the context of quality management in mine action. Mr. Harutyunyan further remarked that “one of the main reasons for quality management is to continuously improve the way we operate”, further stating that “if we don’t aim to improve something, we go backwards”. He also discussed PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) Approach with the participants, before introducing the notion of quality assurance and quality control as parts of a mine action quality policy.

Mr. Stanislav Damjanovic, Advisor on Operational Efficiency at GICHD, also provided input on the accreditation process of Mine Action organisations and specifically the need for organisations to be formally recognized as able to plan, manage and implement mine action activities and to run an effective internal Quality Management system. Mr. Damjanovic also discussed the best approaches to training Mine Action staff and the effective transfer of knowledge, skills and attitudes.

The training also included breakout group discussion, facilitated by Mr. Shahramanyan. The discussion included cancellation of hazard areas through Non-Technical Survey, reflecting on what consideration should be given to setting metrics and tolerances prior to conducting NTS to conduct cancellation, and how confidence is achieved through evidence-based decision-making process to release land through cancellation.

(ARMAC and GICHD 15 September 2020)

17 Dec
11th Steering Committee Meeting of ARMAC

11th Steering Committee Meeting and Handover

On 17 December 2019, the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) hosted the 11th Meeting of the Steering Committee, at ARMAC’s headquarters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Panyarak Poolthup, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Kingdom of Cambodia and Chair of the Steering Committee of ARMAC. The meeting was also attended by representatives from all ten ASEAN Member States, the Executive Director of ARMAC, and the Permanent Secretariat.

This is the last Meeting – to be held in 2019 under Thailand’s Chairmanship, The Meeting reviewed ARMAC’s current progress in implementing its three-year workplan. In particular, the Meeting noted (i) the successful conclusion of ARMAC’s programme activities in 2019 such as regional trainings, workshops and seminars; (ii) the current implemented mine risk education project, funded by the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF); and (iii) several other upcoming projects in 2020.

Early in the Meeting, Norwegian People’s Aid Myanmar gave a presentation on their supports in mine/explosive remnants of war action programme in the region.

The meeting was concluded with closing remarks by H.E. Mr. Panyarak Poolthup and handover of the 2019 Thailand Chairmanship to the 2020 Vietnam Chairmanship represented by H.E. Mr. Vu Quang Minh, Ambassador of Vietnam to Cambodia.

(ARMAC 17 December 2019)

02 Dec
Regional Training on “Risk Management in Mine Action”

Regional Training on “Risk Management in Mine Action", 02-06 December 2019, Thailand

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 International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Government of Ireland 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 awareness of the risks involved in field operations, but also 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 mine action topics and will continue to strive towards a supporting an effective and efficient mine action sector.

(ARMAC 2 December 2019)

29 Nov
Integrated Approaches to Mine Risk Education for Affected Communities in ASEAN Member States

Integrated Approaches to Mine Risk Education for Affected Communities in ASEAN Member States:
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.

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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.”

(ARMAC 29 November 2019)

24 Oct
Regional Training on “Risk Management in Mine Action”

Regional Training on Risk Management in Mine Action

ARMAC in collaboration with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), the Thailand Mine Action Center (TMAC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will be organizing a Regional Training on “Risk Management in Mine Action” on 02-06 December 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The course aims to explore the different aspects of practical risk management, especially in relation to the context of Mine Action in South East Asia. The training will be delivered mainly in lecture style through PowerPoint presentations with time for questions and discussion. A visit to an EOD course will also be included.

Registrations are open to the mine and explosive remnants of war affected countries of ASEAN, including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Applicants will be selected on an assessment of qualifications.

Please register by 04 November 2019 at https://bit.ly/360XTU0

(ARMAC, 24 October 2019)

22 Oct
Regional Workshop, Lao People’s Democratic Republic

REGIONAL WORKSHOP, Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic

21-22 October 2019, Vientiane, Lao PDR– The Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) alongside the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), with funding support from the Government of Canada through the Mission of Canada to ASEAN, and the Clearing for Results Project Cambodia, are pleased to launch the Regional Workshop on “Gender Equality and Empowerment in ASEAN Mine/Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Action”.

Held over two days, the Regional Workshop gathers together all 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS), including those both affected and non-affected by landmines, unexploded ordinance or ERW, to share methods on how to include gender approaches and perspectives into their national mine/ERW action activities. Crucially, the Workshop is designed to enable the participants to analyse their work in mine/ERW action through a gender and diversity lens, assessing how mine/ERW action projects and programmes are implemented with a consideration of gender aspects, and making sure that the priorities and capabilities of women, girls, boys, men and diverse groups are highlighted, and their needs are met.

Leading an essential component of the Regional Workshop, the GICHD emphasised that such events are crucial for the mine/ERW action sector as “with increased gender and diversity awareness and knowledge acquired through information-sharing events and other outreach activities, mine/ERW action operators will hopefully have the capacity and the will to effectively mainstream gender and diversity into their planning and activities.”

Beyond offering the AMS capacity building on gender mainstreaming in mine/ERW action (including some other relevant activities), the Regional Workshop also provides a platform for ASEAN countries to share their experiences, best practices and lessons learnt on integrating gender into their work.

Speaking at the event, Ms. Dwi Prameswari, Technical Officer for Mine Action at ARMAC, reiterated that “the Regional Workshop affords an opportunity to bring greater attention to the importance of gender and diversity aspects in mine/ERW action and other relevant programmes. By considering the inclusiveness of gender, the community will benefit from greater impacts and increased sustainability in future programmes. Further, as the Workshop achieved a gender balance in participants, it was encouraging to see both men and women from the ASEAN Member States sharing their knowledge, expertise and experience, and learning from each other on how to optimise gender mainstreaming in mine/ERW action.”

Funding the Regional Workshop through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives for the second time, the Mission of Canada to ASEAN emphasizes Canada’s commitment in developing and implementing gender-responsive approach towards mine action, as it is aligned with Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) for the period 2017-2022. Canada supports mine action as part of its international development assistance and remains firmly committed to advancing the goals of the Ottawa Convention (Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention) and to achieving a world free of landmines by 2025.

(ARMAC 22 October 2019)

16 Sep
National Consultative Meetings on ASEAN Mine Risk Education

National Consultative Meetings on ASEAN Mine Risk Education

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 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.”

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.

(ARMAC 16 September 2019)

05 Sep
Gender Equality and Empowerment in ASEAN Mine Action Workshop

Gender Equality and Empowerment in ASEAN Mine/Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Action

The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center, the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) with funding support from the Government of Canada (Mission of Canada to ASEAN) and the Clearing for Results Project, is pleased to announce the Regional Workshop, “Gender Equality and Empowerment in ASEAN Mine/Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Action” to be held 21-22 October 2019 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.

ARMAC, Lao PDR and Canada, along with other partners, are hosting the Regional Workshop with an aim to enhance ASEAN regional knowledge and cooperation on the issue of gender equality and empowerment. The Workshop aims:

  • To enhance participants’ knowledge on gender approaches and perspectives in Mine/ERW action programme activities including Mine/ERW clearance, Mine/ERW risk education and victim assistance.
  • To identify the challenges in implementing the gender approaches and perspectives; and recommend how to address these challenges
  • To share experiences and best practices on gender mainstreaming between ASEAN Member States.

To learn more about Canada’s contributions to ASEAN, visit the Canada and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Website.

(ARMAC, 05 September 2019)

19 Aug
Operational Efficiency In Mine Action Training

Operational Efficiency In Mine Action Training

The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) in collaboration with the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining – GICHD, and the Government of Ireland, organised and hosted an ASEAN regional training on “Operational Efficiency in Mine Action” to be held from 19-24 August 2019 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

The six-day training course will draw mine action professionals and managers from across the ASEAN Member States with the aim of enhancing participants’ knowledge and skills in order to efficiently plan, implement, monitor, assess and evaluate mine action operations.

To underscore much of the rationale for the training, the GICHD stated that improving operational efficiency in mine action is a fundamental task as “resources for responding to mine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination problems are costly, limited and precious.”

The training was opened by H.E. Mr. Ly Thuch, the Senior Minister and First Vice President of Cambodian Mine Action Authority, who remarked that “the training will help provide important information and practical advice to be implemented across the ASEAN region.”

Ultimately, the training will seek to provide participants with a foundation of knowledge that they can bring back to their respective countries and mine action programmes so that the overall ASEAN mine action sector can be made both more efficient and effective.

(ARMAC 19 August 2019)