The National Programme Manager, Head of the PCU Economic, Environmental and Politico-Military Projects Programme has the responsibility for the overall management of the project. An international staff member will act as mine action technical advisor for the duration of the project. All recruitment procedures are in line with the relevant Staff Regulations and Staff Rules and the Uniform Guidelines on the Administration of Personnel.
The project team is comprised of:
Project partners are the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the State Emergency Service (SESU) and the Ministry of Temporary Occupied Territories and IDPs (MinTOT). The mine action centre may be added as a partner after its establishment. In addition to the project partners, key stakeholders include the Parliament of Ukraine, communities in affected areas, international mine-action NGOs, organizations. Deepened OSCE involvement will promote inclusiveness and transparency in policy making.
The PCU closely interacts and co-ordinates with all main international mine action interlocutors present or interested in Ukraine including UN family, international NGOs, NATO and others. The PCU participates in the UN Mine Action Sub-cluster, and regular updates on the project implementation will be shared using this platform. During regional roundtables the PCU will co-chair UN Mine Action Sub-cluster meetings.
Important partners for expertise engagement in this project include the GICHD and GMAP.
The project is also closely co-ordinated with SMM.
Lastly, it is noteworthy to pointout that an assessment mission by the UN Mine Action Service, UNICEF and UNDP visited Ukraine in January 2016. The assessment report was never released, but OSCE’s understanding was that it found that Ukraine needs to put in place a humanitarian mine-action architecture, but lacks a clear direction to achieve this. Since then, the UNDP (with the OSCE PCU) has assumed the chair of a sub-cluster coordination meeting on mine action, but the UN has not taken further steps. Should the UN undertake a larger role in mine action, the PCU expects the cooperation to be governed by the 2013 UNDP-OSCE memorandum of understanding to establish a strategic partnership framework.1
1“Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations Development Programme and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,” signed 9 October 2013.
Project Objective is to increase Ukraine’s capacity for humanitarian demining. This project is also contributing to the Unified Budget Programm Objective: To assist the Ukrainian authorities in improving their compliance with OSCE commitments in the economic, environmental & political-military arenas.
The project is based on the needs of Ukrainian mine-action actors, and all capacity and skills acquired will remain with host-country institutions. The project is entirely in line with high-level, clearly stated needs by the host government. Better demining will have a direct effect on communities living in the conflict zone, and can also enhance confidence-building measures.
ERW is a contaminant, and its removal will improve the environmental situation.
The Project will advise decision-makers on gender mainstreaming and diversity. The PCU will gender mainstream this project in line with the OSCE policies and programmes, such as 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, 2005 MC Decision on Women in Conflict Prevention, Crisis Management and Post-conflict Rehabilitation, and in accordance with Ukrainian legislation. The PCU will promote gender-sensitive culture and support our partners in achieving gender equality in project activities, especially in IMSMA and MRE area of expertise. The PCU will encourage partners to promote greater inclusion and active participation of women in the planned events.
Project is designed to implement following activitites:
Activity 1.1 Provide advice on establishment, development and functioning of mine action authority and centre
Activity 1.2 Hold a seminar for exchange of experience in setting up mine action institutions
Activity 1.3 Facilitate public involvement in mine action policy formation
Activity 1.4 Advise Ukrainian authorities on gender issues
Activity 1.5 Equip MAC with basic office equipment & furniture
Activity 2.1 Review & revise core curriculum for humanitarian demining, via working group & international expertise
Activity 2.2 Produce multi-media training materials supporting stakeholders in development of mine risk education capacity of stakeholders
Activity 2.3 Train trainers
Activity 3.1 Developing technical infrastructure for IMSMA
Activity 3.2 Train IMSMA operators
Activity 3.3 Create publicly accessible website
Activity 4.1 Equip demining actors with priority equipment
Activity 5.1 Develop MRE program and train 10 MRE trainers
Activity 5.2 Prepare 60 MRE sets for schools in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
Activity 5.3. Develop MRE materials for different gender and age groups
The project developed a Risk management plan designed to address ten identified risks.
The OSCE Document on Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition notes that pS are eligible for assistance in dealing with explosive hazards. Also, the Conventional Weapons Convention and its protocols obligate Ukraine to mark, clear and destroy explosive remnants of war (ERW), with international assistance whenever appropriate. The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Convention) specifies that a state party may request that regional organizations assist in mine action.
While no reliable estimate has been made of explosive remnants of war stemming from the conflict in and around Ukraine, more than 325,000 objects have already been removed, suggesting the total number is many times that, and large areas of land will need to be cleared to allow for economic and social rehabilitation of conflict-affected communities2. About 7,000 km2 are suspected hazardous areas3. The full nature of extent of contamination is likely to remain unclear until an effective cessation of hostilities. Although Ukraine has accumulated significant experience in tackling WWII ERW, the recent conflict has created a new humanitarian problem. The country possesses expertise and trained personnel for ERW removal but the concept of humanitarian demining is new to the government.
OSCE participating States and the members of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) rightly see ERW clearance as both a confidence-building measure in itself and as a prerequisite for reconstruction and development. It will fall largely to Ukrainian deminers to do the actual work, so the greater their capacity, the faster and safer this can be done.
The project is requested by the three Ukrainian institutions primarily responsible for survey and clearance of ERW, as well as mine-risk education (MRE): MoD, SESU and MinTOT. MoD and SESU have expertise and experience with survey and clearance that long pre-dates the current conflict, and have, in total, more than 1,500 trained deminers, with roughly one-quarter deployed in rotation in the recently contaminated areas at any one time. MinTOT was given the task to coordinate all activities related to economic recovery and protection of civilians in the zone of the conflict, including MRE in the “State Targeted Program for the Restoration and Development of Peace in the Eastern Regions of Ukraine for 2017-2020”4.
To respond efficiently and coherently to the new challenges, the Ukrainian mine action sector needs several types of assistance. First, policy, structures and practices need to be developed for humanitarian mine action. After two mine action draft bills, from the Cabinet of Ministers and from a member of Parliament, failed to pass, the Verkhovna Rada National Security and Defence Committee established a working group to develop a new mine action draft law, which needs information on international commitments and best practices.
Mine action is not only about removing ERW, but also about economic and community restoration. The PCU is well-positioned to support public consultations with local stakeholders in the affected areas, thanks to extensive engagement across the range of its project portfolio. Advice on gender aspects of mine action will be provided by Gender in Mine Action Programme (GMAP) of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD).
Second, MOD and SESU have training centres with competent instructors. The number of people and institutions conducting demining in Ukraine, and thus requiring training, will increase; and as Ukraine adapts International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) standards to its own national context, revised training programmes will be needed especially training on humanitarian demining procedures and basic EOD training.
Third, a means to track the status of clearance efforts is needed. PCU in 2014 began introducing the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA). It combines database and geospatial capabilities and records information on hazardous areas and demining operations and is in use in around 50 countries. The tool, developed by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), is intended to support informed decision-making and resource allocation, and efficient land release. In co-operation with GICHD, first cohort of administrators and users was trained in 2014-2015. Piloting in several regions was completed by the SESU by late 2015, and started in the end of 2015 by the MoD and Ministry of Infrastructure. In 2019, MoD and SESU started a transfer from IMSMA NG to IMSMA CORE software. The new generation of IMSMA has incorporated GIS functions, which allowed MoD with support of GICHD and PCU to develop in 2019 an interactive map5 of mine affected areas open to the public. The full transfer of data will be accomplished by the end of 2021.
Fourth, deminers often work with outdated equipment and insufficient protective gear. Protective and detection equipment will save lives and increase the speed with which clearance can take place. Communication and navigation systems are required for control and co-ordination of operations whereas field tool sets help personnel handle a variety of hazards, including booby traps and high-explosive ammunition, in various settings.
1 Explosive remnants of war (ERW) includes mines, unexploded artillery shells and mortar bombs, grenades, missiles, rockets, and improvised explosive devices.
2 MoD report on demining activities through 1 January 2018, http://www.mil.gov.ua/diyalnist/protiminna-diyalnist/
3 Landmine Monitor Report, Ukraine, 2018. 4 Cabinet of Ministers decree #1071, 13 December 2017 5 https://mod-ukr.imsma-core.org/portal/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=d1fc9330a4964cc793dac7894c725fa3
As a result of visits to MOD and SESU training centres in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, meetings with demining experts from these institution and process of development of national mine action standards (NMAS), a list of priority equipment for humanitarian demining was updated.
In addition to the project partners, key stakeholders include the Parliament of Ukraine, communities in affected areas, international mine-action NGOs, organizations. Deepened OSCE involvement will promote inclusiveness and transparency in policy making.
The project and PCU’s involvement also address the interests of several OSCE participating States and international stakeholders. The project expands on a current project led by the FSC Support Section6 to help establish standard operating procedures for ERW removal and equip four teams of the SESU in Donbas. This project will provide additional training capacity on other areas of mine action standards, and will respond to additional equipment needs.
Under a memorandum of understanding between PCU, GICHD and Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), the parties agreed to cooperate on policy matters.
The Trilateral Contact Group7 likewise sees mine action as a confidence building measure, and the SMM is overseeing survey and clearance operations in the conflict zone, but the actual demining is conducted primarily by this project’s partners, so their greater capacity will directly support these efforts. Several participating States have concrete intentions to support mine action, but have expressed an interest in seeing better coordination in requesting assistance and clearer plans for mine action, a need to which this project responds.
Three international mine-action NGOs established their offices in Kyiv in 2015 and conduct non-technical and technical survey and demining capacities. However, accreditation and certification procedures as well as quality control and handover procedures are not yet in place and so far, there is no single mine action authority to coordinate demining.
Other international donors and NGOs are likewise building humanitarian demining capacity. The European Union is procuring equipment via the Danish Demining Group, and NATO is also active in the area of explosive hazard response. GICHD works in close collaboration with the PCU. Some countries are assisting bilaterally as well. Part of the PCU’s added value will be in reviewing the government’s requests for assistance, so that equipment and other forms of aid are more uniform.
No other international organizations are currently assisting with policy development, IMSMA roll-out or training capacity building, while UNICEF, ICRC and several international NGOs, are assisting with mine risk education to specified target groups but the needs are much greater than capacities of service providers.
An assessment mission by the UN Mine Action Service, UNICEF and UNDP visited Ukraine in January 2016. The assessment report was never released, but OSCE’s understanding was that it found that Ukraine needs to put in place a humanitarian mine-action architecture, but lacks a clear direction to achieve this. Since then, the UNDP (with the OSCE PCU) has assumed the chair of a sub-cluster coordination meeting on mine action, but the UN has not taken further steps. Should the UN undertake a larger role in mine action, the PCU expects the cooperation to be governed by the 2013 UNDP-OSCE memorandum of understanding to establish a strategic partnership framework.8
The PCU, having provided a wide range of assistance to Ukrainian authorities in eliminating ERW from prior conflicts on Ukrainian soil since 2006, is well positioned to assist in building this mine-action capacity. This project also contributes to the 2018 Unified Budget outcome to reduce the threat posed by toxic or explosive hazards.
The project underwent an external evaluation in January 2018 and the project team learned several lessons during implementation:
The Project was modified in the following ways, and extended for two years:
Project implementation timeline was extended in April 2020 due to the following reasons:
6 Project no. 1101646, Assistance to the Government of Ukraine in Clearing the Territories in the East of Ukraine from Explosive Remnants of War.
7 The TCG consists of representatives from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the OSCE negotiating implementation of the Minsk accords. 8 “Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations Development Programme and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,” signed 9 October 2013.