Low Funding Hampering Mine Action In S. Sudan

Local and international funding for mine action is on a steady decline, a recent de-mining action workshop was told in Juba.

The workshop convened by the Sudan Integrated Mine Action Service (SIMAS) and its partner, the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) on June 30th was also informed that the international presence in South Sudan in the field of mine action will decrease significantly after 2011.

As a result, there are fears of more deaths in the affected areas and calls have been launched for increased funding.

A key recommendation from the workshop is that a mechanism for securing a long-term source of funding for mine action and national capacity development be identified and pursued.

“New initiatives may also need to be considered and potential cooperation between the national Government, donor community, NGOs and agencies should be explored”, stated some of the recommendations.

The general objective of the workshop was to inform stakeholders about SIMAS development, its resources and capabilities as well as to mobilise stakeholders in South Sudan, particularly the Government, to take effective action in addressing mine action support and funding problem in general, and national capacity building in particular.

An important outcome of the workshop was the development of a coherent vision for the future of mine action in South Sudan that would fundamentally change the way of the governmental support to mine action and national capacity building.

“The objective of any mine action is to reduce the risk from landmines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) to a level where people can live safely; in which economic, social and health development can occur free from the constraints imposed by landmine and ERW contamination, and in which the victims’ needs can be addressed”, read the report from SIMAS.

The workshop also gave a breakdown of mine action, which it said comprises of five complementary groups of activities which include, Mine Risk Education (MRE), Victim assistance, including rehabilitation and reintegration; Stockpile Destruction, Advocacy against the use of Anti Personnel Mine (APM) and Humanitarian demining which involves activities that lead to the removal of mine and ERW hazards, including technical survey, mapping, clearance, marking, post clearance documentation, community mine action liaison and the handover of cleared land.

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