Mine action organisations could help protect communities from conflict pollution by integrating more environmental data collection into their activities. In this post Linsey Cottrell explores this idea, which was the focus of a recent panel event in Geneva.
Originally a three-year partnership between Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and CEOBS to improve environmental safeguarding within humanitarian disarmament, we continue to collaborate closely on promoting environmental mainstreaming within the mine action sector and disarmament initiatives.
NPA currently operate humanitarian disarmament programmes in 21 countries and seek reduce the environmental impacts from their field operations, fully embracing the ‘do no harm’ model of humanitarian aid. NPA’s field operations cover a diverse range of activities including the clearance of land mines and other explosive remnants, surplus weapon and stockpile management, and explosive risk education. The safeguarding policies which we are developing will need to reflect regional constraints and variations in governance within the territories in which NPA operates.
Based on wide-ranging consultations across the sector and a literature review of existing best practice, CEOBS and NPA appraised current activities and operations through a series of field visits, assessing local environmental practices and identifying key environmental and socio-economic issues. Through engagement and collaboration with local agents, we have developed policies and training materials to raise awareness and implement environmental safeguarding to reduce the potential adverse environmental impacts from NPA’s field operations and to manage risks to local communities from other conflict-related environmental impacts.
We share what we are learning and encourage others to engage through a sectoral working group. For information on membership or environmental mainstreaming more broadly, contact Linsey Cottrell (linsey at ceobs.org).