Environmental safeguarding is receiving increasing attention in the humanitarian mine action and disarmament sector, and in this post Linsey Cottrell and Kendra Dupuy introduce the principles of environmental impact assessments for mine action operations.
With talks on a political declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas nearing completion later this year, Linsey Cottrell and Kendra Dupuy argue that it’s critical that their environmental impact is also addressed.
Women already play a critical role in mine action, with the number of women working in humanitarian demining programmes increasing. Given gender differences in perception and behaviour towards environmental protection, women already have an important role in environmental mainstreaming in the sector.
In this piece, Linsey Cottrell and Kendra Dupuy provide an overview of the relationship between humanitarian mine action and the environment, examining both how mines and mine action can impact the environment, and how environmental change can influence mine action.
Mine action operators could help to address the climate and biodiversity crises as part of releasing land back to local communities, and re-greening projects in Africa and elsewhere show how this could be done writes Linsey Cottrell.
Climate change is already influencing humanitarian mine action activities. The experience of Tajikistan is an example of how humanitarian disarmament practices and policies may need to change in response.
Clearing land mines and tackling unexploded ordnance can harm the environment. Together with Norwegian People’s Aid, we surveyed the environmental attitudes and policies of mine action operators to try and identify where their practice could be improved.
The need to improve environmental standards in mine action is particularly clear when working in areas with rich or sensitive ecosystems. Kendra Dupuy and Linsey Cottrell report from their field visit to Colombia and on the challenges mainstreaming faces there.