Evaluating Lessons Learned: EU Mine Action Workshop in Colombia

On the 6th and the 7th of October DDG organised and participated in the workshop “Evaluating Lessons Learned” with operators and beneficiaries of the projects under the European Union Convention, within a territorial approach.

Colombia and the European Union signed the Project “Strengthening action against antipersonnel mines in Colombia” with the aim of “clearing and developing the human, socio-economic and sustainable environment of areas that are contaminated by Landmines, Improvised Explosive Devices and Unexploded Ordnance.”

The need for clearance in Colombia is extremely urgent; according to IMSMA from 1990 until September 2015 there have been 11,203 victims from landmine accidents, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW).

In this regard, the Forum was organized with the interest of sharing experiences, strategies, achievements and challenges related to each components of Mine Action: Humanitarian Demining, Territorial and Information Management, Mine Risk Education and Victim Assistance Integral Management.

It was attended by local authorities, land managers (municipal and departmental), mine accident survivors, community leaders and programme operators from DAICMA (Dirección para la Acción Integral contra Minas Antipersonal). DDG was represented by Fernando Meier (Chief of Technical Assistance in DDG in Colombia) and Gerson Cortés (Expert in conflict analysis and information).

The workshop also analyzed the context situation, by taking into account the peace dialogue process between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as a fundamental achievement for future collaborations for humanitarian demining.

DDG presented the methodology used to support its work with DAICMA, and concrete proposals were established for continuing the EU funded project with DAICMA in municipalities and departments. The proposals include: a decentralization strategy with regional coordinators and territorial managers in AICMA; the achievement of financial, technical and human resources; the importance of access in those municipalities and departments that are still contaminated and controlled by the FARC.

It was also recognized the importance of strengthening on:

  • Training in Community Liaison (a national standard will be submitted).
  • Mine Risk Education processes for Humanitarian Demining.
  • Supporting on socio-economic stabilization, by promoting the inclusion of victims and families who have suffered from mine and explosive remnants of war accidents.
  • Training on information management (IMSMA) for managers and other actors from AICMA.

The event was successful in terms of strengthening local capacity and cooperation in the fight against landmines and ERW contamination in Colombia.