Workshop topics

Workshop analyzes best practices in residual risk management

A three-day workshop attended by experts from around the world discussed best practices and potential standards to adopt in managing residual contamination.

The three-day workshop on Residual Risk Management was organized by the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) in collaboration with the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) from 14 to 16 June.

The event brought together more than 60 representatives of governments, demining operators, bilateral and UNDP donors, and international organizations from across Southeast Asia, as well as representatives from within and from outside the region.

The objective of the workshop was to provide a regional platform to share national experiences, challenges and successes in mitigating and responding appropriately to the management of residual contamination. The problems addressed by the workshop are not short-term or easily rectifiable.

Prum Suonpraseth, Executive Director of ARMAC, said in his welcoming remarks: “Five ASEAN Member States (AMS) and to some extent the Philippines are suffering from the scourge of mine and mine contamination. explosive remnants of war. More than half of our members experience some form of contamination.

The importance of taking risks into account was also echoed by other participants.

In his remarks, GICHD Advisor for Standards and Operations, Armen Harutyunyan, said “residual contamination is a long-term challenge that requires advanced planning and a coordinated response.”

The importance of the workshop and the progress of the relevant AMSs towards becoming mine-free or reaching a “residual phase” were mentioned throughout the event.

The first day of the conference was devoted to discussing the current status and strategies of participating countries with respect to residual contamination and future response, as well as discussing the concept of all reasonable efforts (ARE) in mine action.

Participants also reviewed examples of international experiences to identify good practices and potential standards to adopt. On the second day, participants discussed risk management systems and digital tools in terms of information management, explosive ordnance risk education (EORE) as well as the effects of aging on explosive ordnance.

An informative presentation on accountability in mine action was given by GICHD experts. The third day of the conference focused on understanding the field practices of several international NGOs, including MAG International, HALO Trust, and Norwegian People’s Aid, APOPO and the ICRC.

Prum Suonpraseth said, “I would dare say that our region has some of the most sophisticated and mature mine action programs in the world.

“Likewise, we have some of the world’s leading experts in humanitarian demining – some of whom are in the room today.”

The management of residual contamination is an essential element of an effective mine action sector. Explosive ordnance clearance work can be dangerous and have serious implications – sharing knowledge, tools and frameworks to address risks is key to ensuring safe land release operations.

Ly Thuch, Chief Minister and First Vice President of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, commended ARMAC and the GICHD “for their foresight in bringing this topic to the fore now, in order to to allow for the necessary planning and preparations”.

ARMAC was created to facilitate cooperation within and between AMS and relevant institutions to collectively address the humanitarian aspects of landmines and ERW through an integrated approach of experience sharing, professional training and other capacity building activities.