The following is an extract from the Secretary-General's report on Mine Action to the General Assembly of the United Nations.
In July 1996 at an international conference in Denmark, international standards for humanitarian mine clearance programmes were proposed by working groups. In doing so, criteria were prescribed for all aspects of mine clearance, standards were recommended, and a new, universal definition of "clearance" was agreed to.
A UN-led working group subsequently revised and developed these principles, resulting in what is now known as International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance Operations. The first version of these standards was released by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in March 1997.
"In promoting these guidelines, it was recognized that it would be necessary to review the standards periodically to reflect developing mine action practices and procedures. To this end, UNMAS is currently conducting a review of the existing standards to ensure that they accurately reflect recent developments in mine clearance technology, practices, and procedures."
New York, October 1999
UNMAS invited the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) to coordinate the review and revision of mine clearance standards. This web site has been established to disseminate information on the review, and to encourage the widest possible involvement of the User Community.
Even though 22 Standards were endorsed by the Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations on 26 September 2001, both these standards and those currently under draft, will continue to be reviewed and revised.
A users' focus group has been established for the review and revison of mine clearance standards. The Roles and Responsibilities of the Users' focus group (PDF, 49KB) is to provide the process with informed and authoritative opinions on the practical application of humanitarian mine clearance standards and QA at field level.
An initial meeting of the group was held at the campus of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA on 28 and 29 October 1999. Minutes of the meeting of 1999 (PDF, 98KB). The list of representatives of national mine action centres, NGOs and commercial contractors are included in these minutes.
A second meeting of the Users' Focus Group was held at the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining in Geneva, Switzerland on March 2-3, 2000. Minutes of the meeting of 2000 (PDF, 144KB). The list of representatives of national mine action centres, NGOs and commercial contractors are included in these minutes.
In August 2001, the decision was made that a third meeting of the Users' Focus Group would not be needed.