In recent years the international community has become increasingly aware of the scale and severity of the problem related to landmines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), which include unexploded sub-munitions, and has come to accept that it is a global problem requiring a coordinated global response. There is also recognition that the United Nations has a key role to play in articulating this global response, and in providing the necessary international support and coordination mechanisms.
The term ‘mine action’ refers to those activities which, together, aim to reduce the social, economic and environmental impact of landmine and ERW including unexploded sub- munitions contamination. These activities comprise mine risk education, survey and demining, victim assistance, advocacy to stigmatise the use of landmines and support of a total ban on anti-personnel landmines, and stockpile destruction. However, mine action and its constituent activities cannot be addressed in isolation as there is significant overlap with complementary humanitarian and developmental programmes, and in some cases with peacekeeping and peace support operations. Mine action requires management planning at global, national and local levels, and involves international, national, commercial, NGO and military stakeholders operating under a variety of conditions. Thus it is not possible, nor is it desirable, to establish a unique set of criteria which alone define mine action standards and guidelines. Instead, it is necessary to identify a framework of standards and guidelines which, together, harmonise the manner in which activities and tasks are conducted by the different organisations and agencies involved. International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) provide this framework of international standards and guidelines.
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