Mine action programmes have traditionally relied on manual practices, procedures and drills, which are slow, deliberate and labour intensive. In many situations, a manual approach may be the most appropriate and effective means of detecting and rendering safe Mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) including unexploded sub-munitions. However there is a growing consensus that a more universal application of technology may enable ground preparation and mine and ERW survey and clearance (and other elements of mine action) to be conducted more effectively, cheaply and quickly, and with less risk.
Until now the procurement of mine action equipment has often been conducted in an ad hoc and uncoordinated manner. Invariably, there have been few formal statements of User need, few trials or evaluation, a limited investment appraisal, minimal logistic support planning, no formal acceptance or approval, and limited coordinated monitoring of in-use effectiveness.
The purpose of the ‘03 Series’ of standards is to promote a common international approach to the procurement of mine action equipment, and to provide guidelines on procurement procedures and practices. The adoption of a common approach could enhance international cooperation and coordination, which should assist the procurement of better, safer and more affordable equipment.
Only by adopting this common approach will it be possible to achieve the significant improvements in international cooperation and coordination that could provide considerable benefits to the mine action community. Such an approach does not imply the centralisation of procurement. Indeed, a theme, which is consistent throughout the ‘03 Series’ of standards, is the need to encourage a decentralised approach. Any step in the procurement process that does not add significant value to the end product should be eliminated; this IMAS identifies all of the processes to enable valued judgement to be used.
'Procurement' in this standard refers to the process of research, development, production and purchase which leads to an item of equipment being accepted as suitable for use in mine action programmes, and continues with the provision of spares and post-design services throughout the life of the equipment.
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