International standards for humanitarian demining programmes were first proposed by working groups at an international technical conference in Denmark, in July 1996. Criteria wereprescribed for all aspects of demining, standards were recommended and a new universal definition of ‘clearance’ was agreed. In late 1996, the principles proposed in Denmark were developed by a UN-led working group and the International Standards for Humanitarian MineClearance Operations were developed. A first edition was issued by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in March 1997.
The scope of these original standards has since been expanded to include the other components of mine action and to reflect changes to operational procedures, practices and norms. The standards were re-developed and renamed as International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) with the first edition produced in October 2001.The United Nations has a general responsibility for enabling and encouraging the effective management of mine action programmes, including the development and maintenance ofstandards. UNMAS, therefore, is the office within the United Nations responsible for thedevelopment and maintenance of IMAS.
IMAS are produced with the assistance of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining. The work of preparing, reviewing and revising IMAS is conducted by technical committees, withthe support of international, governmental and non-governmental organisations. The latest version of each standard, together with information on the work of the technical committees, can be found at www.mineactionstandards.org. Individual IMAS are reviewed at least everythree years to reflect developing mine action norms and practices and to incorporate changes to international regulations and requirements.
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