GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — International Small Arms Control Standards may not seem, at first glance, to be a relevant topic of discussion for mine action professionals. In reality, however, organisations that address the devastating legacy of mines and other explosive remnanents of war come face-to-face on a daily basis with illicit, abandoned and surplus small arms and light weapons. And they are being called upon ever more frequently to apply their technical knowledge and skills to destroying such weapons, or to building the capacity of governments to properly mark and record them and to ensure their adequate management in stockpiles.
With this in mind, the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) introduced ISACS and its Assessment Tool to participants at the 18th International Meeting of Mine Action National Programme Directors and UN Advisors. The United Nations Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining jointly organised the meeting, which took place on 16-19 February 2015 in Geneva.
The meeting provided an opportunity for members of the mine action community to assess progress and address challenges within their sector. Representatives of national mine action programmes, the United Nations, NGOs, donor governments and other mine action operators participated in the meeting, whose theme this year was, fittingly, “More than Mines: The Evolution of Mine Action.”
During a plenary session on “Cooperation, Standards and Tools," UNIDIR introduced ISACS and its Assessment Tool, in particular the purpose of and guiding principles behind the standards; progress in developing and rolling out modules and providing training on the ISACS Assessment Tool; and how the standards are being used around the world by a variety of actors, including in the mine action community.