About global mine action
Landmines and explosives remnants of war devastate people’s lives and livelihoods every day. Each year they kill thousands of people and prevent millions from using agricultural land or accessing essential health and education services due to landmine contamination. Their presence also hampers freedom of movement and obstructs the delivery of humanitarian aid. Mine action work is therefore a priority for humanitarian and international development agencies globally.
Facilitating sector-wide learning
Since 2014, we have been supporting the UK Government to deliver the UK Global Mine Action Programme (GMAP). GMAP seeks to reduce the impact of mines by: clearance and direct release of contaminated or suspected contaminated land (demining); mine risk education; and building the capacity of partner countries to manage their national mine action programmes.
Our support has been in the form of programme monitoring, evaluation and research, including:
- Providing insights into the programme’s performance and recommendations on how mine action budgets can achieve the greatest possible positive impact.
- Providing independent monitoring of the performance of the partners implementing GMAP, as well as guidance to the UK Government Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), its implementing partners and the wider sector on strengthening monitoring systems so as to better evidence mine action’s results.
- Conducting research to build the evidence base to inform mine action programming, including utilising new technologies to explore how they could assist the global mine action sector to produce better evidence of its impact.
We played a particularly pivotal role in the execution of the second phase of GMAP which cleared and made safe almost five hundred million square metres of land, and taught more than four million people how to stay safe around contaminated land across 14 countries.
One of our key activities in this second phase of the programme was developing a Sector-wide Theory of Change for mine action. Its purpose was to encourage collective responsibility of all stakeholders (donors, implementers and national authorities) for achieving mine action outcomes and for maximising the sector’s success. As well as encouraging strategic thinking across the sector, by introducing shared indicators it aims to support the sector to make better use of its available evidence base and to understand whether it is collectively achieving its objectives.
Following the development of the Sector-wide Theory of Change for GMAP during 2021, in 2022 the Dutch Mine Action and Cluster Munition Programme agreed to fund us to pilot and refine it. We ran pilots in Afghanistan, Angola, Lebanon, Libya and Ukraine, engaging with national authorities, donors and mine action implementers in those countries to do so. In addition, we carried out consultations with key actors at global level such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Geneva International Sector for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), and other mine action donors and civil society partners.
At the end of our pilot, the Theory of Change was officially launched at the Anti-personnel Landmine Convention in November 2022, where we presented the results of the pilot to the sector.
Steinar Essen, Global Mine Action and Development Advisor, UNDP, said:
“This is going to be really useful to the sector, and being involved in its development has been a real educational journey. We will definitely be aiming to use it as much as possible – I want to see all our country programmes adopting this. For us, it makes it so much easier to coordinate with our core partners. I’ll be looking to take this forward and implement it in Ukraine straight away.”
Andrew Griffiths, Head of GMAP, UK Government Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said:
“This has the potential to make a real difference to the sector, and is something the UK has already adopted. In the current context of pressures on aid budgets, it is particularly useful as it helps us to present a compelling rationale for the importance of mine action by demonstrating its contribution to wider development objectives.”
Lucas Daalhuisen, Head of the Dutch Mine Action and Cluster Munition Programme said:
“The Sector-wide Theory of Change for Mine Action and its common indicator bank are great tools for standardisation, which will help us to ‘speak the same language’ across the sector and make it easier to identify gaps and overlaps. We have also started to adopt it and in fact the Sector-wide ToC will be fully implemented in our next Mine Action and Cluster Munition Programme.”
Influencing international standards for mine action
As the Sector-wide Theory of Change is implemented, we expect to see it begin to benefit a wide range of stakeholders, including National Mine Action Authorities, governments, mine action workers, their communities, national economies and the international community as a whole.
After a successful launch, the intention is that key stakeholders will own and implement the Theory of Change independently from our support. Early signs suggest that this ownership will happen. For example, the Angolan National Mine Action Authority has decided to conduct a full refresh of the Angolan mine action strategy, aligning it to the Sector-wide Theory of Change, and we are already seeing mine action actors such as the FCDO and UNDP making use of the Theory of Change to inform the design of their mine action programmes.
Whilst these early signs are very promising, it will be important to continue to encourage the sustained use of the Sector-wide Theory of Change toolkit in order to maximise its impact. In November 2022, in preparation for the official launch, we attended an encouraging stakeholder meeting where representatives from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UK FCDO, UNDP and GICHD gathered to discuss potential next steps.
During the meeting, stakeholders identified a potential opportunity to embed some of the key principles and tools from the toolkit within international standards (the International Mine Action Standards and Information Management System for Mine Action), which govern mine action operations internationally, and this is currently being considered as part of an update of those standards. This would be a significant step in ensuring sustainable use of the Theory of Change, and we are continuing to liaise with the sector to take this forward.
We hope that if the current momentum of change continues, our work will continue to support members of the global mine action community to sustain efforts to create a safer world.
This impact story was developed by Abaka Debrah and Zoe Bonnell of Itad’s Research Analyst Programme, with contributions from George Bowles.