“From the field, headquarters is too often seen as a useless group of bureaucrats, source of painful administrative and financial rules, and of operational delays,” admitted United Nations Mine Action Service Chief Tore Skedsmo to a roomful of deminers Monday.
But the coordination mechanisms created at the UN then transferred to local authorities can be vital in giving deminers their greatest effectiveness, he added.
Mine action centers can find it difficult to deal simultaneously with operations, coordination and capacity building while supporting partnership with all concerned entities, and this is often where the benefits of UN administration can be seen.
He acknowledged the important role played by donor nations, saying “Given the scope of the land-mine problem, given also the type of expertise required to address it, host countries and the UN family would remain powerless if it were not for the assistance provided by donor countries.
“Such assistance has become an obligation for state parties to the Ottawa Convention with a capacity to do so.”
He also paid tribute to the work of NGOs that have been instrumental in the field, performing the actual work of mine clearance and victim assistance, and others that have mobilized political support.