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Landmines are a persistent and complex problem. Although numbers have declined significantly in the last two decades, landmines still affect almost 30 per cent of countries, and have caused an average of 3,856 casualties per year from 2010-14. Landmines still pose a serious and global problem despite the work of engineers, NGOs, and policymakers, who have made real headway in the last 20 years, reducing both the number of landmines deployed, and their use.
To gauge stakeholder opinion on how new advances in technology can be integrated into demining operations, the Policy Institute, King's College London brought together academics, NGOs, politicians, policymakers and UK businesses to a "Policy Lab". Throughout the discussions, there was a particular focus on the mounting barriers to safer, cheaper and more efficient demining. Based on the discussion, the report recommends:
- Communication: Sustained communication and cooperation between different stakeholder groups must be encouraged in order to develop a shared understanding of the nature of the landmines problem.
- Comprehensive data: The adequacy of data used to support key research areas, such as the extent of landmine contamination in the world today and number of casualties caused by explosive threats, needs to be improved by standardising metrics for data collection.
- Continue R&D investment in internet-based solutions: Future donor investments should continue to be targeted towards the development of internet-based landmine detection technologies and the land release process, to save costs, effort and time for NGOs and on-the-ground demining organisations.
- Consider the IED threat: The mine action industry must also consider how IED detection and destruction activities can be integrated into future guidelines and standards for NGOs and commercial demining organisations.