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Defining the device

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Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have become a serious and significant threat in a hostile world. IEDs are now the weapon of choice for non-state armed groups (NSAGs) and are deployed with devastating consequences in about half of the world’s countries. Although IEDs are often said to have indiscriminate effects, they have a disproportionate impact on civilians, who account for more than 80 per cent of all IED- related casualties. The terrible effects of IEDs go beyond the immediacy of the blast, however, to include wider and more intangible social and political effects, such as threatening or undoing fragile peace-building efforts, breaking brittle economic development and deepening insecurities. 

And yet, despite these devastating consequences, there is still no standardised approach to even define and categorise this threat; nor are there formalised international standards for their disposal and removal in a humanitarian context. Based on research conducted in partnership with Chatham House, and to begin countering the threat posed by IEDs, the report recommends:

  • Strengthened strategic direction and institutional leadership.
  • The need for a clear, internationally agreed definition of IEDs
  • Internationally recognised standards for IED disposal and removal in humanitarian contexts