Mission Creep or Responding to Wider Security Needs? The Evolving Role of Mine Action Organisations in Armed Violence Reduction
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Advocacy and International Law, Development, Mission Creep
Since the late 1980s, mine action organisations have focused their efforts on reducing the social, economic and environmental impacts of anti-personnel mines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) through a broad range of activities, including survey, clearance, mine risk education (MRE), victim assistance, stockpile destruction and advocacy. In recent years, an increasing number of mine action organisations are using their mine action technical expertise and their capacities to operate in difficult environments to reduce armed violence and promote public safety. Several organisations now have armed violence reduction (AVR)-related policies, programmes and staff in place. Some may argue that this shift towards AVR is a diversion from the core mandate of mine action organisations. But does this represent a loss of focus and thereby ‘mission creep' on the part of these organisations? This practice note examines the factors underlying the evolving role of mine action organisations, discusses how these new programmes are contributing to the wider domain of AVR and explores whether these new programmes have resulted in a loss of organisational focus.