The Government of Iraq viewed rehabilitation of infrastructure contaminated with explosives during the conflict with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as a prereqisite to socioeconomic recovery and political stability, which, in turn, established a need for the mine action community to deploy qualified, certified clearance teams as quickly as possible. While these teams could deploy quickly, their reliance on international staff and their associated costs attributable to security and other factors introduced a high overhead business model that became an accepted standard during a first clearance phase from 2015 to 2019, despite the understanding that this model could not be sustained indefinitely. A shift in donor priorities and reduced budgets effectively introduced a second clearance phase beginning in 2020. The challenge to the mine action community became the development of a more cost-effective, time-senstive approach to clearance so as to reduce costs and spending levels that were acceptable to donors, without compromising clearance standards.

In response, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) Iraq through its (1) evidence-based analysis and measurement of data and (2) effects-based approach to clearance delivery introduced a low cost, high return business model. This model offered a more efficient approach when compared to previous like-for-like models, in addition to providing useful tool sets applicable for other locations and conditions similar to those found in Iraq.

As of December 2017, west Mosul was heavily contaminated not only with explosive remnants of war (ERW) but also with what proved to be thousands of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) left by ISIL. These devices denied access to sites and infrastructure, thereby delaying the complicated task of render safe/removal efforts consistent with international standards.1,2



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