In the last two years, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) Iraq has conducted detailed research into its management and delivery of improvised explosive device (IED) clearance activities. Some of this research has already been published, providing a more detailed insight into how operational efficiency and effectiveness can be developed from models and tools derived from on-the-ground evidence. Much of this research has been shown to have real-world application. The purpose of this research has actually been quite simple: show that when methodologically sound observation and analysis are contextualized within an operational mine action environment there can be clear and demonstrable benefits in clearance output as well as value for money. For UNMAS Iraq, the results of this work have manifested in more sophisticated understandings of the operational environment, a logical basis for the structuring of clearance teams, and an evolution of procurement processes. In addition, this research has also driven a more innovative and open-minded approach to the delivery of clearance—see, for example, the recently published analysis of the use of mechanical equipment in IED clearance from UNMAS Iraq.[1] However, this research not only has value in terms of innovation and thought leadership, it also helps demonstrate a far more striking dynamic—that conceptual clarity can also directly drive evolution in the delivery of humanitarian mine action (HMA) activities.



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