Bosnia and Herzegovina

Cluster Munition Remnants

Anti-Personnel Mines

  • Article 5 deadline

    1 March 2027

  • Performance

    Average

Performance Criterion Score
Understanding of anti-personnel mine contamination (20% of overall score) 5
National ownership and programme management (10% of overall score) 5
Gender (10% of overall score) 5
Information management and reporting (10% of overall score) 5
Planning and tasking (10% of overall score) 7
Land release system (20% of overall score) 7
Land release outputs and Article 5 compliance (20% of overall score) 4
Performance score 5.4

Key Developments

In 2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was granted a request to extend its Article 5 deadline by a further six years to 1 March 2027.

The European Union (EU)-funded country assessment project, which took place from July 2018 to May 2020, consisted of non-technical survey of all remaining areas suspected to be mined. The project grouped together suspected hazardous areas (SHAs) and confirmed hazardous areas (CHAs) into logical units/polygons based on economic, cultural, geographical, or other reasons, encompassing one or more impacted communities, in what the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre (BHMAC) terms “Mine Suspected Areas” (MSAs). The MSAs will then be assigned as single organisational tasks to clearance operators for land release.

However, despite one of the aims of the country assessment project being to improve BiH’s baseline of anti-personnel mine contamination, the assessment did not result in a significant amount of cancellation of mined area. This appears to be largely the result of the decision by BHMAC to only cancel uncontaminated area once technical survey and clearance in each MSA has been fully completed.

According to targets in its 2020 Article 5 extension request, BiH had expected to release a total of 71.8km2 in 2020. It appears that actual output has fallen far short, with only 0.53km2 cleared in 2020 (29km2 of CHA and 0.24km2 of MSA released through combined technical investigation and clearance), 2.57km2 reduced, and 13.04km2 cancelled.


Recommendations for Action

  • The amended demining law drafted in 2017, which has still to be adopted, should be revised further and re-submitted to Parliament for adoption. Liability policy and clearly defining “all reasonable effort” in the context of BiH should be discussed in parallel with the revision of the amended draft law.
  • BiH should implement the recommendations of both the 2015 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Mine Action Governance and Management Assessment, and the 2016 performance audit report of the Audit Office of the Institutions of BiH,[1] both of which remain valid. In particular, BiH should continue reforming and strengthening the governance and management of the mine action programme.
  • BHMAC should fully adopt international best practice in land release and ensure that all stakeholders, in all parts of BiH (including BHMAC’s regional offices), are consistent in their approach, in particular regarding the use of evidence-based survey to more accurately identify and delineate areas of actual contamination prior to clearance, releasing areas found not to be contaminated.
  • As part of efforts to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of land release operations, BHMAC should review and update relevant national mine action standards (NMAS) to bring them in line with the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), in collaboration between demining organisations and other implementing partners. To facilitate this process, BHMAC should consider re-establishing technical working groups (TWGs).
  • BHMAC should develop a detailed, costed, and multi-year Article 5 work plan with achievable and measurable milestones and update its national mine action strategy for 2018–25 accordingly.
  • BiH should fully embrace the “Country Coalition” approach, in partnership with Germany, which can provide a forum for regular dialogue among all mine action stakeholders to strengthen coordination and identify and overcome challenges.
  • BHMAC should report more accurately and consistently on the extent of anti-personnel mine contamination, including using the classification of SHA and CHA in a manner consistent with IMAS.
  • In its reporting, BHMAC should disaggregate release through technical survey from release through clearance, including with regard to processing of MSAs. Furthermore, BHMAC should ensure it reports the amount of mined area cancelled through non-technical survey upon completion of release of each MSP.
  • BHMAC should provide information on what steps it plans to take to further mainstream gender and diversity within its mine action programme and strive to improve gender balance in the sector, at the least by meeting the target of 40% female staff set by the 2003 Law on Gender Equality.
 

[1] UNDP, Draft Mine Action Governance and Management Assessment for BiH, 13 May 2015; and Audit Office of the Institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Performance Audit Report. Efficiency of the Demining System in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, No. 01-02-03-10-16-1-1101/16, 4 November 2016, p. 22.


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