LINKS Europe has launched a consultation process across the South Caucasus on the future of the regional campaign Landmine Free South Caucasus, and is asking stakeholders across the region to help design and develop the next stage of the campaign. In an appeal, which was also published on the newsletter, South Caucasus Landmine Observer, the co-ordinator of the Campaign, Maximiliaan van Lange wrote:
• What are the issues that should be highlighted;
• How to better connect the campaign with the policy debate around landmines in the region, and with the operational side of the actual demining process;
• How we can galvanise international support and solidarity for a landmine free South Caucasus;
• How to involve more local stakeholders in the campaign;
• How to organise the campaign going forward, and how to fund the campaign now that the current EU funding has expired.
The South Caucasus is one of the most highly landmine-contaminated regions in the world. Whilst the problem affects Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia differently none can say they have eradicated it. Contamination by landmines and other unexploded remnants of war remains a major problem for the future development of the region and a real risk to life.
LINKS Europe has since 2018 been promoting the importance of a holistic, region-wide approach to clear the South Caucasus of landmines completely. Following a meeting in Tbilisi in October 2018 at which key stakeholders from the three countries and from the international community were present, we launched the regional campaign LANDMINE FREE SOUTH CAUCASUS, with the first event taking place on 4 April 2019.
In his appeal, Van Lange wrote:
"We are pleased to have had the opportunity to co-ordinate this information and awareness-raising campaign over the last five years, navigating the very difficult regional political context, and not being defeated by the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a regional effort delivered in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia with the participation of demining agencies, official bodies and civil society organisations. The campaign has held dozens of activities across the region with the participation of thousands of people, produced more than twenty information and education videos in the five campaign languages: Armenian, Azerbaijan, Georgian, English and Russian; and distributed tens of thousands of publications and information materials.
We publish quarterly the electronic newsletter, South Caucasus Landmine Observer, which goes out to thousands of subscribers, and we have had a very high engagement with our online presence during key campaign moments.
At the policy level, we were pleased to host a number of policy meetings with the participation of Ministers, diplomats, MPs, senior officials and NGO activists. We worked closely with partners in the three countries and are grateful for the support and encouragement we have received.
Throughout our work we have given special attention to the fate of the victims of landmines and their communities, emphasising that demining is first and foremost a humanitarian endeavour."
The campaign LANDMINE FREE SOUTH CAUCASUS is co-ordinated by LINKS Europe working with partners from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and beyond, with the support of the European Union.
You can download and read the compendium of the activities in 2019 here.
Read more general information about the campaign LANDMINE FREE SOUTH CAUCASUS here.
"After five years, during which the campaign has become a recognised brand, we believe that it is now time to renew it and relaunch it for the next years, with more active participation by local stakeholders. We remain convinced that a regional approach is not only helpful but necessary, despite the obvious difficulties such an approach entails."
All stakeholders are encouraged to contribute to this consultation process by sending their views in a short written format by 15 February 2024. Please send your comments to Maximiliaan van Lange at email@example.com.
This is an open process, so all views are welcome, and all views will be made public.
In parallel, and separately to the work on the Landmine Free South Caucasus campaign, LINKS Europe is continuing its engagement with the policy debate in the region on landmine issues, through contacts with governments and the international community, and we continue with our efforts to mobilise international support and solidarity for the objective of achieving a landmine free South Caucasus.
source: LINKS Europe (The Hague)