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Cluster Munition Remnants Survey

Cluster Munition Remnants Survey

To effectively address cluster munition remnants, Norwegian People’s Aid has developed an evidence-based survey system that takes into account the unique characteristics of Cluster Munition Remnants contamination in many parts of the world. The methodology, known as Cluster Munition Remnant Survey (CMRS), has proven highly efficient and effective in defining accurate Confirmed Hazardous Areas (CHAs). Five main activities apply when setting out to identify and release areas containing cluster munition remnants in any given context: desk assessment, non-technical survey, impact assessment, technical survey, and clearance. Contaminated areas are identified and subsequently released following combinations of these activities.

The phases of approach for the CMRS are as follows:

The first-phase of the CMRS is the desk assessment. The purpose is to assess and identify areas that may be contaminated with cluster munition remnants. A desk assessment involves study of historical records, including bombing data when available, victim data and other central sources of information. An essential component of the desk assessment is to develop an appropriate information management system and methods of assessing information. The desk assessment will normally reveal potentially contaminated areas where evidence based-survey is needed.

Non-technical survey is a semi-intrusive, on-the ground activity conducted to verify information from the desk assessment. Well-trained survey teams study and analyse data from the desk assessment prior to gathering information from informants and visiting suspected sites. The survey focuses particularly on visible evidence of cluster munition remnants (evidence points), bomb casings, and other evidence that may help establish the contaminated area. Non-technical survey staff will, when appropriate, walk randomly into suspected areas to look for evidence of cluster munition remnants. The nontechnical survey is sometimes combined with an impact assessment whose purpose is to identify socio-economic impact from cluster munition remnants and guide prioritization of follow-on technical survey and clearance.

Non-technical survey can sometimes define fairly accurate Confirmed Hazardous Area (CHA) polygons (affected areas). At other times non-technical survey must be reinforced with elements of technical survey for improved accuracy of the CHA polygons. In the technical survey phase, clearance assets are used in an information gathering context where the aim is to learn about the strike and the footprint, as opposed to ensuring the removal of all cluster munition remnants. The key to efficient technical survey is to focus more on when no evidence of cluster munition remnants is found after a reasonable survey effort and to cancel these areas. In summary, the output from technical survey is either to reinforce non-technical survey for the purpose of defining accurate CHA polygons or to disconfirm any suspicion of cluster munition contamination.

Follow-on clearance becomes the final phase and the last method to be taken into use. Personnel do not commit clearance resources to an area before they have actually concluded there is confirmed cluster munition contamination, before personnel know how large the polygon is, which resources personnel wish to use, and where and when they should be deployed.