Afghanistan remains one of the countries most impacted by explosive hazards in the world, with an average monthly civilian casualty rate of over 120 in 2019, the majority of the casualties being children. Despite decades of mine action work, around 1,506.9 sq. Km of explosive hazard contaminated land remains, impacting 1,484 communities. The risk posed by ‘legacy contamination’ has been surpassed in recent years by anti-personnel mines of an improvised nature (APM/IN) and explosive remnants of war (ERW), which are the leading driver behind the high number of civilian casualties. Explosive hazard contamination is not only dangerous, and obstructs the delivery of humanitarian assistance, but is also an obstacle to national efforts to promote development as it undermines the reach and scope of development activities.
Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA):
The Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA) was the first humanitarian (i.e., non-military) mine action programme in the world and is still one of the largest, employing around 6400 Afghans. In total, 49 national and international humanitarian as well as commercial entities are delivering activities. Out of these ATC, DAFA, DDG, HALO Trust, MCPA, MDC, and OMAR are the major mine action partners in Afghanistan.
These partners, which include national and international actors, from both the private and not-for‐profit sectors, deliver a wide range of mine action services including manual demining, mechanically assisted clearance, mine dog detection assets, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), survey, explosive ordnance risk education, victim assistance activities, and data collection.
Directorate of Mine Action Coordination (DMAC):
The Directorate of Mine Action Coordination of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) is a regulatory body for the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan. Through its headquarters in Kabul and its seven regional offices, DMAC manages, coordinates, and oversees all mine action activities in Afghanistan.
United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS):
Established in 1997, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) works to eliminate the threat posed by mines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices by coordinating United Nations mine action, leading operational responses at the country level, and supporting the development of standards, policies, and norms. As a specialized service of the United Nations located within the Department of Peace Operations, UNMAS operates under UN legislative mandates of both the General Assembly and the Security Council. UNMAS also responds to specific requests for support from the UN Secretary-General or designated official. UNMAS is mandated to coordinate the mine action work of the United Nations system as Chair of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action (IACG-MA) and its subsidiary groups, a responsibility established by the General Assembly (A/RES/72/75) and confirmed by the Security Council in SCR 2365 (2017). UNMAS is also the global lead for the Mine Action Area of Responsibility within the Global Protection Cluster, as well as the Chair of the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) Review Board and its Steering Committee. UNMAS supports the entire UN system through a small team at headquarters, a humanitarian hub in Geneva, and some 3,000 women and men employed through UNMAS funding in the field. UNMAS is a specialized, agile organization, which delivers concrete results in dynamic operating environments across the world. UNMAS approach is needs-driven and people-centered, guided by humanitarian principles.
UNMAS Afghanistan is a programme under the overall direction and oversight of UNMAS New York and implemented by UNOPS under the Financial Regulations and Rules of UNOPS.
UNMAS Afghanistan supports the Afghan Directorate of Mine Action Coordination (DMAC), a directorate of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA), which coordinates, monitors and oversees the work of the humanitarian Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan (MAPA) and is a key government partner of UNMAS in Afghanistan.
Currently, due to the lack of resources and the right expertise, gender considerations are not well mainstreamed in MAPA projects, which impacts the quality of the projects: often women and girls are not consulted during the planning stages, they do not participate in handover ceremonies (or are even aware that clearance has been completed) and women do not benefit from the employment opportunities provided by mine action agencies. To help overcome these issues, UNMAS is seeking to hire qualified female Gender Mainstreaming Officers to support IPs in reviewing and aligning their strategic documents (e.g., work plans, project proposals or training materials) with gender mainstreaming considerations; as well as to support the incorporation of gender-inclusive approaches at the operational/project level by working closely with project teams. The latter will require frequent field visits to project sites to identify the various needs of different gender groups and develop a response plan accordingly.
Reporting line and coordination:
The hired Gender Mainstreaming Officers will have a dual reporting line to the selected implementing partner (primary) and UNMAS Afghanistan (secondary, as the coordinator of the initiative). Gender Mainstreaming Officers will work closely with the Gender Focal Point of the DMAC, who is responsible for the coordination of gender mainstreaming activities within the mine action sector in Afghanistan.
Gender Mainstreaming Officers will work out of the offices of the Implementing Partners.