APOPO attend NDM-UN in Geneva, Switzerland.

The 23rd International Meeting of Mine Action National Directors and UN Advisers (NDM-UN23) was held from 11 to 14 February 2020 at the United Nations Office in Geneva. The discussions were guided by the theme “Mine Action for People and Planet: Solutions, Commitments and Action.” Over 500 participants attended the meeting, including National Directors of Mine Action programs, United Nations advisers, donor representatives, academics, civil society and the private sector from more than 80 countries.

It provided an excellent opportunity for APOPO to meet and network with partners and donors. APOPO attended NDM-UN23 with a strong team: Håvard Bach, Michael Heiman, Ashley S. Fitzpatrick, Anna Bouchier and Charlie Richter who met with a range of different mine action stakeholders and potential partners. Historically the demining sector has been largely male-dominated. As we begin to see more women entering the sector, this conference reflected this with almost equal representation from men and women. APOPO too tries to ensure that both men and women have equal access to the benefits of mine clearance through employment opportunities and training.

The mine action sector seems to be moving towards closing some of the policy and operational gaps between providing humanitarian support and building the foundations for sustainable development. The impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war has grown in scale and complexity over the years and we noticed a greater appreciation for the 17 SDGs and how they are linked.

APOPO stands out as a visible and credible organisation and there was considerable interest in our work at the meeting. Some direct outcomes from the meetings were that we gained insight into funding mechanisms and meetings with potential partners provided invaluable opportunities for informal networking within the wider mine action sector.