Landmines and local community adaptation

Aldo A. Benini, Lawrence H. Moulton, Charles E. Conley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite international mobilization for greater humanitarian mine action and despite considerable clearance achievements, the majority of mine-affected communities have not yet been involved in formal clearance activities. They adapt to the contamination largely by local means. The differing degree to which local adaptation is successful is now better understood as a result of the Global Landmine Survey, a multi-country survey project launched in the wake of the 1997 Ottawa treaty to ban anti-personnel mines. Socio-economic impact surveys have since been completed in several countries. In addition to landmines, the Global Landmine Survey records impacts also from unexploded ordnance (UXO). The ability to avoid mine incidents is used to measure adaptation success. We use a variant of Poisson regression models in order to identify community and contamination correlates of the number of recent landmine victims. We estimate separate models using data from the Yemen, Chad and Thailand surveys. We interpret them in a common framework that includes variables from three domains: Pressure on resources, intensity of past conflict and communities' institutional endowments. Statistically significant associations occur in all three domains and in all the three countries studied. Physical correlates are the most strongly associated, pointing to a lasting deadly legacy of violent conflict, but also significant learning effects over time are present. Despite different measurements of institutional endowments, in each country one factor signifying greater local development is correlated with reductions in victims, whereas factors commonly associated with the presence of government officials do not contribute to local capacity to diminish the landmine problem. Strong spatial effects are manifest in clusters of communities with recent victims. Two policy consequences emerge. Firstly, given humanitarian funding limits, trade-offs between clearing contaminated land and creating alternative employment away from that land need to be studied more deeply; the Global Landmine Survey will need to reach out to other bodies of knowledge in development. Secondly, communities with similar contamination types and levels often form local clusters that are smaller than the administrative districts of the government and encourage tailored planning approaches for mine action. These call for novel coalitions that bring advocacy and grassroots NGOs together with local governments, agricultural and forestry departments and professional mine clearance and awareness education agencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-l94
JournalJournal of Contingencies and Crisis Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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