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Mine fields

Demined Mine-Fields

IntroductionIn many parts of the world conflicts between different groups have left societies with dangerous minefields. The clearing of these minefields is a dangerous job that needs to be done by well trained experts using special equipment. For this purpose the experts use public resources to accomplish their job that is in the common interest of the public. This example of a choice shows how the public interest can be structured in determining the priorities in demining. It originates from Croatia that came out the 1997 war with approximately 1,350 km2 of its territory being unsafe because of the mines and unexploded material scattered all over the country mostly along the former confrontation lines. They form a threat for the citizens and the further economic and social development of the country.In 2004, in the region of Sisak were a large number of fields that needed to be de-mined. Rumours were that the transparency of National Demining Agency (NDA) was questionable; it was engaged in a court case with one embassy on misuse of funds and another embassy had decided not to finance its demining activities, because of this reputation. In close cooperation with the the NDA's Plan, Analysis and Finance Division, this example was developed. It makes it possible to rank the fields for demining in a transparent manner based on the data available on each mine field.

WEIGHTINGThe chart shows the structure of the choice example. This is the "Head" part of a choice. It looks if it is in balance and the weights are equally spread over goals and objectives. The changing in weights of the different components of the structure is the "Guts" part of a choice. At the highest level the three goals "Threat", "Impact" and "Cost" can be given each a weight. Here a party with an interest in financing demining could indicate why and where, in what fields it prefers to support the demining: For example a humanitarian agency might emphasize "Threat"; a rural development organization could prefer "Impact" and an agency that prefers to demine as many as possible fields would emphasize "Cost" efficiency.At the levels below a goal also weights can be changed. At the level of "Threat", it is possible to give a different weight to 'ATM', 'APM' and 'UXO' to emphasise the types of mines that have priority for being demined; at the "Impact" level weights can be given to the 'Number of people', the distance to the 'Nearest dwelling' and 'Nearest road' and, to 'Land-use' and its four types under forest, pasture, arable land or buildings; Under "Cost" one can distinguish between 'Total cost' and 'Cost/ha' for having first the cheapest field demined or the field where demining is most efficient in terms of cost/ha.

The data on 17 minefields are entered in an Excel workbook which contains three groups of sheets. One group with the data records per minefield including NDA information on slope, Soil condition, days required to demine, Demining Method. This makes it possible to explain and justify differences in costs. In the next group of sheets it is possible to do the weighing. The third group shows the ranking of the alternatives. The contents of the Excel workbook is shown in the PDF file here on the left. The last pages of the PDF file show examples on how the changing in weights have an effect on the priority ranking of the fields. One can open this PDF file, by clicking on the button on the left. A click on the "Movie ON" buton shows in a movie the Exel sheets and the effects of weighting. The Excel file also can be obtained. A click on the button opens a secured "PayPal" site where after having paid €10 for the file with Paypal or a credit card it will be possible in a "Click2Pay" site to download the file.

In ConclusionIn this example it shows that when most weight is on "Cost," mine-field 12 ranks first, when most weight is given to the "Threat", mine-field 5 ranks first and mine-field 12 still comes second. In case most weight is put in the goal "Impact", the mine-field 5 is first in rank and field 12, 4th. This shows that in this case by the changing of the weights, one can determine that in all circumstances both fields 5 and 12 should have to be demined soonest.This demonstrates that with an Excel workbook application, a piece of software that is available at most peoples’ PC, the process on deciding where and why to go first in demining can be done in a transparent way. It makes it easy to check and understandable for all parties involved. The persons in charge of the allocation of funds for demining can easily and in a flexible manner be made understood and convinced that a certain minefield should have priority and the spending of public resources is justified. They also can easily evaluate the demining costs of the mine-filed proposed based on the parameters shown in the records which make it possible to compare of the costs of a particular field with those recorded for different minefields.




A zero threat from mines; all anti-personal mines (APM), anti tank mines (ATM) and other unexploded objects (UXO) should be made un-harmful. The HCR minefields database had obtained records from the former enemy, the Croatian army, the police and information from the field. They show that in 1998 were: 172,973 APM, which are most dangerous for humans; 101,621 Anti-Tank Mines (ATM), which form a threat to vehicles like agricultural equipment, tractors and construction vehicles; an unknown number of Un-Exploded Objects (UXO) which is a mixture of grenades, shells and other war debris. Many UXOs were un-recorded and a guess is that there are one-third more in total than the others.

A zero Impact on the community; the chance that mines will harm people should be zero. The impact minefields can have is determined by their location in terms of four variables: 1. The distance between a minefields and the nearest dwelling; 2.The number of people living in this dwelling; 3.The distance between a minefield and the nearest road; 4.Type of land use of the mined field: forest (weight=1), pasture(weight=2), arable land(weight=3) and lands under constructions(weight=4).

Cost efficiency; demining will be carried out in a cost efficient and transparent manner. NDA records on mine fields had estimates of the fixed and variable costs for each field. The fixed costs are the overhead cost of the NDA spread over the fields to be demined. The variable costs determined by the size of the field, together with specific characteristics like: 1. Its slope (%), the steeper the more difficult it is to de-mine and the higher the costs; 2. Soil condition, HCR use five categories in difficulty to clean; 3. Days needed; 4. De-mining method, expressed as a percentage of mechanisation. In the fields where the use de-mining machines is possible costs will be less than where demining specialists must check and de-mine manually using mine detectors or special trained dogs.

The decision structureThe aim of demining is a society without mine-fields. The three goals for de-mining are:

An ATM forms a severe threat because, hidden in the ground they are difficult to see and can harm and kill people that step on them

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