Glossary of terms
Below is a list of the most commonly used terms and acronyms.
Abandoned explosive ordnance
Explosive ordnance that has not been used during an armed conflict, that has been left behind or dumped by a party to an armed conflict, and which is no longer under its control. Abandoned explosive ordnance is included under the broader category of explosive remnants of war.
Accession is the way for a state to become a party to an international treaty through a single instrument that constitutes both signature and ratification.
The act of becoming a party to a treaty. This can be through signature and ratification, or through accession.
“All reasonable effort”
Describes what is considered a minimum acceptable level of effort to identify and document contaminated areas or to remove the presence or suspicion of mines/ERW. “All reasonable effort” has been applied when the commitment of additional resources is considered to be unreasonable in relation to the results expected.
According to the Mine Ban Treaty, an antihandling device “means a device intended to protect a mine and which is part of, linked to, attached to or placed under the mine and which activates when an attempt is made to tamper with or otherwise intentionally disturb the mine."
According to the Mine Ban Treaty, an antipersonnel mine “means a mine designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person and that will incapacitate, injure or kill one or more persons."
According to the Mine Ban Treaty, an antivehicle mine is a mine designed “to be detonated by the presence, proximity or contact of a vehicle as opposed to a person."
Area cancellation describes the process by which a suspected hazardous area is released based solely on the gathering of information that indicates that the area is not, in fact, contaminated. It does not involve the application of any mine clearance tools.
Area reduction describes the process by which one or more mine clearance tools (e.g. mine detection dogs, manual deminers or mechanical demining equipment) are used to gather information that locates the perimeter of a suspect hazardous area. Those areas falling outside this perimeter, or the entire area if deemed not to be mined, can be released.
Battle area clearance
The systematic and controlled clearance of dangerous areas where the explosive hazards are known not to include landmines.
The person injured or killed in a landmine, ERW or IED incident, either through direct contact with the device or by being in its proximity.
Tasks or actions to ensure the removal and/ or the destruction of all mine and ERW hazards from a specified area to a specified depth.
A defined area cleared through the removal and/or destruction of all specified mine and ERW hazards to a specified depth.
Air-dropped cluster munition.
According to the Convention on Cluster Munitions a cluster munition is “A conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions each weighing less than 20 kilograms, and includes those submunitions.” Cluster munitions consist of containers and submunitions. Launched from the ground or air, the containers open and disperse submunitions (bomblets) over a wide area. Bomblets are typically designed to pierce armor, kill personnel, or both.
According to IMAS, “liaison with mine/ERW affected communities to exchange information on the presence and impact of mines and UXO, to create a reporting link with the mine action programme and develop risk reduction strategies. Community mine action liaison aims to ensure community needs and priorities are central to the planning, implementation and monitoring of mine action operations.”
Programs in affected communities (often rural areas) that are designed to supplement facility-based programs in urban centers. These programs improve service delivery, equal opportunities, and protect human rights for a larger group of people with disabilities who have limited access to service, due to uneven service distribution, high treatment cost, and limited human resource capacity.
Confirmed hazardous area
An area where the presence of mine/ERW contamination has been confirmed on the basis of direct evidence of the presence of mines/ERW.
The set of activities that lead to the removal of mine and ERW hazards, including survey, mapping, clearance, marking, and the handover of cleared land.
Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition
A type of cluster munition which can be used against both personnel and material targets, including armor.
Explosive ordnance disposal
The detection, identification, evaluation, render safe, recovery, and disposal of explosive ordnance.
Explosive remnants of war
Under Protocol V to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, explosive remnants of war are defined as unexploded ordnance and abandoned explosive ordnance. Mines are explicitly excluded from the definition.
Failed cluster munition
A cluster munition that has been fired, dropped, launched, projected or otherwise delivered and which should have dispersed or released its explosive submunitions but failed to do so.
International Mine Action Standards (IMAS)
International mine action standards issued by the UN to improve safety and efficiency in mine action by providing guidance, establishing principles and, in some cases, defining international requirements and specifications.
Improvised explosive device
A device placed or produced in an improvised manner incorporating explosives or noxious chemicals. An improvised explosive device (IED) may be victim-activated or command-detonated. Victim-activated IEDs are banned under the Mine Ban Treaty, but command-detonated IEDs are not.
Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA)
The UN’s preferred information system for the management of critical data in UN-supported field programs. IMSMA provides users with support for data collection, data storage, reporting, information analysis, and project management activities.
In relation to Article 21 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions interoperability refers to joint military operations with states not party to the convention that might engage in activities prohibited to a State Party.
The process of applying all reasonable effort to identify, define, and remove all presence and suspicion of mines/ERW with the minimum possible risk involving the identification of hazardous areas, the cancellation of land through non-technical survey, the reduction of land through technical survey, and the clearance of land with actual mine/ERW contamination.
Landmine Impact Survey
A national or regional assessment of the socioeconomic impact on communities caused by the actual or perceived presence of mines and ERW, in order to assist the planning and prioritization of mine action programs and projects.
Mine action center
A body charged with coordinating day-to-day mine action operations, normally under the supervision of a national mine action authority. Some MACs also implement mine action activities.
Mine/ERW risk education
Activities which seek to reduce the risk of injury from mines and ERW by awareness-raising and promoting behavioral change, including public information dissemination, education and training and community mine action liaison.
National mine action authority
A governmental body, normally interministerial in nature, responsible for managing and regulating a national mine action program.
Non-state armed groups
For Landmine Monitor purposes, non-state armed groups (NSAGs) include organizations carrying out armed rebellion or insurrection, as well as a broader range of non-state entities, such as criminal gangs and state-supported proxy forces.
The collection and analysis of data, without the use of technical interventions, about the presence, type, distribution, and surrounding environment of mine/ERW contamination, in order to define better where mine/ERW contamination is present, and where it is not, and to support land release prioritization and decision-making processes through the provision of evidence. Non-technical survey activities typically include, but are not limited to, desk studies seeking information from central institutions and other relevant sources, as well as field studies of the suspected area.
The diplomatic process undertaken from 2006–2008 that led to the negotiation, adoption, and signing of the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.
A defined area concluded not to contain evidence of mine/ERW contamination following the technical survey of a suspected or confirmed hazardous area.
In the context of humanitarian demining, the term refers to the risk remaining following the application of all reasonable efforts to remove and/or destroy all mine or ERW hazards from a specified area to a specified depth.
Those actions which lessen the probability and/or severity of physical injury to people, property, or the environment due to mines/ERW. Risk reduction can be achieved by physical measures such as clearance, fencing or marking, or through behavioral changes brought about by mine/ERW risk education.
Under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, automatically rendering a munition inoperable by making an essential component (e.g. a battery) non-functional.
Under the Convention on Cluster Munitions an “incorporated automatically-functioning mechanism which is in addition to the primary initiating mechanism of the munition and which secures the destruction of the munition into which it is incorporated.”
Any munition that, to perform its task, separates from a parent munition (cluster munition).
A study of the assessment of the location and impact of mines and ERW at the local or national level. General survey focuses on the location of mined and battle areas and the type of contamination they contain. A landmine impact survey also assesses the impact of explosive contamination on nearby communities (see separate definition for landmine impact survey). Technical survey aims to confirm and identify the outer perimeters of the hazardous area using one or more demining tools and to gather other necessary information for clearance.
People who have been directly injured by an explosion of a landmine, submunition, or other ERW and have survived the incident.
Suspected hazardous area
An area where there is reasonable suspicion of mine/ERW contamination on the basis of indirect evidence of the presence of mines/ERW.
The collection and analysis of data, using appropriate technical interventions, about the presence, type, distribution, and surrounding environment of mine/ERW contamination, in order to define better where mine/ERW contamination is present, and where it is not, and to support land release prioritization and decision-making processes through the provision of evidence. Technical survey activities may include visual search, instrument-aided surface search, and shallow- or full sub-surface search.
Unexploded cluster munitions
Submunitions that have failed to explode as intended, becoming unexploded ordnance.
Unexploded ordnance (UXO) refers to munitions that were designed to explode but for some reason failed to detonate; unexploded submunitions are known as “blinds” or “duds.”
The individual killed or injured by a mine/ERW explosion (casualty), his or her family and community.
Victim assistance includes, but is not limited to, casualty data collection, needs assessment, emergency and continuing medical care, physical rehabilitation, psychological support and social inclusion, economic inclusion, and laws and public policies to ensure the full and equal integration and participation of survivors, their families and communities in society.
(Last updated June 2015.)