Glossary of terms
Below is a list of some the most commonly used terms.
Abandoned explosive ordnance (AXO) – 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 – 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.
Adherence – 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.
Antihandling device – 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.”
Antipersonnel 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.”
Antivehicle mine – 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 – 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 – 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 suspected hazardous area. Those areas falling outside this perimeter, or the entire area if deemed not to be mined, can be released.
Battle area clearance (BAC) – The systematic and controlled clearance of dangerous areas where the explosive hazards are known not to include landmines.
Casualty – 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.
Clearance –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.
Cleared land – A defined area cleared through the removal and/or destruction of all specified mine and ERW hazards to a specified depth.
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 explosive submunitions.” Cluster munitions consist of containers and submunitions. Launched from the ground or air, the containers open and disperse submunitions (or bomblets) over a wide area. Submunitions are typically designed to pierce armor, kill personnel, or both.
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.
Demining – 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.
Explosive remnants of war (ERW) – 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.
Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) – The detection, identification, evaluation, rendering safe, recovery, and disposal of explosive ordnance.
Improvised explosive device (IED) – 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. IEDs that can be activated by the presence, proximity or contact of a person (victim-activated) are banned under the Mine Ban Treaty, but command-detonated IEDs are not.
Improvised mine, also improvised landmine and improvised antipersonnel landmine – An IED acting as a mine, landmine or antipersonnel landmine.
International Mine Action Standards – 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.
Land release – 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.
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 mine action centers 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.
Non-state armed groups (NSAG) – For Landmine Monitor purposes, non-state armed groups 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.
Non-technical survey (NTS) – 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.
Reduced land – A defined area concluded not to contain evidence of mine/ERW contamination following the technical survey of a suspected or confirmed hazardous area.
Residual risk – 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.
Submunition – Any munition that, to perform its task, separates from a parent munition (cluster munition). All air-dropped submunitions are commonly referred to as “bomblets,” although the term bomblet has a specific meaning in the Convention on Cluster Munitions. When ground-launched, they are sometimes called “grenades.”
Survivors – People who have been directly injured by an explosion of a landmine, submunition, or other ERW and have survived the incident.
Suspected hazardous area (SHA) – An area where there is reasonable suspicion of mine/ERW contamination on the basis of indirect evidence of the presence of mines/ERW.
Technical survey (TS) – 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 submunitions – Submunitions that have failed to explode as intended, becoming unexploded ordnance.
Unexploded ordnance (UXO) – Unexploded ordnance (UXO) refers to munitions that were designed to explode but for some reason failed to detonate.
Victim – The individual killed or injured by a mine/ERW explosion (casualty), his or her family, and community.
Victim assistance – Victim assistance includes, but is not limited to, data collection and 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 September 2019.)