Funding Dedicated to Assisting Victims

Posted on June 26, 2013


The Bangkok Symposium on Cooperation and Assistance:  Building Synergy Towards Effective Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Implementation

23-25 JUNE 2013, Bangkok

More than 100 experts and diplomats representing over 35 states and 10 international organizations and NGOs took part in the symposium, sponsored by Australia and Thailand and supported by the Mine Ban Convention’s ISU: Read a detailed summary of the Bangkok_Symposium.

Section II of the symposium was dedicated to the question: What do we know about funding dedicated to assisting victims of landmine and cluster munitions?

Dr. Prachaksvich Lebnak, (Ministry of Public Health of Thailand) facilitated the session and observed that the Convention obliges each State Party in a position to do so to “provide assistance for the care and rehabilitation, and social and economic reintegration, of mine victims.” Monitoring of States Parties’ efforts to comply with this obligation has focused on resources specifically dedicated as“victim assistance” funds. Yet, for over a decade States Parties have expressed their aim to fulfill this obligation by providing assistance through both targeted efforts and mainstream development cooperation.

Loren Persi,  (the Monitor) noted that “Victim assistance cooperation” must mean resources that reach the victims; and that assistance for landmine victims that emanates from donor States’ humanitarian funding mechanisms has been observed to reach survivors as well as enhance services for persons with disabilities in their communities. There is a need to continue supporting dedicated victim assistance activities and that it is important to monitor the impact of support which flows through healthcare, disability, employment, compensatory, social welfare and transitional justice frameworks.

Kerry Brinkert, (Convention’s ISU) highlighted that States Parties are providing funding for basic health care and health infrastructure and human rights that greatly exceeds the amount of funding which they label as victim assistance funding. The mine action community is not adequately measuring the amount of resources directed for matters that benefit mine victims. Also, measuring funding  may not be the right approach when what matters are the outcomes and impact of funding, be it labelled as victim assistance, or not.

Chizuru Kaneko, (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan) noted that assistance that Japan has been providing which has benefited mine victims may not have been distinctly noticeable to the Convention community. There are other important efforts by donors that are seemingly unrelated to victim assistance which should not be underestimated, and that national ownership is indispensable to achieving full social and economic inclusion of victims.

Theo Verhoeff, (ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled) recalled that landmine survivors are part of a broader population of individuals requiring similar physical rehabilitation services and that physical rehabilitation centers need to address all current and future physical rehabilitation needs, irrespective of the cause of the need. He added that what is more important is to focus on the ways and means of ensuring that the ultimate outcome is achieved – that lifelong physical rehabilitation needs are met – and that this involves a focus on sustainability from the outset, a long-term outlook and national ownership.

For an overview of the discussions on victim assistance funding in 2013 see the Landmine and Cluster Munition Blog post Inquiries into international cooperation and victim assistance.

[Banner image (c) Convention’s ISU.]