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Landmine Impact Survey

Landmine Impact Survey

Landmines and duds still pose a major obstruction to people's daily lives, especially for those living in rural districts: many areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina are still off-limits – there isn't enough information about their hazards. That's why the Landmine Impact Survey (LIS), conducted in 2002 and 2003, gathered information about communities affected by landmines and duds, and classified the areas by priority (high/medium/low).

LIS teams travelled across the entire region, gathering information from residents about where battles had taken place, where minefields were suspected to be, where ammunition had been found, and where accidents with mines or duds had occurred. Areas already cleared of mines – either through community initiatives, or with the help of mine-clearers – were also noted. The teams also determined which areas were shunned by residents, and why. The interviews were written down, and simple maps showing the landmine locations were attached.

On completion of the survey in the Fall of 2003, the maps and transcripts were evaluated. The findings provided a framework for further mine-clearing activities in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The mine clearing priority depends primarily on how much a community has been burdened by mines and duds. It's not always easy to set the priority levels unequivacably and amicably.

How, for instance, will tourism develop in a country where many people are still afraid to walk in the forests near Sarajevo, for fear of mines?

The Landmine Impact Survey carries much responsibility. In the past, Bosnia-Herzegovina's primary economy was agriculture – it had very little industry, and despite its scenic and historical attraction, very little tourism. Proximity to the wealthier EU countries necessitates a re-thinking of this economic structure, as do the changing needs and interests of the citizens. The Landmine Impact Survey's findings will be decisive and relevant to Bosnia-Herzegovina's future.