A DYNAMIC INFORMATION EXCHANGE PLATFORM ON MITIGATING THE THREATS OF IEDs FOR THE UNITED NATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are the weapon of choice for non-state armed groups today, causing more than
They threaten civilian populations and the United Nations (UN) peacekeepers, and humanitarian actors. The increase in both the number and variety of IED incidents makes it necessary for stakeholders to take a proactive approach to mitigate the threat posed by these devices to be ahead in the IED Arms Race.
In his 2018 Agenda for Disarmament, “Securing our common future”, the Secretary-General recognized the need for greater coherence within the United Nations system in its approach to addressing the threats posed by IEDs and committed that:
“United Nations entities, under the leadership of the United Nations Mine Action Service, in cooperation with the Office for Disarmament Affairs and other relevant United Nations entities, will promote a strengthened and coherent United Nations inter-agency coordination on improvised explosive devices to ensure a whole-of-system approach.”
In support of a UN whole-of-system approach to information-sharing and identification of effective IED threat responses, United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) developed the SMART IED Threat Mitigation Technology Roadmap (SMiTMiTR) as one of the tools for IED threat mitigation.
It is a dynamic information exchange platform that compiles and shares the latest generic information on global IED threats and on the technology available to mitigate them.
This innovative interactive platform categorizes IED threats and identifies technologies that can help to create standards in quest of smart solutions and ultimately providing the best available solutions to mitigate the IED threat. SMiTMiTR is designed in close collaboration with the Member States, UN entities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), research institutes, and commercial companies to present existing detection, prevention and mitigation technologies as well as to support the development of IED mitigation technologies that are not yet available.
What sets SMiTMiTR apart from the other platforms is the shared knowledge, cross-referenced data and coordinated actions among the partners involved. The platform of SMiTMiTR offers open access to unclassified information tailored to IED related technologies and connects users in need of technological solutions with current research and available technologies. Users will be able to access, search, see and link information, while UNMAS will host the database, update and enrich the content through linking it to other existing categories.
What is SMiTMiTR
The SMART IED Threat Mitigation Technology Roadmap, SMiTMiTR, is developed with three goals in mind:
One, to enable all UN entities involved in IED Threat Mitigation to increase safety when working in an IED threat environment;
Two, to achieve maximum synergy between the efforts aimed at dealing with the current and future threat and the efforts aimed at proactively identifying as well as meeting the needs of UN entities operating in missions, developments in the market and new scientific insights;
Three, to solve the current issues of the sector-wide IED Threat Mitigation knowledge and information management.
The effective utilization of IED Threat Mitigation knowledge and information management throughout the whole system, UN organizations and external stakeholders is critical for achieving the goals of UN IED threat mitigation partners.
As a strategic resource, IED Threat Mitigation knowledge and information management requires an ongoing assessment of its use, but its sector-wide management remains a challenge for organizations. This is because it is difficult for organizations to systematically and efficiently develop, organize, share and integrate IED Threat Mitigation knowledge and information management to achieve their cross-cutting goals. Already available information, technology and lessons learned from recent conflicts with high IED threats, mainly based on military research and development, is often classified and cannot be accessed easily by the United Nations.
SMiTMiTR hopes to help solve the problem of sector-wide IED Threat Mitigation knowledge and information management by ensuring that the improved information sharing will not compromise the weaknesses of any current system or become a manual for insurgent actors. Only generic information about IEDs (derived from assessed IED incidents) and trends will be used and shared under the threat category on the platform and based on the UNMAS IED lexicon. Classified or restricted information from the reporting of IED incidents will stay within the originating entity and will not be shared.
A Deeper Look
In technical terms, SMiTMiTR works by connecting the identified threats to the best available mitigation technology and the current technology will connect with SMART industry initiatives to improve mitigation equipment, with the goal of remaining ahead of the insurgent IED cycle.
To further understand how SMiTMiTR may be used in real life, here is a simplified example: When an organization discovers that a new magnetically attached IED (MAIED) has been placed in a way that is different from previous observations, the new threat could be linked to current research activities in search of potential detection and available mitigation measures. If the current technology is not providing a solution, additional research will be required for new solutions. SMiTMiTR supports this process and a new threat can be instantly linked to existing technologies and provide on-the-spot options for protection and mitigation measures.
As important as the goals of SMiTMiTR are, however, it is insufficient to generate synergy by itself. Interdependence, willingness and motivation are strongly needed to set the stage for meaningful unified projects and for the actions needed to achieve the synergistic advantage. It is imperative to invest in achieving IED Threat Mitigation knowledge and information goals and to rely on the contributions of each other.
Please visit: https://smitmit.unmas.org to register for SMiTMiTR and contribute under one of the below options:
- UN IED Threat Mitigation
- Current and future IED threat analysis and partner organizations
- Scientific research organizations
- IED Threat Mitigation SMART industry partners
The objective of the SMiTMiTR Knowledge Management is getting the right information to the right people at the right time to help them share experiences and insights to improve safety in the IED threat mitigation working environment (See Figure 2).
It seeks to bring together the UN and International Partners to work collaboratively to generate an accurate and current global understanding of IED threats, connect these threats to the best technology available to mitigate each specific threat and link thistechnology to SMART industry initiatives to enhance future mitigation equipment.
UN capacity for the acquisition and development of scientific knowledge within IED threat mitigation is limited. UNMAS acquires and develops knowledge about the (evolving) IED threat to ensure that timely and effective action can be taken in the “IED arms race” (see Figure 3).
Looking forward, the priorities of SMiTMiTR are to analyze the current and future IED threat, know and connect to the scientific research networks and industry networks, expand the IED threat mitigation insights and to build the IED threat mitigation network.
The development of the UN SMART IED Threat Mitigation Technology Roadmap has just begun. The construction of a feasible IED Threat Mitigation Knowledge and Information Network is challenging and labour intensive. Developing each aspect – the UN IED Threat Mitigation Team of Experts, Scientific Research Networks, current and future IED Threat analysis and connecting to SMART industry initiatives is as important as it is difficult. According to Action on Armed Violence (AoAV), there were 14,000 IED victims in 2019. This staggering figure has shown the necessity of joining forces on all aspects of IED threat mitigationto bridge the gaps in the network so that casualties can be reduced among civilian populations, United Nations peacekeeping personnel and humanitarian responders.
Your contribution and expertise are invaluable for the success of SMiTMiTR. To participate, contribute, update content on the threat or technology side, or request additional background information, please contact the UNMAS IED Threat Mitigation Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
The findings, interpretations, and conclusions ex- pressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its officials or the Member States.
Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2020, from http://www.explosiveviolencedata.com/filters
General Assembly resolution 2365 (2017), on Mine Action, S/ RES/2365 (30 June 2017), available from undocs.org/S/ RES/2365(2017).
General Assembly resolution 74/80 (2019), Assistance in mine action, A/RES/74/80 (26 Dec 2019), available from undocs.org/pdf?symbol=en/A/RES/74/80.
UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF DISARMAMENT AFFAIRS. (2018). Securing Our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament. UN.