The Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) celebrates 20 years
Until the 1980s, tens of thousands of people – mostly civilians – were killed and maimed every year by anti-personnel mines. These indiscriminate weapons were also significantly hampering humanitarian action, post-conflict recovery and development efforts. This situation led to the adoption of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in 1997.
To further strengthen the engagement in the cause and to promote the implementation of the Convention, the Swiss government founded the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) in 1998. The city of Geneva, as a point of convergence of humanitarian and disarmament affairs, was a natural choice for the location of the Centre.
In the 20 years of its existence, the GICHD has helped to significantly professionalize the sector through technical expertise and training, work at a multilateral level and research & development. But despite important achievements of the sector - 30 countries cleared of mines in the last 20 years - contamination from mines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war remains significant.
The situation is further exacerbated by the use of new types of improvised explosive devices, which have caused a new spike in the number of victims. This is why, more than ever, the work of the GICHD is necessary and relevant.