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Simon Cleobury

UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament

14th January 2021 Geneva, Switzerland

Innovative Finance in Mine Action

At last November’s Meeting of States Parties of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, the UK announced that it would be funding research to investigate and provide recommendations on innovative financing options for the mine action sector. I am pleased to say that, after a competitive tender process, our Mine Action Team in London has appointed Social Finance to carry out this research, with the HALO Trust as its subcontractor.

Mine ActionThe research will be into finance options for the mine action sector beyond traditional donor Official Development Assistance. The research will consider a range of options, including social impact bonds, variations of public-private partnerships and blended finance, and corporate social responsibility. The final report will make recommendations to the mine action sector on which are the most promising and how they might be pursued. The plan is for the report to be completed in time for the writers to be able to present their findings to the Mine Action national Director’s Meeting in May.

It is estimated that there is a $1billion shortfall in funding to deliver the 2025 aspiration of a world free of landmines. There is also an imbalance in funding, which limits progress that some mine affected countries can make towards becoming mine free. The funding gap is only likely to get bigger because of the budgetary pressures on the traditional donors caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This means it is all the more important that we have this conversation about alternative funding now, even though it is challenging. We will need to be creative and innovative and we will need everyone to contribute.

Over the past few years there has been plenty of discussion in the broader development community around ‘alternative development financing’. However, that has not been the case in the mine action community. Given this, I was really pleased to see the positive reaction to our announcement in November. I was also delighted by the feedback for the side event that HALO organised on Alternative Finance for Mine Action and Development. I hope this means that when the researchers present their recommendations later in the year, there will be a high level of engagement from the sector and that we can move the conversation forward, at this critical time.

Finally, it is worth recalling the Political Declaration agreed to by States Parties in Oslo at the end of 2019, in which they stated: “We will explore options for new and alternative sources of funding with a view to increasing the resources available to realise the Convention’s aims.” This commitment is also contained in Action 42 of the Oslo Action Plan. As a way of fulfilling this commitment, I would urge all States Parties to think about how alternative finance might work for them – either as donors or as affected countries – and to share their thinking through their annual reports to the Convention.

3 comments on “Innovative Finance in Mine Action

  1. Dear Morgan,

    Thanks very much for your comment and the feedback. I would be happy to participate in your research. I could also connect you with colleagues in the mine action sector too.

    Best wishes,

  2. Hello,

    Really interesting read!

    My name is Morgan Hutcheson. I am currently a MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies postgraduate at the University of Strathclyde. This year, as part of my studies, I am writing a dissertation on how increased reliance on innovative financing will influence humanitarian mine action organisations’ environmental impact. This research will be conducted in collaboration with the Conflict and Environment Observatory.

    This research will synthesise the knowledge of humanitarian mine action organisations and innovative financing experts through the qualitative method of semi-structured interviews. As someone who I have identified as such, I am writing to ask if you may be willing to participate in my research?

    If interested, my email is

    Thank you for your time,

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