Final Evaluation for Clearence of Landmines in the Eastern Border Regions of Turkey (Demining Project - Phase I)

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Turkey
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
03/2018
Completion Date:
04/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
15,000

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Title Final Evaluation for Clearence of Landmines in the Eastern Border Regions of Turkey (Demining Project - Phase I)
Atlas Project Number: 00086968
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Turkey
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 04/2018
Planned End Date: 03/2018
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Democratic Governance
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 6.1. From the humanitarian phase after crisis, early economic revitalization generates jobs and other environmentally sustainable livelihoods opportunities for crisis affected men and women
Evaluation Budget(US $): 15,000
Source of Funding: Project Budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 14,216
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Nationality
Philip Archibald Law
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: EC
Countries: TURKEY
Lessons
Findings
1.

2. STRATEGIC POSITIONING, CONCEPT AND DESIGN

Project Planning
The overall objective of the UNDP Turkey project has been to contribute to social and economic development through demining and the creation of more secure borders in Eastern Turkey. The specific objective of the project has been to contribute to the prevention of illegal migration and crossborder crime on Turkey’s eastern borders by clearing the border regions of mines and providing effective humanitarian border surveillance tools for a technologically supported modern border surveillance system. UNDP Turkey was responsible for the implementation of the project and provided technical assistance for demining activities. This assistance was to include the following:

  • Project Management (Technical Assistance Team)
  • Adjusting the National Mine Action Standards for the area covered
  • Inception Activities
  •  Project quarterly and financial reports
  • Accreditation of the bids during tendering
  • Coordinating and contracting of clearance organizations
  •  Coordinating and contracting of Quality Assurance/control organizations
  • Conducting a post-clearance review and report on the project.

Tag: Mine Action Strategic Positioning Migration Technical Support

2.

As there was no National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) in Turkey when the project commenced, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on the 1st August 2013 between representatives of the Ministry of Interior (MoI), Turkish General Staff, Ministry of National Defence and Land Forces Command. This MOU agreed to ensure successful cooperation for mine clearance activities along the eastern borders of Turkey to take place.


The signatories to the MoU agreed to establish a “Project Implementation Committee” (PIC) that was to undertake duties such as managing and coordinating project activities, establishing cooperation between beneficiary institutions, following up on the project activities in cooperation with the contracting agency (UNDP) and project partners. The PIC for this project was intended to act as a de facto NMAA until a formal NMAA was established.


A NMAA is yet to be established and this has created challenges for UNDP and other stakeholders. This has required TURMAC to act as the authority for mine action as well as being responsible for mine action operations. The TURMAC reports to the Ministry for National Defence rather than to an interministerial NMAA. This contains mine action within defence priorities rather than interacting with other Ministries such as the Ministry for Interior, Ministry for Immigration, Ministry for Health, and Ministry for Education that may have a stake in mine action. This creates a potential conflict of duty for TURMAC and it is important that an NMAA is established to enhance the good governance of mine action operations in Turkey.


Tag: Mine Action Challenges Oversight

3.

The UNDP project document states that the purpose of the project was to clear known mined areas along the eastern borders of Turkey within a 24-month time frame. The document noted that the border regions Van, Agri, Igdir and Kars were all contaminated with anti-personnel mines, which have been surveyed, mapped, and marked with the minefield records held centrally by Land Forces Command. Due to the confidence in the accuracy of this information it was decided that surve capacity would not be required and the demining activities would need to include clearance, QA/QC (including post-clearance documentation) and the handover of cleared land.


Tag: Mine Action Operational Efficiency Quality Assurance

4.

Pre- Tender Planning
Soon after ratifying the APMBC, the Land Forces carried out a review of known minefields. This was a basic review and focused on the compilation and copying of minefield laying records and installing safety fences around known minefields. This effectively increased the size of the hazardous areas and the review concluded that there were 225 minefields that needed to be cleared on the eastern border.


There was an initial estimate that as the mines were laid to NATO standards and there were minefield maps the minefields could be cleared in two to three years.

There was an urgency from the Turkish Land Forces to “get this job done” which is understandable as this project was enabling improved border security for Turkey. This is a critical issue as it would be reducing the risk of “terrorists” entering the country as well as preventing illegal migration which is understandably a major concern for Turkey and Europe.

This urgency needs to be approached from Turkey’s perspective as the country is generously hosting 3,106,932 Syrian Refugees.13 This is the largest refugee population in the world and when combined with the long running struggle with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), two major terrorist attacks and a failed coup d’état in 2016 it is easy to understand Turkey’s desire to clear the border minefields and enhance their border protection as soon as possible.


Tag: Mine Action Policies & Procedures Programme/Project Design

5.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Risk Management

UNDP then signed a grant agreement with the Government of Turkey in partnership with the EU to clear 225 minefields along the eastern borders. An assessment of some of the minefields was conducted by a UNDP technical consultant together with a Turkish military officer in August 2014. This assessment had very limited access to the minefields and the minefield plans were not made available to the consultant as the Government had classified them as restricted information.

The assessment provided superficial information concerning the terrain and the minefields and insufficient data to develop an accurate assessment of requirements. Consequently, the work plan that was developed to clear the 225 minefields was not based on an accurate desktop analysis or a comprehensive non-technical survey. The assumptions that these minefields were laid to NATO Standards, that the Turkish Military had all of the minefield maps which would be released to UNDP and that this was therefore a simple task were not questioned and there were no contingencies in the event of them being proven incorrect.


Tag: Mine Action Monitoring and Evaluation Partnership Risk Management Country Government

6.

The Clearance Contract
UNDP Turkey assumed the responsibility for the project operations which is one of the largest single mine clearance projects that has been implemented anywhere in the world. Whilst UNDP had the responsibility, it did not have the authority for project operations. This remained with the government which had no mine action arrangements in place such as legislation to enable the use, transport and storage of explosives.

The timing was unfortunate as there was no UNDP corporate technical assistance available for mine action. UNDP had decided to temporarily close its global mine action programme meaning that minimal technical support was available to UNDP Turkey as it prepared to manage its first mine clearance project. UNDP usually plays a role where it supports the capacity development of national institutions who are responsible for mine action activities. In Turkey UNDP was assuming an operational role where it was responsible for the clearance and quality management contracts.


UNDP Turkey approached this project as one where services would be provided through a competitive tender and UNDP would then manage the contractor. This approach is understandable in some ways as UNDP Turkey had not previously managed a mine action programme. There were some fundamental strategic gaps with this approach. For example, it is not clear how this project fitted in with the UN Development Assistance Framework for Turkey and how it linked in with Turkey’s
commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


Tag: Mine Action Challenges Project and Programme management Country Government Operational Services

7.

The Clearance Tender
The RFP for the three demining lots was primarily based on the number of minefields to be cleared. The selected contractor bid for all three of the demining LOTS that were specified in the RFP. The price of their three bids was less than the other contractors bid for a single LOT. Mechem have since recognised this was a mistake on their part. The contractors were assessed as having similar technical capabilities and cost was the deciding factor. Mechem were then awarded all three LOTS despite
advice not to pursue this course of action. Many others interviewed for this review have commented, with hindsight, that more than one contractor should have been selected to promote efficiencies in the project.

The former UNDP Chief Technical Advisor was critical of the RFP which explained that most mined areas have been surveyed and identified and do not require any subsequent survey process. The RFP should have required the physical checking of minefields and this would have required non- technical survey on the minefields being put out for tender.

The second RFP concerned the quality management of the clearance contractor and this was awarded to RPS Energy. Part of the role involved the training and deployment of Quality Assurance (QA) Inspectors which was highly ambitious given the training requirements and the need for an immediate deployment as the clearance contractor was working when they deployed.

Based on the workplan to clear the minefields the clearance contractor then submitted a plan which was a list of minefield numbers fitted into two demining seasons. These demining seasons had a duration of eight months per year as a result of the need to stand down the clearance teams during the severe winter months. UNDP hoped that technical survey 17 activities could be applied when the clearance activities began. There were also hopes that a land release approach could be applied although there was no standard for such an approach in Turkey.


Tag: Operational Efficiency Policies & Procedures Project and Programme management Quality Assurance

8.

3. IMPLEMENTATION
The Establishment of TURMAC
During the preparations of the Project, the TURMAC was established in February 2015 with the “Law No: 6586 on Establishment of National Mine Action Centre and Amendments of Various Laws”. TURMAC is mandated to execute the actions to clear mines and/or unexploded ordnance for humanitarian purposes within the borders of the Republic of Turkey. The formal hand over of the Project from Ministry of Interior to TURMAC was done in November 2015 with a protocol signed between the parties.


Since the TURMAC was established during the preparations of the Project in February 2015, the management arrangements of the Project were revised and TURMAC assumed the responsibility for the execution of Component I of the Project (Component 1: Clearance of landmines in the eastern border regions of Turkey -Direct Grant Contract). In that respect, the management structure of the Project was revised ensuring that a Senior Project Officer or SPO, appointed by TURMAC and MoI will be responsible for the overall execution of the Project.

 


Tag: Mine Action Operational Efficiency

9.

Since the operations of demining and the establishment of TURMAC coincided, the capacity development activities become an urgent and vital requirement to ensure the successful implementation of project activities, clearance operations and to reinforce decision-making processes. UNDP has a focus on supporting governments and the organisation has a rich history of success in this field. As there was no mine action centre in Turkey prior to the establishment of TURMAC one would expect that the initial focus would have been to build a robust mine action centre and this would be expected to take two years in Turkey. In the rush to begin the clearance work the establishment of a national capacity was temporarily neglected.

UNDP rectified this situation and deployed an experienced and capable staff member to work on the capacity development of TURMAC in 2016. However, there were no supporting staff assigned to the role and the weight of the project was on the clearance contracting rather than developing an integrated project which focused on developing a national capacity to clear mines. The approach to developing capabilities in TURMAC has been to create an enabling environment through a clear legal status, strategic framework, and organizational structure.

Thanks to the efforts of UNDP and TURMAC there is now a clear mandate from the Government of Turkey under Law 6586 and the organisational structure is expected to be approved soon. Additionally, the development of priority National Mine Action Standards (NMAS) with a formal system in place to review and update the current set, as well as new standards, is required.


Tag: Mine Action Relevance Human and Financial resources Operational Efficiency

10.

TURMAC requires further support. There is a pressing need for UNDP to complement its management of the clearance and QA/QC contract with a greater focus on capacity development. UNDP has worked with TURMAC to develop a capacity assessment and this should form the basis of a long- term capacity development plan. At present one UNDP staff member is responsible for capacity development. There needs to be a transition so that in 2019 all UNDP mine action specialists have a shared responsibility for capacity development in their job descriptions. This capacity can be used to build internal systems and structures as well as improving the understanding and knowledge of the TURMAC staff.

There have been a number of impressive capacity development achievements for which UNDP and TURMAC are to be congratulated. A national strategy has been developed, priority national standards have been completed, an innovative national land release policy, referred to as the operational demining process, has been developed and there have been many trainings and workshops. These include an introduction to mine action as well as introductory and more advanced trainings on IMSMA and quality management.


Tag: Mine Action Effectiveness Project and Programme management Quality Assurance

11.

Mine Clearance
By June 2016 it was clear that it would be impossible to clear the 225 minefields in the 384 operational days in the contract. To the credit of all involved some critical decisions were taken and things began to turn around. UNDP made an important decision to conduct a reconnaissance of the 225 minefields and importantly requested that a senior staff member of the contracted company participate in this task. This reconnaissance showed that based on the characteristics of the minefields, some of which were on steep hills and slopes, the clearance of the mined areas would take at least five years more than planned. These findings also depended on an agreed approach to land release being agreed to before the 2017 demining season commenced. This led to UNDP, the European Union and the Government of Turkey working together and developing a new and phased approach to the implementation of the project which proved to be the “game changer” that everyone was searching
for.


Tag: Effectiveness Partnership

12.

Phase One
The joint site- reconnaissance of UNDP and TURMAC in August 2016 proved that the difficulties involved in identifying mine rows, and accessing and physically clearing many of the minefields were critically underestimated during the pre-contracting phase due to the lack a comprehensive survey.

The Steering Committee agreed that the previous clearance targets were ambitious and unachievable within the budget and the duration of the contract. The Steering Committee then agreed to reset the clearance targets to reflect the outputs of site reconnaissance and the results of the clearance
operations in 2016.


A realistic work plan based on the introduction of the Operational Demining Process (ODP) which included a list of 20 minefields (3,570,710 square metres) in Igdir containing approximately 44,537 mines was approved for the 2017 demining season. The clearance of these 20 minefields would mean that Igdir province would be completed and free of known minefields.

 


Tag: Oversight Policies & Procedures

13.

Phase Two
The Phase 2 minefield survey, which was conducted by a group of TURMAC and UNDP experts, found that security in southern Van and Hakkari would not allow humanitarian mine clearance and a full non-technical and some technical survey work would be required before any mine clearance began.

In addition, the results of the joint site-reconnaissance, which was conducted in August 2016 in Phase I Project areas (Igdir, Kars, Agri, Van) showed that the difficulties involved in identifying mine rows, accessing and physically clearing many of the minefields were critically underestimated during the pre-contracting phase due to the lack a comprehensive survey.


Tag: Mine Action Operational Efficiency Policies & Procedures

14.

Contracting Changes
As a result of the above changes and a reduction in the number of minefields to be cleared there were implications for the contract with Mechem. The conditions of the contract specified that the contractor was to paid on a quarterly basis for the minefields that had been handed over to TURMAC.


There were many discussions to clarify the definition of “a fully cleared minefield”. For example, some discussions focused on whether there needed to be a mine free area or was the aim to be the collection of all mines which corresponded to TURMAC’s minefield records? As a result of this negotiation it was not possible to pay the contractor nor was it possible for UNDP to recoup the advance of USD 3.9 million that had been transferred to the contractor at the commencement of the contract. This resulted in strikes, security problems, operational delays, and reputational damage for all parties.

Contract re-negotiations commenced with Mechem in 2016 and the payment modality was amended. Payment was now to be made on the number of mines cleared with a secondary payment for work on Suspected Hazardous Areas (SHA’s) and a final payment on handover. This resolved the cash flow problem and was appropriate for minefields in phase one where the contractor was working in high density minefields.


Tag: Efficiency Operational Efficiency

15.

Reviewing the Contracting Model

The contracting model needs to be reviewed when planning the next phase of the project from 2019 onwards. The model currently focuses on the number of mines collected and the handover of minefields. A more efficient approach can be developed.

The current system requires the clearance contractor to clear minefields and to provide technical survey as part of the clearance capacity. However, this has been contested and there were disagreements concerning Mechem’s obligations to provide technical survey. A number of people interviewed for this review noted that the Mechem mechanical assets could have been deployed for technical survey which would have increased the efficiency of the clearance process and this needs to be clarified for the 2018 demining season and beyond.


Tag: Policies & Procedures

16.

The Operational Demining Process

The Operational Demining Process is based on the land release approach contained in the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS). 19 It’s adoption has been one of the major successes of the project. The ODP was developed by UNDP with the support of the newly formed Operational Working Group (OWG) which involved TURMAC, UNDP and demining contractors and met every second week in the field. The group is responsible for managing task planning, task execution and any other outstanding task related matters.


This group was instrumental in making a big breakthrough for mine action activities in Turkey and developing a process to ensure that the minefields could be handed over when completed. This process clarified land release approaches which did not require every square metre of the minefields and the land in the safety fences erected after the signature of the APMBC to be cleared. An agreement on the process was reached in February 2017 prior to the beginning of the 2017 demining season and this was a major step forward for the programme.


Tag: Operational Efficiency Policies & Procedures

Recommendations
1

Strategic Positioning, Concept and Design

There is a tension between the desire of Turkey to quickly clear mined areas to enhance its border surveillance capability and UNDP’s mine clearance contracting that conforms to national standards which are based on the International Mine Action Standards.  These tensions were not resolved before the project was designed, an RFP developed and mine clearance assets contracted.  This led to challenges for all partners.  To the credit of all involved in the project there was a re-set of the project into two phases and realistic and achievable objectives, outputs, activities and inputs were established for 2017.  More ambitious targets were then established for 2018 and it will be a challenge to achieve these targets. 

Most partners understand that this project will potentially run for 10-12 years although this must be determined by non-technical survey options which will verify the correct planning period. 

If this phased approach is adopted it needs to be implemented in such a way that it is consistent with the National Mine Action Strategy which has been approved by the Ministry of National Defence.  This strategy focuses on three strategic objectives:

  1. To perform mine action in accordance with pre-determined priorities which include creating policies on the surveillance of mines/explosives, clearance activities, mine risk training, aids for mine victims, destruction of mines kept in stocks and to plan, manage and perform these activities in accordance with the pre-determined priorities.
  2. To enhance Turkey’s border security and establish professional border management which will prevent illegal migration, smuggling and terrorist acts on the border between Turkey and Syria.             
  3. To develop a sustainable national capacity by building the staff capability and institutional capacity to plan, manage, coordinate and implement the responsibilities of Turkey to the APMBC.

This phased approach would lead to blocks of three-year planning exercises which should be based on the principles of human rights and protection.  This multi-year project should support Turkey to meet its obligations to the APMBC, strengthen its border management capability and be integrated with Turkey’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

This approach is similar to the methodology that the Government of the United Kingdom is using to clear the minefields on the Falkland Islands and some of the lessons from the Falklands could be used in this project.  This approach will build more confidence with stakeholders such as the donor community and the Government of Turkey and will presumably lead to tranches of funds being programmed in response to the developments on the ground.

2

Implementation

The implementation of the project has been generally successful and many activities have been achieved as explained in this report.  This is a credit to the leadership and management of the project.

Future planning for the project in 2019 and beyond needs to focus UNDP’s work more on building an effective capacity development programme which involves UNDP technical staff. It is suggested that UNDP consider the following approach:

1.1 Advocate for the establishment of a NMAA to have overall responsibility for mine action in Turkey. There is a need for a ministerial level awareness and understanding of Turkey’s international obligations in the field of mine action which can only be achieved through the creation of the Authority. The NMAA will create organisational clarity for the TURMAC on its operaitonal roles and responsibilities and will help to create a more effective TURMAC and a more effective national mine action programme.

1.2 Continue and increase the capacity development of the TURMAC and enhance the ability of TURMAC to coordinate all mine action operations in Turkey whether they be conducted by the Turkish Land Forces, the Gendamarie, commercial operators or NGOs.

UNDP is uniquely positioned to provide this support to the Government of Turkey and this is a low cost and potentially high return activitity for UNDP to engage in. This would require UNDP to build a Mine Action Team that provides advisory services across the core activities of a Mine Action Centre.This support can be used to provide guidance to Turkey as it prepares its extension request on its article five obligations under the APMBC which is a major piece of work and a priority for the future of mine action in Turkey.

1.3 Work with TURMAC to build its capacity to conduct non-technical survey activities which will be a longer term initiative.This will have resource implications and would require an increased investment from UNDP to hire a technical advisor for survey activities and the recruitment and training of TURMAC staff who have the appropriate competencies and experience to quickly understand their responsibilities.

1.4 Continue the current UNDP project into phase three with a new RFP based on surveyed minefields that should be conducted by non-technical survey experts.The results of the survey would form the basis for the development of a work plan for phase three which could be planned over three years.The nature of the workplan would then determine what assets are required and tendered for through the RFP.

UNDP could be responsible for the contract management and TURMAC would be responsible for the operational management of the project with capacity development support from UNDP. This would require survey activities to begin early in 2018 to enable the development of a project document and the identification of a donor to partner on this project from the beginning of 2019.

3

Partnership and Coordination

UNDP has been a catalyst for collaboration and partnership and has successfully mobilised national actors and international donors around the demining project.  A number of those interviewed for this review have commented favourably on UNDP’s coordination capabilities and this respect for UNDP is evident with Steering Committee members.  In addition, UNDP’s support for TURMAC has provided a focus for coordination efforts in the field of mine action in Turkey. 

UNDP was instrumental in working with Turkish Land Forces and the European Union to develop an assessment of the requirements of this project.  Whilst this assessment was insufficient, UNDP successfully deployed the clearance and quality management components and the capacity development services which have delivered many of the projects successes.  UNDP also worked successfully with the European Union and TURMAC to successfully reshape the project into two phases of activities.  This was a major reason for the success of the project throughout 2017.  

The emergence of TURMAC is also a major success for UNDP and indicative of how UNDP has supported the Government and the EU to integrate TURMAC and capacity development support into this project. This success is visible with the development of the national standards, the introduction of IMSMA and the mentoring and support for TURMAC to build an understanding of humanitarian mine action.  UNDP also developed the land release methodology “the Operational Demining Process” and was then able to guide and support TURMAC and other members of the Steering Committee to build their understanding of this methodology.  This is one of the major successes of this project.

This review is recommending that UNDP increase its support for TURMAC as the organisation’s development will be one of the legacies of the project.  The capacity development of national institutions is one of UNDP’s core activities and UNDP is encouraged to work with TURMAC and partners to accelerate its capacity development efforts based on the recent capacity assessment.  These efforts should focus on building the institutional capability of TURMAC to manage operations/quality management and information management which are the core of a mine action centre’s responsibilities.

It would be useful for the TURMAC operations, quality management and information management staff to be re-located to the operational sites as a capacity development initiative.  Whilst there has been substantial progress in building an increased capability in these three core areas, future improvements can only really occur with the benefit of coaching and mentoring from experienced professionals.

It is recommended that the TURMAC staff work with the UNDP Chief of Operations to build their understanding of operations work through on the job training.  Similarly, there should be an assessment of whether the TURMAC quality management staff can be attached to the RPS quality management staff to accelerate their learning. 

4

Monitoring, Evaluation and Risk Management               

The project has successfully captured data and monitored the clearance of minefields in metres cleared and the number of mines cleared.  It has also been proven to be nimble in making some major decisions to build lessons learned into the project such as the development of the Operational Demining Process.  However, there is more work required to build the outcomes of success into project design and planning.  This could include UNDP clearing land for broader national priorities such as passageways through the wall, the construction of towers and fencing construction, and enabling patrolling of the areas around the wall.

Such an approach would be easier if the work planning process involved the clearance capability being appropriated to the priorities of the border surveillance project as opposed to clearing the minefields which is currently the operating model. Such a planning process would make it easier for the TURMAC to record outcome level data in IMSMA and would lead to a shift in the focus of mine action in Turkey.

There was no evidence of an evaluation plan being built into the project.  It would be useful for this to happen in advance of the project’s completion in 2018.  Such a plan would use the monitoring data from the project to work out the big questions that need to be answered, the best way for them to be answered, and determine who can answer them. This can feed into the methodology and programme for the next review in 2018 which should build on the methodology and programme used for this review. This will help ensure that all monitoring and information management is being directed to the review and will provide a more accurate assessment of the project’s success and lessons learned.

There could be additional work in using the risk management framework to assess and mitigate the risks that face the project.  At present risk management is largely practiced through the clearance contract although this should be a theme that integrates all of the project activities including capacity development. The UNDP TAT could consider updating the risk management on a monthly basis and then having the items which are high risk and high impact on the agenda of regular meetings so that they can be closely monitored.

5

Rights Based Approach and Gender Mainstreaming     

There was not a rights-based approach integrated in the project and this is an area which requires further thought from the Steering Committee and the Project staff.  There are opportunities for rights based approaches to be used in the border management strategies particularly in Turkey’s response to the challenges posed by issues such as mass migration and people trafficking.  The demining project and the border management project presents UNDP with an opportunity to work with the Government of Turkey and Land Forces to formulate approaches that promote the protection of people’s rights, particularly those who are fleeing persecution, conflict and the survivors of trafficking. 

A rights-based approach would consider how the voices, agency and immediate needs of those arriving at the border are integrated into Turkey’s immigration policy and operational response.  This should include a focus on the access to food, water, shelter and medical services on arrival at the Border. This would potentially be an opportunity for UNDP to work more on gender mainstreaming activities such as ensuring that the survivors of sexual and gender based violence receive access to services, that women can access sexual and reproductive health services and that women’s rights are protected. Such an initiative would enable UNDP to respond to some gaps in how the project involves women in its work. 

The consultant did not witness any gender mainstreaming activities in the project nor was the issue of gender and mine action raised in any of the interviews with stakeholders.  Some possible steps that could be taken in future is requiring contractors to employ and train women as deminers and support staff and there should be a target established, for example 50/50, in hiring women for demining work.  All evidence from many different countries indicate that women are highly capable deminers and the project needs to prioritise and act on this.  UNDP could support TURMAC to work with stakeholders and develop gender in mine action guidelines based on the international guidelines which would apply to TURMAC, UNDP mine action and all mine action operators.

1. Recommendation:

Strategic Positioning, Concept and Design

There is a tension between the desire of Turkey to quickly clear mined areas to enhance its border surveillance capability and UNDP’s mine clearance contracting that conforms to national standards which are based on the International Mine Action Standards.  These tensions were not resolved before the project was designed, an RFP developed and mine clearance assets contracted.  This led to challenges for all partners.  To the credit of all involved in the project there was a re-set of the project into two phases and realistic and achievable objectives, outputs, activities and inputs were established for 2017.  More ambitious targets were then established for 2018 and it will be a challenge to achieve these targets. 

Most partners understand that this project will potentially run for 10-12 years although this must be determined by non-technical survey options which will verify the correct planning period. 

If this phased approach is adopted it needs to be implemented in such a way that it is consistent with the National Mine Action Strategy which has been approved by the Ministry of National Defence.  This strategy focuses on three strategic objectives:

  1. To perform mine action in accordance with pre-determined priorities which include creating policies on the surveillance of mines/explosives, clearance activities, mine risk training, aids for mine victims, destruction of mines kept in stocks and to plan, manage and perform these activities in accordance with the pre-determined priorities.
  2. To enhance Turkey’s border security and establish professional border management which will prevent illegal migration, smuggling and terrorist acts on the border between Turkey and Syria.             
  3. To develop a sustainable national capacity by building the staff capability and institutional capacity to plan, manage, coordinate and implement the responsibilities of Turkey to the APMBC.

This phased approach would lead to blocks of three-year planning exercises which should be based on the principles of human rights and protection.  This multi-year project should support Turkey to meet its obligations to the APMBC, strengthen its border management capability and be integrated with Turkey’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

This approach is similar to the methodology that the Government of the United Kingdom is using to clear the minefields on the Falkland Islands and some of the lessons from the Falklands could be used in this project.  This approach will build more confidence with stakeholders such as the donor community and the Government of Turkey and will presumably lead to tranches of funds being programmed in response to the developments on the ground.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/20] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

UNDP Turkey affirms its commitment to mine action in Turkey. UNDP Turkey will work with the National Authorities to develop a phased and priority based clearance methodology that utilizes non-technical and technical survey to ensure realistic objectives over a specific period of activity.  This planning will also have flexibility to utilizes clearance data to alter planning as necessary to meet the priorities of the Government.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
As part of the sustainability of mine action in Turkey a more holistic project to support the Government of Turkey to meet its anti-personnel landmine treaty is being developed and will include supporting a phased approach to clearances.
[Added: 2018/04/24] [Last Updated: 2020/08/21]
UNDP CO, Programme and Project Staff 2020/08 Completed Socioeconomic Development through Demining and Increasing the Border Surveillance Capacity at the Eastern Borders of Turkey Phase I and Phase II have been completed. As a result of the successful management of the Phase I and Phase II projects, UNDP was requested to provide project management and technical support to the Phase III of the project. Phase III is designed to meet the priorities of the Government and non-technical survey and mine risk education (MRE) activities will be carried out in addition to mine clearance in Phase III. The project also aims to enhance the capacity of the TURMAC to manage de-mining action. It will also support TURMAC by providing advocacy on key global disarmament conventions. History
2. Recommendation:

Implementation

The implementation of the project has been generally successful and many activities have been achieved as explained in this report.  This is a credit to the leadership and management of the project.

Future planning for the project in 2019 and beyond needs to focus UNDP’s work more on building an effective capacity development programme which involves UNDP technical staff. It is suggested that UNDP consider the following approach:

1.1 Advocate for the establishment of a NMAA to have overall responsibility for mine action in Turkey. There is a need for a ministerial level awareness and understanding of Turkey’s international obligations in the field of mine action which can only be achieved through the creation of the Authority. The NMAA will create organisational clarity for the TURMAC on its operaitonal roles and responsibilities and will help to create a more effective TURMAC and a more effective national mine action programme.

1.2 Continue and increase the capacity development of the TURMAC and enhance the ability of TURMAC to coordinate all mine action operations in Turkey whether they be conducted by the Turkish Land Forces, the Gendamarie, commercial operators or NGOs.

UNDP is uniquely positioned to provide this support to the Government of Turkey and this is a low cost and potentially high return activitity for UNDP to engage in. This would require UNDP to build a Mine Action Team that provides advisory services across the core activities of a Mine Action Centre.This support can be used to provide guidance to Turkey as it prepares its extension request on its article five obligations under the APMBC which is a major piece of work and a priority for the future of mine action in Turkey.

1.3 Work with TURMAC to build its capacity to conduct non-technical survey activities which will be a longer term initiative.This will have resource implications and would require an increased investment from UNDP to hire a technical advisor for survey activities and the recruitment and training of TURMAC staff who have the appropriate competencies and experience to quickly understand their responsibilities.

1.4 Continue the current UNDP project into phase three with a new RFP based on surveyed minefields that should be conducted by non-technical survey experts.The results of the survey would form the basis for the development of a work plan for phase three which could be planned over three years.The nature of the workplan would then determine what assets are required and tendered for through the RFP.

UNDP could be responsible for the contract management and TURMAC would be responsible for the operational management of the project with capacity development support from UNDP. This would require survey activities to begin early in 2018 to enable the development of a project document and the identification of a donor to partner on this project from the beginning of 2019.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/20] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

UNDP Turkey agrees with the recommendation and will advocate for the establishment and of NMAA and will work with the Government of Turkey to incorporate capacity building of a NMAA in future mine action programming.

UNDP Turkey will work with the TURMAC to develop a support to mine action programme that is both more holistic in nature and one that contains the capacity development necessary to enable the TURMAC to fully manage a national mine programme.

As part of the development of strategic planning listed above, UNDP Turkey will work with the TURMAC to develop a high level of non-technical and technical survey within the current national structure.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP will continue to work with the Government of Turkey and TURMAC to advocate for a National Mine Action Authority to oversee all pillars of mine action. Future programming will be resourced to support NMAA’s role in sector coordination.
[Added: 2018/04/24] [Last Updated: 2020/08/21]
UNDP CO, Programme and Project Staff 2020/08 Completed In line with following explanation of Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) "National Mine Action Authorities (NMAA) develop and adopt standards that reflect clearance requirements within their country. Therefore, NMAS are country-specific and contain unique technical specifications, criteria and guidelines under which mine action operators execute mine action programs and develop their detailed Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs)", Turkish Mine Action Center is NMAA in Turkey. The establishment of NMAA has been completed. UNDP Turkey continues to work with the TURMAC to provide support to mine action programme that is both more holistic in nature and that contains the capacity development necessary to enable the TURMAC to fully manage a national mine programme. The first-ever Strategic Mine Action Plan for 2020-2025 has been prepared and signed by the TURMAC Director. The five-year plan covers national capacity development, survey and clearance of mined areas and areas containing unexploded ordnance, provision of mine risk education and assistance to mine victims. In line with the Strategic Plan, Phase III is designed to meet the priorities of the Government and non-technical survey and mine risk education (MRE) activities will be carried out in addition to mine clearance in Phase III. History
3. Recommendation:

Partnership and Coordination

UNDP has been a catalyst for collaboration and partnership and has successfully mobilised national actors and international donors around the demining project.  A number of those interviewed for this review have commented favourably on UNDP’s coordination capabilities and this respect for UNDP is evident with Steering Committee members.  In addition, UNDP’s support for TURMAC has provided a focus for coordination efforts in the field of mine action in Turkey. 

UNDP was instrumental in working with Turkish Land Forces and the European Union to develop an assessment of the requirements of this project.  Whilst this assessment was insufficient, UNDP successfully deployed the clearance and quality management components and the capacity development services which have delivered many of the projects successes.  UNDP also worked successfully with the European Union and TURMAC to successfully reshape the project into two phases of activities.  This was a major reason for the success of the project throughout 2017.  

The emergence of TURMAC is also a major success for UNDP and indicative of how UNDP has supported the Government and the EU to integrate TURMAC and capacity development support into this project. This success is visible with the development of the national standards, the introduction of IMSMA and the mentoring and support for TURMAC to build an understanding of humanitarian mine action.  UNDP also developed the land release methodology “the Operational Demining Process” and was then able to guide and support TURMAC and other members of the Steering Committee to build their understanding of this methodology.  This is one of the major successes of this project.

This review is recommending that UNDP increase its support for TURMAC as the organisation’s development will be one of the legacies of the project.  The capacity development of national institutions is one of UNDP’s core activities and UNDP is encouraged to work with TURMAC and partners to accelerate its capacity development efforts based on the recent capacity assessment.  These efforts should focus on building the institutional capability of TURMAC to manage operations/quality management and information management which are the core of a mine action centre’s responsibilities.

It would be useful for the TURMAC operations, quality management and information management staff to be re-located to the operational sites as a capacity development initiative.  Whilst there has been substantial progress in building an increased capability in these three core areas, future improvements can only really occur with the benefit of coaching and mentoring from experienced professionals.

It is recommended that the TURMAC staff work with the UNDP Chief of Operations to build their understanding of operations work through on the job training.  Similarly, there should be an assessment of whether the TURMAC quality management staff can be attached to the RPS quality management staff to accelerate their learning. 

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/20] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

UNDP Turkey agrees with the recommendation and will continue to work with the TURMAC to develop the capacities of national mine action institutions as part of future programme planning.  This will include, but will not be limited to, support to the TURMAC in quality management, information management operations management of field operations.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP has prepared for the TURMAC staff to work with the Chief of Operations for Phase II. In addition, UNDP will work with the TURMAC to ensure future programming will include the capacity development necessary allow for TURMAC to manage/support the entire sector.
[Added: 2018/04/24] [Last Updated: 2020/08/21]
UNDP CO, Programme and Project Staff 2020/08 Completed TURMAC staff from Information Management, Quality Management and Operation are actively participating in the handover process of minefields. Due to staff turnover and some administrative difficulties, TURMAC is unable to deploy any personnel permanently on the site. The Phase III is designed in a way that will support limited strengthening of TURMAC to manage mine action functions and responsibilities. Specific support will be dedicated for further enhancement of TURMAC’s operations and quality management of the mine action sector. The aim of capacity building efforts is to end the project with a substantially improved ability within the TURMAC to manage the remaining mine contamination problem past the extension request period. In this sense, UNDP’s work in sustainability will lie on two tracks: 1) training for responsible individuals within the TURMAC; 2) institutionalisation of good practices. History
4. Recommendation:

Monitoring, Evaluation and Risk Management               

The project has successfully captured data and monitored the clearance of minefields in metres cleared and the number of mines cleared.  It has also been proven to be nimble in making some major decisions to build lessons learned into the project such as the development of the Operational Demining Process.  However, there is more work required to build the outcomes of success into project design and planning.  This could include UNDP clearing land for broader national priorities such as passageways through the wall, the construction of towers and fencing construction, and enabling patrolling of the areas around the wall.

Such an approach would be easier if the work planning process involved the clearance capability being appropriated to the priorities of the border surveillance project as opposed to clearing the minefields which is currently the operating model. Such a planning process would make it easier for the TURMAC to record outcome level data in IMSMA and would lead to a shift in the focus of mine action in Turkey.

There was no evidence of an evaluation plan being built into the project.  It would be useful for this to happen in advance of the project’s completion in 2018.  Such a plan would use the monitoring data from the project to work out the big questions that need to be answered, the best way for them to be answered, and determine who can answer them. This can feed into the methodology and programme for the next review in 2018 which should build on the methodology and programme used for this review. This will help ensure that all monitoring and information management is being directed to the review and will provide a more accurate assessment of the project’s success and lessons learned.

There could be additional work in using the risk management framework to assess and mitigate the risks that face the project.  At present risk management is largely practiced through the clearance contract although this should be a theme that integrates all of the project activities including capacity development. The UNDP TAT could consider updating the risk management on a monthly basis and then having the items which are high risk and high impact on the agenda of regular meetings so that they can be closely monitored.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/20] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

UNDP Turkey agrees with the recommendation that future programming will be outcome based with an appropriate level of reporting.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP will work with the TURMAC, CFCU and Donors to ensure that future programming is developed to enable outcome based reporting.
[Added: 2018/04/24] [Last Updated: 2020/08/21]
UNDP CO, Programme and Project Staff 2020/08 Completed UNDP Turkey reflected the reccomendation into the new programming and designed Phase III in accordance with the statistical data and lessons learned gathered from Phase I and Phase II. UNDP works in close cooperation with the TURMAC (as the End Beneficiary as well as provider of Government Cost Sharing in the Phase III), Ministry of Interior (as the Lead Institution in the Phase III) and Delegation of the European Union to Turkey (as the Donor in the Phase III) to ensure a project design which will facilitate outcome-based reporting. History
5. Recommendation:

Rights Based Approach and Gender Mainstreaming     

There was not a rights-based approach integrated in the project and this is an area which requires further thought from the Steering Committee and the Project staff.  There are opportunities for rights based approaches to be used in the border management strategies particularly in Turkey’s response to the challenges posed by issues such as mass migration and people trafficking.  The demining project and the border management project presents UNDP with an opportunity to work with the Government of Turkey and Land Forces to formulate approaches that promote the protection of people’s rights, particularly those who are fleeing persecution, conflict and the survivors of trafficking. 

A rights-based approach would consider how the voices, agency and immediate needs of those arriving at the border are integrated into Turkey’s immigration policy and operational response.  This should include a focus on the access to food, water, shelter and medical services on arrival at the Border. This would potentially be an opportunity for UNDP to work more on gender mainstreaming activities such as ensuring that the survivors of sexual and gender based violence receive access to services, that women can access sexual and reproductive health services and that women’s rights are protected. Such an initiative would enable UNDP to respond to some gaps in how the project involves women in its work. 

The consultant did not witness any gender mainstreaming activities in the project nor was the issue of gender and mine action raised in any of the interviews with stakeholders.  Some possible steps that could be taken in future is requiring contractors to employ and train women as deminers and support staff and there should be a target established, for example 50/50, in hiring women for demining work.  All evidence from many different countries indicate that women are highly capable deminers and the project needs to prioritise and act on this.  UNDP could support TURMAC to work with stakeholders and develop gender in mine action guidelines based on the international guidelines which would apply to TURMAC, UNDP mine action and all mine action operators.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/04/20] [Last Updated: 2020/12/11]

UNDP Turkey fully agrees with the recommendation and will ensure that a rights-based approach and a higher level of gender mainstreaming is included as part of future support to mine action programming.  UNDP Turkey will also maintain its role of initiator and nurture South-South and triangular collaboration, including with a wide range of development practitioners. This will focus on the creation of development benefits for affected women, men and communities.  When possible, UNDP Turkey will support strengthening of civil society organizations that will enable a greater participation in the development, planning and delivery of mine action interventions.  

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
UNDP is working with TURMAC to ensure that future programming has both a rights-based approach and more detailed gender mainstreaming component during project design. UNDP is working with TURMAC to enable south-south/triangular cooperation for Phase II and future programming with other regional affected states and international mine action intuitions.
[Added: 2018/04/24] [Last Updated: 2020/08/21]
UNDP CO, Programme and Project Staff 2020/08 Completed The Phase III is designed in a way that will seek ways to promote women’s participation in the planning and implementation of survey and clearance, mine risk education and victim assistance, in line with the UN Mine Action Service’s Guidance on Gender in Mine Action Programmes. The Project will advise the TURMAC on how to better target and focus mine risk education activities based on an understanding of the most at-risk groups from mine/UXO accidents including women and youth. EU and UNDP rules and regulations ensure that human rights based approach will be applied all stages of the project. UNDP Turkey encourages strengthening of civil society organizations that will enable a greater participation in the development, planning and delivery of mine action interventions. In the scope of mine risk education and awareness raising activities in Phase III, development of an MRE Strategy for Turkey and a pilot for CSO involvement in MRE delivery are targeted. UNDP will continue to provide technical advisory support to TURMAC to identify relevant and appropriate opportunities for South-South and Triangular cooperation, focusing particularly on mine action management experience and Turkey’s regional neighbours. History

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