iMMAP organised and hosted a Nationwide Mine Action Technical Working Group meeting (MATWG) in its office in Erbil on 16 May 2016 concerning the Gray area. The participants included active stakeholders including MAG, NPA, FSD, SGO, DMA, DDG, UNMAS, IKMAA, HI and iMMAP.
The Gray area refers to the areas recently retaken from armed groups which as of today include the retaken areas of Mosul, Salahaldin, Dyala and Kirkuk. The areas fall under the shared responsibility of both the Directorate of Mine Action Iraq (DMA) and Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Authority (IKMAA). iMMAP manages the information management centre for the Gray area.
The purpose of the MATWG meeting was to update all parties about the current status of IED/Mine contamination in the Gray area and to share experiences from operational activities conducted throughout the area in multiple locations. Participants discussed the latest strategies and tricks practiced by the armed groups and exhibited the items found during the clearance activities. The meeting functioned to enhance the safety of the clearance teams.
All parties acknowledged that the number and complexity of IED is evolving which are above the capacity of the national mine action authorities and that the monthly MATWG meetings are crucial to keep up with the increased complexity of IEDs. NGOs agreed to organise a dedicated meeting to update the Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) and to incorporate the newly found items, technologies and lessons learnt to optimize operational safety.