During 25-29 November 2019, the Programme Office in Dushanbe conducted exchange visit programme to Ukraine for the Central Asian Delegation in the frames of the programme to support development of cooperation mechanisms between the Central Asian states in the field of threats and challenges associated with explosive hazards. 14 participants represented by Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan, Border Service of Turkmenistan, Ministry of Defence of Tajikistan, Regional Training Centre on Explosive Hazards of Tajikistan, Tajikistan National Mine Action Centre, Sapper’s Union of Tajikistan and international demining operators acting in Tajikistan (Norwegian Peoples’ Aid and Swiss Foundation for Mine Action) had chance to get familiarised and to explore best practices and potential of Ukraine in the field of humanitarian demining and response to explosive hazards.
Due to the common language and the similarities in the workflow and the composition of the governmental system that derives from former soviet influence, Ukraine with its high experience in explosive ordnance disposal (from conflict repercussions), became the country of good choice to share its explosive hazards risk management practices with CA countries that are lacking from the expertise and sufficiently developed local infrastructure in this particular field.
The program of the visit was thoroughly worked out with the assistance of the Project Coordinator Office in Ukraine and state agencies of Ukraine in order to have the balanced combination of theoretical materials and practical examples in the thematic area. The theoretical part of the visit consisted of the de-briefings and meetings, supported by video and photo materials, with key personnel of the state agencies of Ukraine (Departments of mine action from the State Emergency Service of Ukraine and Special Transport Service under the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine). During the practical part, a showcase of internal demining and explosive ordnance disposal procedures and the excursions in the selected unique demining training facilities of Ukraine in Chernihiv (Special Transport Service) and in Merefa (State Emergency Service) were organized.
Within this format of the event the delegates could get an easy access to the qualified content and relevant experience of Ukrainian de-miners in the decision of similar tasks and problems, ask special questions and get some deep useful consultations and practical answers on the spot, to find like-minded professionals among presented countries, and to strengthen professional ties.
“Creation of the platforms for exchange of experience reveals new opportunities for participating countries. Experts should learn the expertise gained in the visited centers and be able to use and adapt and even improve the experience of their international colleagues within their state facilities. Such visits stimulate development of communications networking between specialists of different countries and make the process of information exchange between the specialists more intensive.” – Said Tomislav Vondracek, the International Programme Officer of the Integrated Cooperation on Explosive Hazards Programme of the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe.
“The shared experience of our Ukrainian colleagues in the field of explosive hazards response gave us not only new knowledge on the efficient practices and the training methods and new equipment in the area, but also food for thought and inspiration of how we can improve the work of our Regional Training Center on Explosive Hazards in Tajikistan.” – The words of Firuz Asadbekov, Deputy Head of the Regional Training Center on Explosive Hazards of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Tajikistan.
The events (projects) of this kind help to get developed culture of transferring knowledge and expert experience and to avoid various mistakes or, conversely, to repeat excellent results. In the midterm, this will entail the creation of the working system for professional development and integration of new approaches and lessons learned from the international experience to the concrete state needs.