Roger Mullin – Chair of REVIVE – reflects on discussions at #Angola2025.


In November I attended an invitation only conference in South Africa, in my capacity as Chair of REVIVE. The conference title – ‘Landmine Clearance in Angola: Experiences, Challenges and Implications for National Development and International Reputation’ – appeared to set the scene for a wide-ranging consideration of issues, including humanitarian aspects of particular interest to REVIVE. However, although some issues were well discussed, I came away feeling some frustration.

My frustration was primarily regarding an issue that at the same time provided yet further justification for the existence of REVIVE: namely, the relatively weak consideration of landmine victims themselves. Indeed such discussion as did take place took, in my judgment, a rather narrow view of victims’ needs.

At an early session on the funding of a major landmine clearance operation within Angola, little consideration was dedicated to victims until one delegate specifically sought information on how much of a major contract was earmarked for victim assistance. The answer was none.

Further discussions led to the suggestion from some quarters that the priority had to be clearance first. I found this a rather weak argument to say the least. Surely early intervention was always going to be preferable to years of delayed support?

I was further taken aback when during a refreshment break the argument was made to me that there should be no “special” treatment of landmine victims, as this would allow them to effectively queue jump others in society who needed medical care. This, it seemed to me, was little more than an excuse for failing to give victims due priority.

If REVIVE is going to conduct an inquiry into the psychological and other wider impacts of landmines and IEDs, we are going to have to remember that a general case for the kind of effective victim assistance we seek has yet to be made and widely accepted.

Nonetheless, there was a great deal stimulating discussion at the conference that caused me less frustration. Sessions on new approaches to funding, policy and strategy development by the Angolan government were particularly engaging. The management of the conference was also excellent, with plenty of scope for attendees to contribute: something I made full use of!

Of most interest to REVIVE was a number of very senior diplomats and government representatives who expressed very strong support for the potential role of REVIVE. In particular there was a strong view that an “honest broker” is required; one who could facilitate more effective engagement amongst governments and NGOs. On numerous occasions delegates highlighted the fact that competition among NGOs for funds, as well as conflicting views on priorities, are issues that continue to harm the wider interests of communities and victims alike.

As I reflect on the experience I am very glad REVIVE was represented, and am more convinced than ever that there is an important role for us to play.


This report is written following conference protocol and does not disclose the identity of individuals involved nor the views of the organisations they represented.