Frequently Asked Questions

How do you decide what text to include in an entry?

Each entry in the database should be a standalone statement that makes immediate and intuitive sense to the user. Where necessary adjacent sentences and bullet lists may be included for clarity. Text may be adjusted using [ … ] brackets to show any deletions, additions or replacements included to maintain clarity, so long as any adjustments do not change the sense of the statement.

Why can I see a ‘shall’ entry that doesn’t seem to include the word ‘shall’?

Sometimes the author of an IMAS uses a word like ‘must’ or a phrase like ‘it is required that’, that strongly imply a ‘shall’ intent. In those cases, we mark the entry as ‘shall’ even though that specific word is not used. We also notify the IMAS secretariat whenever we find one of these examples so that the text can be clarified if necessary in future editions or amendments.

Why do some ‘may’ entries seem to imply ‘something that might happen’ rather than ‘something that you are allowed to do’?

‘May’ is sometimes used loosely in IMAS, when ‘might’ or ‘perhaps’, could have been better choices. In general, sentences including the word ‘may’ are captured in the database if the meaning is clearly ‘it is permitted to do something’ or if the meaning is ambiguous. Instances when ‘may’ is used in IMAS and it is clear that it means ‘perhaps’ are generally excluded from the database. If you think we’ve not got it right in any cases do get in touch.

Why do some entries include combinations of shall, should and may?

Our basic policy is that each entry in the database should be a standalone statement that makes immediate and intuitive sense to the user. ‘Shall’ and ‘should’ statements should be entered separately unless doing so would compromise the requirement for ‘standalone’ clarity, or where both words are used in a single sentence. When you find an entry that combines shall, should or may, it usually means that we have assessed it as being clearer or more convenient to users to do it that way.

How are stakeholder associations decided upon?

Stakeholders are associated with an entry on the basis of:

  • Reference to something that a stakeholder does;
  • Reference to something that a stakeholder is responsible for
  • An activity or decision that takes place on site (for the ‘site’ tag).
Associations are intended to be ‘immediate’, that is they relate to direct activity or responsibility links to stakeholders. Aspects that a stakeholder simply ‘has an interest in’, but that they do not do or decide upon directly are not associated with that stakeholder.

Tagging multiple stakeholders because they might perform some of the functions of other stakeholder groups from time to time is avoided. The policy for the database is that if a stakeholder at one level chooses to accept the roles and responsibilities of another stakeholder level then they should additionally select that other stakeholder tag and review the applicable requirements and recommendations.

Can I save more than one list under ‘My List’?

Not yet. We are working on enhanced compliance management functionality which will be released in the next version for teams. That functionality will include the ability to save multiple lists (for different projects, country programmes, etc.). We suggest you keep ‘my list’ up to date and tidy for just those entries that are most immediately relevant to what you’re doing.

The full list of requirements is slow to load. Is that a problem at my end?

We are looking at ways to improve the system architecture to speed up the way it loads the full list of requirements. Normally, as soon as you start applying filters the response time reduces dramatically. Of course, loading speed does also depend on a number of factors including your internet connection and computer processer, but we are always looking for ways to improve the performance of the site.

Are you ever going to database all the text in IMAS?

No, that is not our intention. The system focuses directly on the question of compliance. We do have a rolling programme to bring in more of the ‘informative’ documents in the IMAS system (annexes to IMAS, TNMAs, etc.), but only in respect of the text that falls under our policies for capturing ‘shall’, ‘should’ and ‘may’ elements.

Will be available for NMAS?

That is certainly our intention. There are some questions about how to map across ‘shall’, ‘should’ and ‘may’ into systems that may not mirror that usage exactly, but that is something that can be addressed on a case by case basis. We are in contact with national authorities looking for opportunities to pursue this important function. Do get in contact if you’d like to discuss this further.

Will be available for IATGs?

Yes, we’re already importing IATG data into our test system to see how best to make it work.

Why can’t I print out lists from the main requirements page?

We didn’t include that option because our own view was that the print function would only be useful when developing shorter check lists that monitors might want to use during inspection visits. Printing off page after page of entries would be unwieldy and environmentally unattractive. You can print lists from your ‘my list’ page.

Why can’t I ‘swipe through’ individual entries from the main requirements page?

Just because there are usually too many entries to make that an efficient way to access the information. In testing we found that it was easier to scroll down the list on the main page, clicking on those that are of most relevance. Close that window when you’re ready to move to another one and then click on the next one you need to read in detail. You can swipe through individual entries in ‘my list’. That’s because we found that those shorter, more focused lists are the ones that monitors are most likely to use when checking compliance at the practical level.

Do you work with organisations to support implementation of compliance checking processes?

Yes, we do. Fenix Insight Ltd works at every level of IMAS development, implementation and training. We have drafted many IMAS for the IMAS Review Board, deliver outreach workshops on behalf of the GICHD and engage in external monitoring of mine action operations for IMAS compliance. We are always interested in exploring opportunities to pilot uses of with other mine action organisations. Do get in contact if you’d like to discuss this further.

Do you offer training in how to use to demonstrate compliance with IMAS?

Yes, we can offer basic training in how best to use, but we can also offer more advanced training in the sort of evidence that organisations should be able to produce if they wish to demonstrate compliance with selected IMAS. With team members who have drafted IMAS documents and delivered outreach workshops, as well as conducted monitoring of field operations against IMAS, Fenix is more than happy to discuss support, assistance and training. Do get in contact if you’d like to discuss this further.

What are the QM principle and RM Principle fields for?

When we were using the database in its pilot version, we found it especially useful in support of IMAS training and outreach workshops. Risk and quality management underpin almost all other elements of IMAS and the management systems that mine action organisations apply. The QM and RM principle fields allow users to approach IMAS from a cross-cutting perspective, showing how IMAS reflects these important principles and providing examples to support professional development and training.

Why is there a ‘Topic’ field as well as a ‘Search IMAS’ field?

These two fields work together, but in slightly different ways. The topic field allows you to query the entire normative text of IMAS from a thematic perspective. Search IMAS looks for any occurrence of the selected word or phrase within the requirement text held in the database. If you search for competence in ‘search IMAS’ you will get every occurrence of that word. If you select the ‘competency’ topic you will get other results. Those where database analysts can see that the entry clearly relates to concepts of competence, even though the specific word doesn’t appear in the text of that entry.

Who developed

The compliance tool was developed by a small team of mine action professionals and IM specialists. Team members have extensive experience of work in mine action at practical, project and international institutional levels, including the drafting of a number of IMAS and the monitoring of their own and other organisations for compliance with IMAS (and other standards). It was that experience, and the challenges of understanding, achieving and monitoring IMAS compliance that gave rise to The team also engage in extensive quality management work to ensure that the database is complete, up to date and correct.