The Cambodian Mine Action Center and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency yesterday signed an agreement to continue technical cooperation in demining work for another four years, with the Japanese government providing an additional $1.7 million for demining operations over the first six months of next year.
The four-year agreement was signed between JICA representative Sugano Yuichi and CMAC director-general Heng Ratana during a ceremony at CMAC headquarters in Phnom Penh.
The signing was witnessed by Meas Sophea, a senior minister in charge of mine action and Japanese Ambassador Mashiro Mikami.
Mr Ratana yesterday said that Japan has agreed to fund a CMAC project to boost its activities from February next year to February 2024, including providing specialised and pioneering mine action services on a global scale.
“This project will strengthen the functions of CMAC and to ensure it will become a key player in research on mine action with others countries in the region and world,” he said, noting that Japan will provide specialists to help strengthen CMAC’s capacity.
Mr Ratana added Japan is contributing an additional $1,799,850 million in grant aid towards demining activities for January till June during which CMAC will deploy 450 demining experts.
The amount is in addition to existing aid for the Integrated Mine Clearance and Landmine Victim Assistance Project Phase 3 in the Kingdom.
“I would like on behalf of the CMAC to convey our profound thanks and sincere appreciation to the people and the Government of Japan, especially the Embassy of Japan in Cambodia,” Mr Ratana said.
He noted that since 1992, Japan has provided over $70 million in grant aid towards demining activities and also provided $50 million worth of equipment to the CMAC.
Mr Ratana noted that over the past 25 years CMAC has cleared mines from 1,034 square kilometres of land to support settlement, agriculture and infrastructure development.
He said it removed and destroyed over 2.7 million landmines and UXOs in the Kingdom.
During the signing ceremony, Mr Mikami praised the Kingdom over its rapid development, including economic growth.
He noted that remnants of war are affecting the livelihoods of Cambodian people long after the civil wars.
“I am glad that Japan has been cooperating towards the peace and development of Cambodia for a long time,” Mr Mikami said. “Through this new project on technical cooperation, I expect that CMAC will strengthen its capacity and be able to achieve the national goal [for the Kingdom to become mine-free by 2025].”
He noted that since 1998, the Japanese government has provided about $170 million to support technical mine action and develop human resources.