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Joint commitment toward mine-free Cambodia

Poovenraj Kanagaraj / Khmer Times Share:
Officials from the Australian government, CMAA and UNDP sign an agreement on Friday. KT/Siv Channa

Australia, the Cambodian Mine Action and Victims Assistance Authority and the UN development programme on Friday signed a joint statement reaffirming their ongoing commitment to working toward a mine-free Cambodia by 2025.

The signing was attended by CMAA’s first Vice President Ly Thuch, Australian Ambassador to Cambodia Angela Corcoran and Nick Beresford, resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme.

The government cleared about 1,900 square kilometres of land from landmines over the last 20 years, making the land safe for cultivation and raising incomes for more than 5.3 million people living in the rural areas in Kingdom’s northwest and along the border with Thailand.

Since 2006, the Australian government has been a key contributor to the Clearing for Results project, partnering with CMAA along with technical support from the UNDP.

“South Korea will also be aiding us in the project in terms of financial and skill contribution,” Mr Thuch said, adding that South Korea’s aid will begin in 2021.

The first three phases of the project have cleared and released 239 kilometres of the most densely landmine and other explosive remnants of war (ERW) contaminated lands, according to a press statement.

The clearance significantly reduced the number of landmine and ERW casualties in the Kingdom from 4,320 in 1996 to 58 in 2018, it said. The project’s fourth phase is set to begin next year with $20 million in funding.

“The Cambodian government has made a substantial contribution to the project with the UN and UNDP making contributions as well,” Mr Beresford said. “We are in the midst of seeing other countries make contributions to the project currently.”

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