CMAA: Step up support to make Cambodia mine-free by 2025

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch and donor development partners on May 20 visit the Siem Reap Peace Museum of Mine Action, located in the headquarters of CMAC, Zone 2, Siem Reap province. CMAA

The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) has called on relevant stakeholders to step up support for demining to make the Kingdom landmine-free by 2025, as more than 700sq km of land remains to be cleared.

CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch stressed that this is one of Cambodia’s most important commitments under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, also commonly referred to as the Ottawa Convention.

“Although it is ambitious, it is possible that we can achieve this by 2025, if the government, international donors, development partners, and the private sector join hands and ramp up support for mine action,” he said, noting that there are still 736sq km left to be cleared.

Thuch was speaking at a May 20 High-Level Dialogue on Mine Action in Siem Reap province, held to promote partnerships geared towards a landmine-free Cambodia by 2025. The event was co-hosted by the CMAA and the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Senior Minister Ly Thuch (right) joins High Level Dialogue Forum on Mine Action on May 20. CMAA

“I was honoured to co-chair with CMAA senior minister Thuch at the high level dialogue on de-mining in Siem Reap this week. Participants workshopped ways to increase Cambodian government, development partner and private sector funds in order to meet the goal of a mine-free Cambodia in 2025,” wrote ambassador Pablo Kang.

Thuch echoed Kang’s remark, saying: “Your donations will free Cambodia from the profound impact of mines and other explosive remnants of war. We not only ask for your generous donations, but also want your help to raise funds and to work with us in new ways to raise money within the country. We need to cover all expenses related to clearing every explosive remnant in Cambodia.”

He added that the CMAA had established guidelines for the implementation of the “mine-free village mechanism” in order to mobilise additional financial resources from development partners, the private sector, civil society organisations and philanthropists. In particular, it would enable low-income donors or benefactors to join the government and see immediate results in ensuring that entire villages become mine-free, and rehabilitating mine-affected at-risk communities.

“To achieve the vision of a mine-free Cambodia by 2025 and secure socio-economic development, we have to continue to strengthen our efforts to mobilise resources from all stakeholders, strengthen good relations with donors who have built trust and accomplish common achievements over the years and seek more cooperation with new donors in the future,” he said.

As a state party to the Ottawa Convention and an observer of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the Cambodian government considers mine action an important national priority.

Thuch said the government was committed to eliminating the presence of known landmines in Cambodia by 2025 as a state party to the Ottawa Convention, as stipulated in the National Mine Action Strategy 2018-2025.

Participants also toured the Peace Museum of Mine Action run by the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) to better understand the progress of demining and the legacy of war over the past three decades.

Thuch highlighted the important role that CMAC plays in mine action, as a fellow government agency and close partner of the CMAA.

Meanwhile, CMAC officials in Kampong Speu and Kampong Chhnang provinces worked with police in five communes to unearth and destroy a total of six units of unexploded ordnance (UXO) on May 19.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
POLICE