The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mines Advisory Group (Mag) on Monday to operate a two-year project on information management development in mine action.
The project, which starts this year, will be managed by Mag and funded by the US Department of Defence’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Programme.
The MoU was signed by CMAA secretary-general Prum Sophakmonkul and Mag technical adviser Shathel Fahs.
Senior Minister and CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch said at the signing ceremony that the project operation is another symbolic step in bringing the Kingdom closer to the goal of making itself a mine-free country by 2025.
He said technology innovation can help improve operational demining activities. He hopes the programme will help CMAA to initiate the development of technical knowledge and skills management for sustainability using the best information management systems.
“CMAA and I believe that the new technology, capacity and equipment provided through the project will be the game-changer. With proper technical training and a lot of simulations, I believe Cambodia could meet its goal of liberating the country from mines.
“This is indeed the epitome of how fast we as a country adapt to modern technology and use it to address our internal problems. This wouldn’t happen without help from developed countries where modern technologies mostly originate,” Thuch said.
Fahs said the introduction of efficient, effective and innovative information management practices and tools will allow CMAA to transform from an organisation that collects data to one that uses information for evidence-based, transparent programme management and decision-making.
“The operations management information system will allow for a simple information management process at all levels, which improves surveys, clearance concepts, and operational enhancements including analysis and reporting.
“Signing the MoU is the first step in what I am sure will be a long and fruitful cooperation.
“As we work together to achieve the deliverables contained in the MoU, our cooperation will deepen and expand,” he said.
In a letter to mark the 21st national mine awareness day, Prime Minister Hun Sen said from this year to 2025, Cambodia still needs some $372 million to clear 806sq km of mines, 708sq km of cluster bombs and 508sq km of land with explosive remnants of war.
As of last year, he said Cambodia has cleared nearly two billion square metres of land containing mines, destroyed 1,080,814 mines, 25,186 anti-tank mines, and 2,832,626 cluster bombs and explosive remnants of war.
“As a result, the number of victims has dropped from 4,320 in 1996 to 77 in 2019,” Hun Sen said.
A CMAA report said from January to June this year, 35 cases of mines and explosive remnants of war casualties were recorded in 11 provinces. Of these, eight people were killed, 18 injured, and nine had their limbs amputated. Battambang had the most with 14 casualties.
During the period, Cambodia cleared 51,913,227sq m of 6,553 anti-personnel mines, 146 anti-tank mines, and 760,439 explosive remnants of war.