The Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) on January 11 received a donation of $240,000 from the Textile, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods Association in Cambodia (TAFTAC) – plus $5,000 from Sathapana Bank – in support of the Samdech Techo Project for Mine Action (STP-MA).

TAFTAC president Kong Sang said the donation came from the contributions of its members as well as those of other businesses and generous individuals during the ceremony marking the association’s name change from GMAC in November.

He expressed confidence that the donation will further contribute to the government’s efforts to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance from Cambodian land, and realise Prime Minister Hun Sen’s vision of the Kingdom being mine-free by 2025.

“We are all aware that CMAA has carried out mine-clearing work with great success in the past and continues to do so to achieve the 2025 goal.

“My colleagues and I would like to wish CMAA every further success in completing this hugely important task and achieving the goals set out, and we will continue to support both the budget and the spirit as much as possible,” Sang said.

Sathapana CEO Fung Kai Jin said his bank was honoured to join the government through CMAA in the clearance of explosive remnants of war (ERWs) to achieve the goal of a mine-free Kingdom by 2025.

While Sathapana Bank has contributed to improving the lives of Cambodians and building stronger communities through the provision of credit, he added, this latest donation would help provide security and bring freedom from the threat of unexploded ordnance (UXOs).

CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch thanked the management of Sathapana Bank and TAFTAC for their contributions towards demining efforts in the Kingdom to achieve the 2025 goal.

CMAA will use the donation from TAFTAC to clear mines in Koh Kong province, he added.

In 2022, the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) demined nearly 195sq km of mine-laden land, according to its director-general Heng Ratana. This year, it aims to clear another 268sq km.

“In the past year, we achieved a proud result. The over 194sq km we had cleared totalled over 340 minefields. We have now declared 168 villages mine-free, along with the capital and eight provinces,” he said on January 11.

Ratana added that in the past year, mine clearance operators had detected and destroyed 61,477 landmines and UXOs, benefiting over 30,000 households directly and indirectly in terms of their residential and agricultural land, and local development.

“CMAC’s educational campaigns reached 22,765 target groups, the equivalent of over 1.3 million Cambodians.

“This magnificent achievement was accomplished with priceless support from our development partners and especially Prime Minister Hun Sen,” he said.

According to Thuch, from 1992 to the end of December last year, mine clearance personnel had cleared 2,554sq km, detecting and destroying 1,153,217 anti-personnel mines, 26,135 anti-tank mines and 3,034,727 ERWs.

“As of December, there was about 1,976sq km which remained under the threat of mines. We estimate that we will need around $130 million to clear the 648sq km we are targeting,” he said.

Thuch added that present donors to the mine action sector include Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, the UK, Germany, China, the US, Ireland, Norway, South Korea, UNDP, UNICEF, in addition to humanitarian assistance from private funds.

“Cambodia is a party to the 1997 Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines, and on their destruction.

There are currently 164 member countries to the convention. Cambodia has laid out its 2025 mine-free strategy, but greater efforts are needed to achieve this goal,” he concluded.