The European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) to support the goal of a mine-free Cambodia.
CMAA first vice-president Ly Thuch thanked EuroCham’s 300-plus members for their “kind hearts, commitment, and compassion” towards Cambodia and the people.
“We are very pleased to accept EuroCham’s kind support and contributions to the mine action sector . . . and have great confidence that you will continue to support us until we achieve our goal,” he said at the August 24 signing ceremony.
Thuch considered that EuroCham’s presence would bring Cambodia and Europe closer together and promote bilateral relations.
With EuroCham’s mission, commitment and dedication, he believed that its cooperation with CMAA in the years to come would meet with great success and build a strong foundation that would lead to a broader partnership.
“I wish to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude for every effort made to arrive at this point, particularly to the members of the board and management of EuroCham,” he said.
Thuch hoped that the trust between the two parties will continue to ensure that the objectives and goals of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s initiative to end the suffering of the Cambodian people from explosive remnants of war (ERW) and realise the dream of a mine-free Cambodia by 2025 would be achieved.
He believed that EuroCham would for its part create the environment needed for the private sector to fully participate in the success stories being created by Cambodia’s mine action.
“Our cooperation goes deep. Our relations are beyond the CMAA and EuroCham and their members, but also extends to other private and non-profit sectors,” he said.
“I also like to thank my dear brother Tassilo [EuroCham Cambodia president]and respected board members for your generosity and your commitment to join us on quest to provide safe grounds and create smiles,” he said.
From 1992 to April 2022, roughly385sq km of landmine and ERW-contaminated land were released for productive purposes such as agriculture, resettlement, roads, schools, and other social infrastructure, according to a CMAA report.
It said over one million anti-personnel mines, more than 26,000 anti-tank mines, and nearly three million ERWs were found and destroyed, benefiting almost 7.5 million people.
Cambodia still has 1,991sq km of contaminated land, of which 716sq km is contaminated by landmines. To free this land is estimated to require a budget of $136 million.
On July 1, Prime Minister Hun Sen appealed to the private sector to take part in mine clearance in Cambodia and tasked the Ministry of Economy and Finance with including mine clearance in the national budget.
King Norodom Sihamoni, Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, the Cambodian Red Cross, the private sector, and various philanthropists have so far donated over $19 million to mine clearance in Cambodia, Thuch said.