One hundred and ten UN Development Programme (UNDP) representatives, development partners, relevant ministries and institutions, diplomats and national and international mine combating operators convened a Mine Action Technical Working Group Meeting to pursue the goals of the National Mine Action Strategy (NMAS) 2018-2025.

At the event on Friday, UNDP resident representative Nick Beresford said the organisation had remained a committed partner in supporting Cambodia and the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) in their mandate to engage stakeholders involved in the mine action sector.

“This partnership has been developed since the inception of the Clearing for Results Project in 2006, and a great deal has been accomplished in that time.

“Most notably, NMAS was developed as a forward-looking strategy to rid Cambodia of landmines by 2025 and to release safe land back to the communities. We aspire to reach this goal and remain committed to supporting CMAA to do so.

“We are also looking forward to engaging with new and potential development partners for the Clearing for Results Project, to further progress in mine action and to gain insights, expertise and strategies to increase the impact of mine action in Cambodia,” said Beresford.

In a press release on Friday, CMAA said: “All relevant stakeholders are committed to supporting the NMAS including providing the budget to eliminate mines, capacity strengthening, victim support, and awareness-raising about the issue on mines to get Cambodia to be a country without mines by 2025.”

To reduce dangers caused by mine and unexploded ordnance this year, national and international mine awareness-raising operators educated 772,439 people, including 259,891 women and 167,677 girls, said the press release.

Senior minister and CMAA secretary-general Ly Thuch said at the meeting that NMAS aims to achieve its vision of a mine-free Cambodia for human and socio-economic developments to take place safely.

“To achieve such vision, adequate resources are a necessity. The most critical strategic objective is to maintain and strengthen relationships with traditional donors who have and will be expected to provide the majority of the sector’s funding requirements.

“We, therefore, need to work together to invigorate the promotion of effective partnerships and to mobilise external resources that are needed to render Cambodia mine-free by 2025 as stipulated in the NMAS 2018-2025,” he said.

Through this meeting, Thuch said, he was confident that solutions to the emerging problems would be found, and more effective mine action management methods would be developed.

The press release said from January to November of this year, 97,240,406 sqm of land suspected of having landmines and unexploded ordnance were cleared. So far, 12,678 mine debris and 43,763 unexploded ordnances were found, and 524,224 people in 159,586 families benefited from the cleared land.