Peace Palace Building, Council of Ministers, Phnom Penh, 16 -17 May 2018– The Royal Government of Cambodia is organising a National Mine Action Conference, presided over by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, to celebrate 25 years of mine action achievements in Cambodia. The national conference will mobilise the sector and launch the new new National Mine Action Strategy 2018-2025 (NMAS) 2018-2025 to strengthen the visibility of the sector.
The NMAS 2018-2025, as one of the major achievements of the sector, is an ambitious document with eight strategic goals that serve as a guiding reference for all development partners that envisions Cambodia as mine free and where human and socio-economic development will prosper.
The national conference will acknowledge the continuous efforts of the Royal Government, international communities and civil society. Lessons learned from the sector, new ideas on innovation and means for enhanced resource mobilisation for the sector will be discussed amongst partners. Through discussions on effectiveness and efficiency of mine action operations, victim assistance, international cooperation and assistance in mine action and high-level policy dialogue on resource mobilisation, Cambodia becomes a step closer to its ultimate goal of a mine-free Cambodia by 2025.
The issue of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in Cambodia is a result of internal and regional conflicts from the mid-1960s until the end of 1998, and up until present day. According to a nationwide impact survey in 2002, 6,416 villages (46% of all villages in Cambodia) with an area of 4,544 square kilometers were contaminated. An unacceptable 64,720 casualties, both military and civilian, have hindered the country’s socio-economic development.
“The nature of landmine and explosive remnants of war [ERW] contamination in Cambodia is highly complex. Mine clearance is a mission for all of us. We must work together, development partners and relevant parties with Samdech Techo Prime Minister, the President of the CMAA, and the Cambodian people to work hard toward a mine free Cambodia, 2025. We have swept the terrain of this country to make Cambodia mine free and certainly, a new day will come,” shared by H.E. Ly Thuch, Senior Minister and First Vice President of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA).
For 25 years, Cambodia has made great progress in releasing contaminated land and reducing casualties. As of December 2017, 1,700 square kilometers of land have been released and 1.25 million mines and 2.7 million ERW were destroyed. However, an estimated total of 2,000 square kilometers of contaminated land remains to be released.
“UNDP is committed to supporting Cambodia’s 18th Sustainable Development Goal: a mine-free Cambodia by 2025. This is an ambitious, yet achievable goal. It reminds us of the importance of our continuous efforts and hard work within the sector. Mine action establishes the foundation on which peace and sustainable development can be built. We stand ready to support the Royal Government of Cambodia and CMAA to achieve this historical goal –with the strong support of the Governments of Australia, Switzerland and Canada. The National Conference is an important event for us to reflect, learn and build momentum to get the job done by 2025”, raised by Mr. Nick Beresford, Country Director for UNDP in Cambodia.
The collective efforts from the Royal Government of Cambodia and the international community have enabled mine action to sustain its activities throughout challenging stages; from conflict to stabilisation, reconstruction and development assistance.
The National Mine Action Conference is a powerful tool to encourage all sectors of society to work toward achieving Cambodia’s historical goal.