Cambodia, along with international partners, hosted a workshop titled “Enhancing Innovative and Sustainable Practices in Mine/UXO Action” from September 12-14.
The purpose of this forum was to share information and seek solutions to challenges related to landmines, particularly in light of the increasing use of anti-personnel mines due to regional and global crises.
The event was coordinated in collaboration with the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) and received support from “Clearing for Results, Phase IV,” an initiative financially backed by Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, the UNDP, and diplomatic representatives based in Cambodia.
The gathering brought together representatives from institutions and delegations across the region, including those involved in mine action efforts in Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
According to a CMAA press release, the conference was aligned with the principles of South-South cooperation among mine-affected countries in the ASEAN region and served as a platform for participants to foster peer-to-peer learning, exchange success stories and address the challenges associated with the issues of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).
Ly Thuch, first vice-president of the CMAA, stated during the event that ongoing crises and global conflicts are leading to a higher use of anti-personnel mines and increased contamination, resulting in new challenges and risks.
He said land contamination by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) was estimated in more than 60 states and territories worldwide.
“Despite international efforts to prevent the use of landmines, they continue to be laid in conflict situations,” he said.
“The majority of explosive ordnance [EO] casualties occur in conflict-affected countries contaminated with mines. Asia, including the Middle East, has the unfortunate distinction of being the most affected continent in the world by the number of countries impacted by landmines. Of the 10 members of ASEAN, EO remains a major issue for Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and the Philippines,” he detailed.
He added that the achievement of mine clearance would not have been possible without the crucial elements of peace and stability and that the nation is grateful to former Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ‘Win-Win Policy,’ which served as the foundational framework for bringing peace and stability to Cambodia.
“South Korea is actively supporting the ‘Mekong Peace Community Program’ in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam from 2019 to 2030,” stated Park Jung-wook, the ambassador of South Korea to Cambodia.
“This initiative, with a funding of $103.5 million, is dedicated to fostering peace and sustainable development across the Mekong region,” he continued.
In Cambodia, the Mekong Peace Village Development Programme integrates two KOICA initiatives: the “Clearing for Results - Phase 4: Mine Action for Human Development Project” and the “Project of Building Peace Villages through Integrated Rural Community Development”.
These projects have secured $20 million in funding, with a primary focus on areas including mine clearance, victim assistance, and mine risk education, in addition to rural development endeavours, according to Thuch.
Through these initiatives, KOICA backs Cambodia’s objective of being mine-free by 2025.