Cambodia is the top recipient of funding from the United Kingdom’s global demining program, which allocates more than US$10 million a year globally, its Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Mark Gooding, said.
The program here is implemented by Mines Advisory Group (MAG) on behalf of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA) and provides $6 million over three years, Gooding said during his recent visit to Battambang. The province is one of the most mine contaminated provinces in the Kingdom.
Within the past six months, 675,866 square meters have been cleared and 2,738 hazardous items removed in areas identified as high priority land. High priority land is land that can be used for the socioeconomic and development needs of local communities, primarily impoverished villages with little access to farmland.
“The UK is strongly committed to supporting demining work in Cambodia, a country that knows all too well the devastation that can be caused by mines and unexploded ordnance,” the Ambassador said, adding that the funding was “delivering real benefits to affected communities”.
The UK allocated $45 million to its international mine action program for 2010 to 2013. It gave $7.5 million more to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund, supporting mine action in 10 countries.
Prior to his visit in Battambang province, Gooding led the UK delegation during the 11th Meeting of the States Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in Phnom Penh. He also participated in the Angkor Wat Half Marathon, a fundraiser for mines victims, earlier this month.
Gooding arrived in Cambodia in September. Previously he served as Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and theMaldives and as Political and Economic Consul at the British Consulate General in Shanghai. In London, his positions included Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary and Head of the EU Budget team.