The Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) is holding a five-day workshop to gather input for their strategic planning, aimed at strengthening their capacity to support the removal and disposal of explosive remnants of war in Cambodia after 2025.
CMAC director-general Heng Ratana told The Post that the workshop would be held from January 31 to February 4, 2022 in Phnom Penh, with nearly 100 participants. It is the third such conference since 2017.
“This workshop is to prepare our post 2025 strategic plan. We need to begin to cultivate this now, because we expect the explosive remnants situation to change after then,” he said.
Ratana said the Government of Japan, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), had supported CMAC in initiating its post 2025 strategic plan.
The strategic plan would strengthen both soft input – such as human resource training and expansion of cooperation – and hard input such as equipping technical facilities and building schools and museums.
He said that CMAC would work to reform its operations to increase efficiency in order to achieve the “Mine-Free Cambodia” strategic plan by late 2025, and planned to demine about 700 square kilometres, or about 90 per cent of the remaining mined areas.
He added that although Cambodia was on track to complete its clearance of anti-personnel mines in line with the mandate of the Ottawa International Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Anti-Personnel Mines by late 2025, there were still unexploded ordnance in the country, such as cluster munitions and bombs. CMAC would still continue to clear these items.
“The threat posed by all kinds of unexploded ordnance that is not under the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty and bombs dropped from aircraft has not yet subsided – there is still a high level of danger,” he said.
Ratana added that at the last two workshops, CMAC has assessed its basic needs and begun to strengthen its human resource capacity. It had trained more teachers which had improved its technical institutes and produced more experts in demining techniques.
He said there were still many challenges facing the demining sector, including the development of strategic plans and responses to situations encountered in the past.
“Previously, our ability to respond to demands was limited. People had to take the risk of clearing their land because they could not always wait for one of our teams to become available. This meant more people exposing themselves to danger. The number of people doing this has reduced, but it is still happening,” he said.