The US, through the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), on March 9 signed a cooperative agreement to provide $6,355,720 in grants for the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) to support the clearance of cluster munitions-affected areas for 45 months from March until November 2025.
The signing ceremony was presided over by CMAC director-general Heng Ratana and NPA resident representative Rune Dale-Andresen at the CMAC headquarters in Phnom Penh.
Ratana said the grant aimed to clear cluster munitions-affected areas in Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmum, Kratie, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri provinces.
He added that previously, the grant was provided annually, but through a new agreement, the project span is 45 months. The latest US support will enable CMAC to undertake this humanitarian service using around 200 demining experts to remove cluster munitions from 13,200ha of land.
He added that the Norwegian foreign ministry had also provided an additional $89,077 for two three-month projects – the Landmine Survey and Clearance on the Cambodia-Thailand Border and the Landmine Free Provinces in Southern part of Cambodia.
Ratana said that from this year, CMAC had increased its efficiency and speed in clearing anti-personnel mine-affected areas that were recorded in the national database.
The acceleration of this work aimed to guarantee the safety and socio-economic development, in accordance with the government’s ambition of a mine-free Cambodia by 2025 – as agreed in the Ottawa International Convention, to which the Kingdom is a state party.
To that end, CMAC had enacted reforms and integrated its demining resources – including technical experts, machinery and mine-detection dogs and rats. The organisation’s improved operational procedures meant it could mobilise its assets more efficiently and clear from 150 to 170sq km per year.
CMAC has received enough support and resources to carry out its work until the end of 2025 from many governments including Japan, China and the US, and aid agencies such as the Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS) in Cambodia, NPA and APOPO, the Belgian NGO which trains rats as mine-detectors, he said.
CMAC would continue to collaborate with the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority to gain the support of the UN Development Programme. It also intended to carry on clearing areas of cluster munitions and UXOs, and had projected that this work would be completed by 2030.