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Japan pledges $1.8M for demining projects

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Japanese ambassador Masahiro Mikami (centre) during the signing ceremony on Wednesday. JAPAN EMBASSY

Japan pledges $1.8M for demining projects

The Japanese government has provided nearly $1.8 million to promote community development through the clearance of cluster munitions and unexploded ordnance (UXO) under the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects.

The two projects include over $900,000 for support with cluster munitions disposal in Stung Treng province and nearly $900,000 for demining in Banteay Meanchey.

The contract was signed on February 23 by Japanese ambassador Masahiro Mikami and the representative of Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS).

In a press release, the embassy said that in the first project, JMAS will secure 470ha of cluster munitions-contaminated areas while transferring efficient and safe clearance skills to the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC). The project will also provide landmine risk avoidance education to the locals. In addition, agricultural experts will train farmers in agricultural technology and management.

For the second project, JMAS will clear 250ha of landmines and UXO. In addition to providing training to local people, the organisation will teach rice cultivation techniques and develop model farms on the cleared land.

Mikami said the Japanese government has provided grants to Japanese NGOs in Cambodia in support of socio-economic development projects since 2002. It has provided over $46.6 million for 143 projects, mainly in the field of primary education, health, agriculture and mine clearance in Cambodia.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cluster bombs discovered in a field in 2020. CMAC

“[Each] project has contributed to an improvement in the quality of life of the Cambodian people,” he said.

JMAS has been carrying out projects in collaboration with CMAC since 2002 and has cleared thousands of landmines and UXO.

Since 2019, it has also provided agricultural assistance to improve the lives of people living in areas where landmines and UXO had been cleared.

Mikami recalled that in October, an exchange of letters was signed with the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority to provide vehicles for landmine detection.

“Japan is not only supporting the two projects we signed today, but has also transferred demining skills and build the capacity of CMAC through cooperation,” he said.

The Cambodian government has set the goal of removing all anti-personnel mines by 2025 in accordance with the Ottawa Convention.

“Cambodia is developing rapidly, but has still some challenges to be addressed to improve the quality of life of the people, such as poverty reduction and social development, including the health and educational environments,” Mikami said.

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