Australia has contributed more than $67 million to Cambodia’s demining efforts as part of its ongoing commitment to assisting the Kingdom in becoming a mine-free nation by 2025, according to the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh.

An April 17 social media post by the embassy said that rural communities in Banteay Meanchey and Battambang provinces are now cultivating various crops on land that was demined thanks to Australian backing.

“Since the early 1990s, Cambodia has cleared about 2,500sq km of landmines, a remarkable development in one of the world’s most heavily mined countries,” it said.

“Australia has donated more than AU$100 million, or $67 million, to these efforts, and is committed to helping Cambodia become mine-free by 2025,” it added.

The post said several personnel from the embassy recently travelled to two provinces where they met with people who live on previously mined land and learned about the real world benefits of demining work.

“Australia is a long-term partner of Cambodia in eradicating this catastrophe. We have been helping with demining operations since 1994, which has had a major impact on Banteay Meanchey, Pailin and Battambang provinces,” it said.

The governments of Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, as well as the UNDP have all provided financial support to the Demining Project for Results, which has thus far progressed to the fourth phase from 2021–2025. The Cambodian government provides 10 per cent of the funding to the programme, which is supervised by the UNDP and carried out by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA).

The project began in 2006 and has contributed to the clearance of 322.87sq km of land, benefitting more than one million rural people.

Prime Minister Hun Sen set the goal of a Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 in a bid to provide security and promote harmony to people from all walks of life.

This year, Cambodia expects to declare more provinces mine-free, among them Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Kratie, Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri.