Switzerland will donate $6 million to support demining work in Cambodia and clear all mines in the country by 2025, its ambassador announced on Wednesday.
During a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn, Swiss Ambassador to Cambodia Helene Budliger Artieda said Switzerland will be making a large financial contribution to support the government’s efforts to rid the country of mines by 2025.
“From 2016 to 2019, Switzerland provided $3,450,000 for demining,” ministry spokesman Koy Kuong told reporters after the meeting.
“Switzerland will continue to help the sector with an additional $6 million to be disbursed from 2020 to 2025, the year that the government aims to have all mines in the country cleared,” Kuong said.
He said that at the meeting, Budliger Artieda said Switzerland places great importance on the development of the health sector in Cambodia, particularly as it relates to children’s wellbeing.
She noted that the Swiss government has supported the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital since 1994. From 1994 to 2018, Switzerland donated about $60 million to the hospital.
Budliger Artieda said Switzerland continues to support the hospital to this day.
Sokhonn thanked Switzerland for its contribution to the development of the Kingdom, particularly to its health sector.
He said that, like Switzerland, the Cambodian government has always worked hard to enable the operation of the hospital and allow it to expand its services.
The government, he said, donates $10 million a year to the hospital. It also gives about $5 million a year to the Kantha Bopha Foundation and $1 million to the Cambodian Red Cross.
Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana welcomed the news.
“Switzerland previously provided aid to CMAC through the UN Development Programme. But now it doesn’t provide aid under this programme. Perhaps, Switzerland is now donating through a different organisation,” he said.
In a report released in December, CMAC said it found and destroyed more than 36,000 mines and unexploded ordnance on nearly 6,700ha last year.