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UK Commits a Further $3.8 Million to Fund Mine Clearance in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH: The UK Government has today (20 February) announced new funding for leading British organisations the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and The HALO Trust (HALO) to help clear mines and educate communities about the associated risks in eight countries - Angola, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Laos, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

It follows funding announced last year for projects in Ukraine and Afghanistan and will support more than 50,000 people across the 10 countries.

MAG and The HALO Trust anticipate that almost 17 million square metres of land will be freed of mines in the 10 countries thanks to the UK funding. The release of land for agriculture, housing, and basic social services such as schools, hospitals, water, and sanitation will support and promote economic development within communities around the world, restore livelihoods in rural and marginalised areas, as well as strengthen local production and food security.

MAG and HALO will also reach over half a million people with more than 34,000 in – person explosive ordnance risk education sessions, which will significantly improve risk awareness and community safety across the countries

Eight countries across Africa and Asia to be supported through £17 million in new funding to Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and The HALO Trust (HALO).

• £3m ($ 3.8 Million) of this funding will support operations in Cambodia.

• The work of MAG and HALO will support the clearance of explosives, as well as raising awareness of the danger of mines .

• Combined with programmes announced last year in Ukraine and Afghanistan, more than 50,000 people are expected to benefit from the programme

Dominic Williams, British Ambassador to Cambodia, said:

“I am delighted that the UK is putting a further $3.8m USD behind the Cambodian government’s goal for a landmine - free Cambodia by 2025. The UK government and British humanitarian demining organisations, HALO Trust and the Mines Advisory Group, are among Cambodia’s longest – standing partners in mine clearance operations. For over 30 years, UK funding has supported the heroic efforts of Cambodian and international deminers to clear land for productive use, protect communities and save individual lives.”

Today’s announcement brings the total amount committed through multi - year contracts under the third iteration of the Government’s Global Mine Action Programme (GMAP) to £28 million. GMAP has been running since 2014 and has supported the clearance of hundreds of millions of square metres of land to date.

The funding announced today will allow work to continue in some of the world’s most heavily mined countries, such as Cambodia and Laos, as well as some of the poorest countries in the world such as South Sudan and Somalia until March 2025. It will also support a new country programme in Ethiopia, where HALO is currently the only active international mine operator.

Funding will also create new opportunities for women in countries like Angola, Cambodia and Laos through increased employment and career development in demining, with ongoing investment in staff training.

Darren Cormack, CEO of MAG, said:

“We are immensely grateful for the funding and long - standing support from the UK Government and are delighted to partner with The HALO Trust to continue our work in some of the world’s most mine - affected countries. “Whilst much remains to be done in many active conflict environments in which we are working, this funding will provide vital assistance to many countries that are tackling the legacy of conflict, which continues to claim lives long after the fighting is over. This is an important step towards a mine - free world.”

James Cowan, CEO of The HALO Trust, said:

“This funding announcement coincides with The HALO Trust celebrating the clearance of 5,000 minefields in Cambodia, 1,000 minefields in Angola and a staggering 2 million landmines worldwide. None of these milestones would have been possible without the support of our donors. The sustained commitment of the UK government and generosity of the British taxpayer have played a vital role.

“We will continue our lifesaving work alongside MAG and other partners in the sector until the last mine is gone and last munition defused.”

• For over 30 years, MAG and The HALO Trust have been delivering a broad range of humanitarian mine action initiatives.

• Funding announced today, which totals close to £17 million, will support MAG and HALO to continue their vital ongoing work in in 8 countries - Angola , Cambodia, Ethiopia, Laos, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

• Cambodia is contaminated with land mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) as a result of thirty years of armed conflict, starting with advent of the Cambodian Civil War in 1967 and only ending with its final conclusion in 1998.

• Research publication Landmine Monitor estimates that landmines and other ERW have resulted in at least 65,000 casualties since 1979. The true number is likely higher, due to difficulties in reporting both historic casualties and those in remote areas.

• It currently has an estimated 681km 2 of remaining contamination – classed as “massive,” the highest possible classification, by the research publication Mine Action Review.

• The UK has funded mine clearance operations in Cambodia for over 30 years.

• GMAP will provide £3m of total funding over the course of this contract; £0.8m in this Financial Year, and £2.2m in the next.

• This is an increase on recent funding levels (£1.6m p/a).

• Under the GMAP3 multicounty contract, MAG will deliver clearance and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) in Battambang province (in the west of the country), and HALO will deliver clearance, risk education and EOD in the western provinces of Battambang, Oddar Meanchey, Banteay Meanchey, Palin, Siem Reap, Preah Vihear, Pursat, and Koh Kong.

• Today’s funding follows £11.6 million that was awarded to MAG and HALO for projects in Ukraine and Afghanistan last year.

• MAG and HALO, the world’s leading humanitarian mine action organisations, have decades of experience across all 10 countries and will draw on the additional expertise of a local humanitarian partner to deliver risk - education work in Myanmar.

• As one of the founding signatories to the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, the UK has had a major role in tackling the legacy of landmines and explosive remnants of war. In the 26 years since the treaty was signed, aid from the UK Government has made a substantial contribution to the peace and wellbeing of millions of people around the world.


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