The 25th Anniversary of National Mine Awareness Day

Remarks by Ms. Alissar Chaker Resident Representative, UNDP Cambodia

February 22, 2024

Aroun suostei nak teang oas knea!  Ter  nak sokhasabbay cheate?  Soum or koun sam rab kar chol rum knong Tgai  nih

-    Excellency Ly Thuch, Senior Minister, and First-Vice President of the CMAA 
-    Excellency H.E. Prum Sophakmokol, Vice President of CMAA
-    Excellency Sok Lou, Governor of Battambang Province
-    Ambassadors and Friends from Embassies
-    Excellencies, colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen

I am honored to celebrate with you again this year Cambodia’s National Mine Awareness Day 2024. 

Cambodia has made significant progress towards the achievement of its Sustainable Development Goal #18 for a mine-free Cambodia by 2025. Indeed, the country has already declared 15 Provinces as mine-free, releasing over 2,300 km2 of anti-personnel landmine-contaminated land. Nevertheless, 10 provinces remain contaminated after many years leading to generations having to migrate or change their lives and livelihoods to avoid danger. Mines threaten lives and limit the freedom of movement and access to land, leading to a vicious circle of poverty and marginalization, besides fear and insecurity. 

Through mine risk education, clearance, and advocacy, the number of casualties has been decreasing drastically. The number of victims decreased from 4,320 in 1996 to just 32 in 2023.  

However, one victim is already too much! Landmines kill and at best cause lifelong impairments. They destroy livelihoods and impede national economic development. These remnants of war violate people’s fundamental rights to life, liberty, and security. They violate their social, economic, and cultural rights for decades after a conflict.

UNDP has been playing an active role in mine action since the nineties, supporting the Royal Government in mine risk education, clearance, and advocacy and in addressing the worst effects of landmines through victim assistance leveraging access to treatment and specialized services for survivors and their families. Approximately, 40,000 survivors still require support today. Through this work, UNDP contributes also to the implementation of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  

Since 2006, the Clearing for Results (CfR) project released 352 square kilometers of land amounting to 15% of the sector's achievements, benefitting nearly 1.2 million people. Prioritizing mine risk education through a mixture of participatory activities including the production of awareness material, educational and communication tools, and training communities, teachers, and police on explosive ordnance hazards and safe behaviors, the project ensured that remote communities know how to keep safe and where to seek help.

These achievements are possible thanks to our development partners, particularly, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. 

In closure, I reconfirm UNDP’s unwavering commitment to supporting the Royal Government of Cambodia in its pursuit of a mine-free Cambodia, extending my deepest respect to His Excellency Ly Thuch for his vision and dynamic leadership and H.E Ly Panharith for his dedication and diligence, urging yet for broader efforts and partnerships to safeguard people and close the deadly chapter of mine-contamination in Cambodia.

Thank you.