Commemoration of the International Day for Mine Awareness

Remarks by Mr. Shakeel Ahmad, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Cambodia

April 3, 2024

Excellency Ly Thuch, Senior Minister and First-Vice President of the CMAA (representing Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, Prime Minister and President of CMAA),
Ambassadors and Friends from Embassies
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure and profound gratitude that I speak today to commemorate the UN International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. Under the resonant theme of "Protecting Lives. Building Peace.," we come together to reflect on the enduring challenges posed by landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) and to recommit ourselves to the critical mission of mine action.

The significance of this day cannot be overstated, as it serves as a poignant reminder of the immense human toll caused by landmines and UXO across the globe. These
silent killers continue to inflict unspeakable suffering upon innocent civilians, claiming lives, maiming bodies, and shattering communities. They disrupt lives, livelihoods, and entire societies, perpetuating cycles of poverty, displacement, and insecurity.

Yet, amidst these stark realities, we also bear witness to the remarkable resilience and courage of those affected by landmines and UXO. Their unwavering spirit in the
face of adversity serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration to all of us. It is our collective responsibility to stand in solidarity with them, to amplify their voices, and to advocate for their rights to safety, dignity, and peace.

In Cambodia, the progress made in mine action efforts over the years is a testament to the power of collective action and partnership. Through tireless dedication and commitment of the national institutions led CMAA, we have witnessed the transformative impact of mine action initiatives in Cambodia and beyond. However, despite the tremendous progress, landmines and UXO still pose a grave threat to the lives and well-being of millions of people.

The UNDP, in collaboration with the Royal Government of Cambodia and our valued partners, has been at the forefront of spearheading comprehensive mine action programs aimed at addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by landmines and UXO. From clearance operations to risk education, victim assistance, and capacity development, our interventions have saved lives, restored hope, and laid the foundation for sustainable peace and development.  Mine action is a top priority for UNDP – we’ve supported mine action programmes in over 50 countries in the last 30 years.

However, as we reflect on our achievements, we must also acknowledge the formidable obstacles that lie ahead. On average, one person is killed or injured by landmines and other explosive ordnance every hour. Millions of people around the world continue to live in fear of landmines and UXO, and their lives are overshadowed by the looming specter of death and injury. It is incumbent upon all of us to redouble our efforts, to mobilize resources, and to forge ahead with renewed determination in our shared pursuit of a mine-free world. Mine Action is an investment in humanity. It is a prerequisite for humanitarian relief efforts and the foundation of lasting peace and sustainable development.

As we commemorate the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, let us reaffirm our commitment to protecting lives and building peace. Let us draw strength from the courage and resilience of those affected by landmines and UXO, and let us unite in our resolve to overcome the challenges that lie ahead. Together, we can turn the tide against this insidious threat and create a safer, more just, and more prosperous world for all.

Thank you. Som Akun