CMAC, JICA begin demining program for Colombian deminers

(CAMBODIA) 7 June 2010 - The Cambodian Mine Action Centre, supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, began a two-week training course in Phnom Penh on Monday for 16 delegates from Colombia's leading demining organization.


The course will include interactive sessions on demining procedures, including mine action policy and management, an integrated development/mine action approach, survey and clearance management and information and database management, according to a statement by CMAC.
Participants will also visit several regional sites where demining is in progress as well as the mine victim rehabilitation center, an emergency hospital and CMAC's training center. The program will cover key concepts in mine action for staff from the Programa Presidencial para la Accion contra Minas Antipersonal, Colombia's national demining body. PAICMA is responsible for the coordination and regulation of action against antipersonnel mines and works to reduce the risk caused by antipersonnel mines and unexploded ordnance in Colombia. Heng Ratana, the CMAC director general, said, ''CMAC is very excited to be hosting the delegates from PAICMA this month.''
''As part of our Five Year Strategic Plan, we have committed ourselves to growing our training, research and development program into an internationally recognized center of excellence and the tripartite training program we are delivering this month is certainly an excellent example of how we are already achieving this,'' he said. ''All training programs are a mutual exchange process and CMAC staffers are looking forward to some very lively discussions with the Colombian delegates over different techniques and field experiences,'' Heng Ratana added.
Cambodia is one of the world's most heavily mined areas, with millions of land mines left over from decades of civil war that ended the early 1990s and unexploded ordnance left over from half a million tons of bombs dropped on Cambodia by the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
It had 4,320 casualties related to mines and unexploded ordnance in 1996, but only 215 in 2009 owing to mine clearance that has been on-going since 1993. With support from donor countries and other development partners, Cambodia has cleared 520 square kilometers of land and found and destroyed 2.7 million mines and pieces of unexploded ordnance over the past 17 years. CMAC has 2,300 staff members across Cambodia and, based on calculated projections, the country still needs to address more than 2,000 square kilometers over the next 10 years if it is to meet its obligations under the Anti Personal Mine Ban Treaty.
Heng Ratana said that based on his group's strategic plan for 2010-2014, CMAC will need close to $100 million to clear around 200 square kilometers of land and release about 900 more square kilometers of land after surveying it carefully. JICA has been working in Cambodia since 1965 and since 1999 has been contributing to landmine and unexploded ordnance activities, currently in partnership with CMAC to further develop CMAC's training center through activities such as accumulating training and information systems equipment, setting up training implementation procedures and standardizing the training curriculum.

Von: (c) 2010 Kyodo News

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