Moz demining funding drops (Mozambique)
Maputo (27/02/2007) - Reduced funding by international donors will delay the clearing of landmines in Mozambique, Vista News reported on Monday.
Deputy foreign and co-operation minister Henrique Banze was quoted in the Monday edition of the national daily Noticias as saying cuts in funding and the removal of deminers by some demining agencies would stall the process.
"(It) is important for the international demining partners to continue to contribute to the process, because we still have a lot of mines lying around in the country," he said.
"This is affecting the implementation of development projects in some parts of the country."
Without disclosing why international donors had cut down on aid destined for the demining process, Banze said the government was seeking a strategy to minimise the problem of mines in the country.
"While the primary responsibility to remove the mines rests with the government, international partners have a good will to complement our efforts."
Banze was speaking at the opening of a one-day seminar to debate the 2007/2010 national programme of action against landmines.
Donor funding aimed at demining in Mozambique was reduced to $9.2m in 2006 from $12.7m in 2005.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) in its 2005 Landmine Monitor report also lamented on the dwindling funding for the demining activities.
"Twelve donor countries reported contributing a total of some $10m to mine action in Mozambique in 2005," says the report.
"This was a substantial decrease from some $12m donated by 14 countries and the European Commission (EC) in 2004."
Active minefields all over country
Banze said the government was still committed to informing people of areas which were mined to avoid accidents.
"We guarantee security and the free movement of people as they carry out their economic and social activities without fear of landmines," he said.
According to the Mine Action Information centre, in Mozambique landmines were first used by the Portuguese during the war of liberation between 1964 and 1974.
While active minefields in the vast country still cover all the ten provinces they are also found along the borders with Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
According to the ICBL, between 15 000 and 20 000 people die as a result of landmines throughout the world each year.
Von: 27.02.2007 www.news24.com