Cambodia

Summary

Although the country’s mine problem is known to be one of the largest in the world, Cambodia has achieved great results since 1992. In 2009, Cambodia was granted by States Parties to the APMBC a ten-year extension of its Article 5 clearance deadlines, indicating that there is still a lot to be done to fulfill the APMBC obligations. There is a clear link between mine action and development as mine action is considered as key priority in the Royal Government of Cambodia national strategies and plans and a 9th CMDG for demining was created.
 
Majority of demining assets are deployed in the northwest provinces of Cambodia where most of the problem is. To ensure that mine action resources are allocated effectively, a planning mechanism at the provincial level was established in 1999 to allow consultations between affected communities, development organizations and demining operators under the facilitation of the PMAC/MAPU. This mechanism has been reviewed recently to align with sub-national development planning systems and assets are allocated to the most affected communities.
 
The National Mine Action Strategy (NMAS) consists of 4 goals: (1) reduce Mine/ERW casualties and other negative impacts; (2) contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction; (3) ensure sustainable national capacities to adequately address the residual contamination; (4) promote stability and regional and international disarmament. To achieve those, a number of implementing measures have been defined.
 
The full use of results of the Baseline Survey, the application of land release methodologies before conducting full clearance and the revision of current planning process will ensure that the mine action resources are allocated to the most affected communities and contaminated lands more effectively. With all development partners and key stakeholders aligning their contributions and designing their projects in light of the NMAS, the Royal Government of Cambodia is convinced that sector harmonization and alignment can be achieved and greater impact can be realized.
 

Each year, UN entities, nongovernmental organizations, national and local authorities and donors collaborate to assemble a national portfolio of mine action project proposals that together reflect the strategic response developed in the field to all aspects of the problem of landmines and explosive remnants of war. A Country Portfolio Coordinator, usually a representative of a UN agency or a national authority, coordinates meetings where all mine action actors agree on a set of projects and priorities and determine funding needs. The proposals in each country's portfolio are assembled with those of other participating countries and published jointly by the UN Mine Action Service, the UN Development Programme and UNICEF in an annual "Portfolio of Mine Action Projects." This publication serves as a tool for collaborative resource mobilization, coordination and planning of mine action activities.

Scope of the Problem

Cambodia’s landmine problem is the result of a protracted sequence of internal and regional conflicts that affected the country from the mid 1960s until the end of 1998. The nature of landmine and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) contamination in Cambodia is highly complex. The north-western provinces bordering Thailand are heavily affected by landmines, while other parts of the country (mainly the East) are considered moderate to low impact, affected mainly by ERW including cluster munitions.
 
The number of landmine and ERW casualties has been drastically reduced from 4,320 in 1996 to 211 in 2011 resulting from coordinated and targeted allocation of demining assets. However, mines and ERW have caused an unacceptable number of casualties, and have hindered national reconstruction and development. Cambodia’s landmine and ERW problem is huge and complex for the country to burden alone. International support and assistance will be required for many years to come until the country is able to cope with the problem.
 
The main development goal of the Royal Government of Cambodia is poverty reduction. Past conflicts have left the country with numerous areas contaminated by landmines and ERW that routinely claim lives and limbs and, hold back development efforts. The negative impact of landmines on poverty reduction in Cambodia is still major and has led the RGC to make mine action a key component of its national development plans and strategies.
 

Coordination and Consultation

The CMAA was established with the Prime Minister as the President, a Vice-President, and a Secretary General who is responsible for daily management of the authority (CMAA). The CMAA is mandated to coordinate, monitor and regulate mine action activities as well as to formulate strategies and plans to achieve strategies of the Royal Government of Cambodia. The CMAA has established a number of policies, standards and guidelines for the management of the mine action sector.
 
A Technical Working Group on Mine Action serves as a consultative mechanism between the Government and development partners to discuss policy issues aiming at improving coordination, promoting alignment and harmonization of aid for the mine action sector. The Technical Working Group is mandated to support Government leadership in coordinating development partners and NGOs activities to promote aid effectiveness.
 
Humanitarian demining activities are being undertaken by the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces (RCAF), the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC), the HALO Trust, Mine Advisory Group (MAG) and Cambodia Self-Help Demining (CSHD). There are about 5,000 deminers currently active in Cambodia. In addition, the National Police is reporting threats posed by ERW to operators for destruction. Other mine action stakeholders include the army, government ministries, development partners, provincial and local authorities, community based organizations and development agencies promoting demining integrated development projects.
 
The coordination of planning process has been decentralized to provincial authority where by the provincial Mine Action Planning Units (MAPU), under the leadership of Provincial Mine Action Committees (PMAC), facilitates and coordinates with affected communities, demining operations and development organizations to prepare annual clearance plans based on guidelines issued by the CMAA.
 
CMAA is also leading and chairing Technical Reference Groups meetings to discuss and coordinate technical matters to ensure that the roles and responsibilities of different players in the sector are aligned with national plans and strategies.
 

Strategy

The National Mine Action Strategy (NMAS) sets the framework for mine action to contribute to national strategic development plan, Cambodian Millennium Development Goal 9, and APMBC Article 5 Extension Request. The NMAS covers the period 2010-2019 and contains four goals: (1) reduce Mine/ERW casualties and other negative impacts; (2) contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction; (3) ensure sustainable national capacities to adequately address the residual contamination; (4) promote stability and regional and international disarmament.
 
To achieve the NMAS, Cambodia is required to undertake the following implementation measures (1) complete a baseline survey of 125 districts by 2012; (2) reduce suspected land based on the baseline survey data; (3) mainstream mine action plan with the sub-national planning process; (4) strengthen capacities and coordination in the preparation of mine action coordination plan, gender mainstreaming, information management and quality assurance; (5) participate in the efforts to maintain international and regional stability through partaking in enforcement of international conventions and treaties where Cambodia is a State Party; (6) mitigate casualty and provide assistance to victims of mine/ERW; and (7) maintain sustainable national capacities to address residual threats.
 
To ensure that demining resources are allocated effectively, the mine clearance planning process was reviewed recently to ensure that mine clearance resources are allocated to the most affected communities and the process is integrated with community development planning process. Provincial Mine Action Planning Units (MAPU), an operational arm of the Provincial Mine Action Committees (PMAC), plays a coordination role to ensure that clearance is supportive communities’ needs in a transparent manner.
 
The Land Release Standard built on the results of the BLS and will assist the CMAA and operators in addressing the threat more effectively. This will in turn increase the effectiveness of clearance operations as well as maximize the use of resources. The ultimate aim of land release is to convert mined or suspected land into an end-state land in safe and efficient manner.
 
The Royal Government of Cambodia recognizes that partnerships have enabled important achievements over the last 20 years in the mine action sector. Active participation from all development partners and the demining operators will be essential in achieving the NMAS. Cambodia has benefited greatly from sustained and significant contributions from the international community to fund mine action activities since 1992 and this level of support has been substantially contributing to saving lives and supporting Cambodia’s economic growth.
 
The Royal Government of Cambodia’s contribution to mine action sector has been increasing each year, and significant amounts have been invested by the public and private sector for demining in support of infrastructure reconstruction and development. In addition to this, the contribution to the sector has been tax exemption for the import of the demining related equipment and technologies. The Royal Government of Cambodia will continue devoting its efforts and commitments to the strategic goals and welcomes both private and public-private partnerships for demining in support of economic growth.
 
Partnership Principles for mine action in Cambodia has been signed by a number of development partners. The Partnership Principles requires all development partners to coordinate and align their contributions and design their projects in support of NMAS, to share information about their contribution to the sector. In that manner, Cambodia is expected that international support and assistance will continue at the current level to enable it to meet its obligation as stated in the APMBC.
 


Date Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Treaty signed: Dec 03, 1997
Date of Anti-Personnel Mine-Ban Treaty ratification or accession: Jul 28, 1999
Consents to be bound by Protocol II of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons: Mar 25, 1997
Consents to be bound by Amended Protocol II of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons: Mar 25, 1997
Date signed Protocol V of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons: N/A