Our Shared Goal:  Commitment to Demining in Cambodia

US ambassador cambodia halo trust feb 2022.

To mark Cambodia’s 25th National Mine Awareness Day on February 24, the United States reaffirms its enduring commitment to humanitarian mine action in the Kingdom, having committed over $208 million towards clearing explosive remnants of war since 1993.  We are honored to sustain U.S. support for Cambodia’s Mine-Free 2025 goal with an additional $12 million in demining support for 2024. This commitment saves lives and helps Cambodia continue to develop.

U.S. assistance has supported broad and successful efforts to make Cambodia a safer and more productive home for its citizens and for international visitors through landmine clearance, risk education, and small arms destruction.  Although the United States played no role in landmine contamination during the decades of conflict Cambodia endured, generous U.S. humanitarian funding has helped to remove over 100,000 landmines since 1993, restoring 157 million square meters of mine-infested land to communities. These results translate directly to improved lives and livelihoods for Cambodians by creating opportunity for further development and economic activity.

Cambodia is itself a leader on demining efforts in the country, a commendable feat which is supported by an international community of nearly two dozen countries committed to humanitarian landmine action and to the people of Cambodia.  Top foreign contributors to mine action in Cambodia, including the United States, have invested a combined $600 million since 1993 to clear landmines, provide risk education, donate equipment, and support victims—including with artificial limbs.     

Cambodia has emerged from decades of conflict and suffering as one of the most mined countries in the world to become a demining leader and contributor on a global scale.  The Kingdom has provided Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians to UN Peacekeeping Operations in Africa and the Middle East.  Cambodia has also exchanged knowledge with deminers and EOD technicians in Colombia, Angola, and Iraq and trained counterparts in Ukraine who contend with Russia’s use of banned antipersonnel mines that have led to civilian casualties and disrupted food production.  

Cambodia will chair the 5th Review Conference of the Mine Ban Convention in November this year, a watershed moment for a country once devastated by the effects of extensive mine fields.  Led by the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority (CMAA), chairing the 2024 international event marks the first time an Asian country has both hosted and chaired a Review Conference since the anti-personnel mine ban convention came into effect in 1999.   

The United States also remains committed to healing and recovery from the residual effects of unexploded ordnance, including cluster munitions, by providing support for Cambodia’s important UXO-free goals, predominately in eastern parts of the Kingdom.  The United States helps reduce UXO contamination, including U.S.-origin munitions, as the leading financial supporter for the Cambodian Mine Action Center’s (CMAC) Demining Unit 5, which conducts surveys of 35 million square meters of cluster munition-contaminated land and actively clears UXO. The U.S.-Cambodia partnership with CMAC has endured for three decades and been a force multiplier in advancing life-saving work for the Cambodian people. 

 In addition to our work with Cambodia’s demining and UXO institutions, CMAA and CMAC, the United States supports a range of expert international and local implementing partners who work on the front lines of landmine and UXO detection and clearance, including Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), The HALO Trust (HALO), the Mine Advisory Group (MAG), Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, Humanity & Inclusion, Cambodian Self Help Demining, and others. I am proud of these partnerships, the deep-rooted dedication of the United States to humanitarian mine action in Cambodia and around the world, and to be among foreign nations working to secure freedom from landmines and UXO for the Cambodian people.

Related Articles