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ARMAC discusses integrated approach to mine risk education

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**SIEM REAP, 6 February 2020 – **The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) convened a major consultative meeting on the issue of “Good Practices and Integrated Approaches to Mine/Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Risk Education for Affected Communities in ASEAN Member States (AMS).” This Meeting was the culmination of one-year research and consultation project by ARMAC, supported by the Japan ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF).

During the opening, the Chair of ARMAC’s Steering Committee and Ambassador of Viet Nam to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan for their continued support of the project and to representatives of AMS for their expertise and time.

He noted that during the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Nha Trang, the Foreign Ministers expressed support for ARMAC. Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn highlighted that he “is very encouraged by the positive progress in terms of institutional strengthening of ARMAC.”

Ambassador Minh urged participants to continue their good efforts in working to enhance the ASEAN capacity to effectively address the problems of landmines and ERW” and looked forward to a future of peace and prosperity.

Representing Japan and the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund, Mitori Naoki, Councilor, Consular Office of Japan in Siem Reap, noted Japan’s strong commitment to ASEAN mine action and highlighted that Japan has consistently partnered with the AMS in the mine/ERW sector through financial contributions, provision of equipment and the dispatching of experts. He lauded all ASEAN Member States’ “efforts to promote peace building and to enhance cooperation to share best practices in the region.”

Speaking at the meeting, ARMAC Executive Director Ly Panharith commented that “through the publication of the Study, ARMAC hopes to encourage further efforts in connecting MRE to relevant sectors, including integrating MRE into school curriculums, mobilising volunteer networks, harnessing new technology such as smart phone aps, and other creative approaches to behaviour change.”

Consistent with the agenda of the Regional Meeting, the new ARMAC Magazine featuring stories of integrated mine/ERW risk education from across ASEAN and international developments, was launched. The magazine is now available for download from ARMAC’s website and can be found here https://aseanmineaction.org/resources/magazine.

Concluding the Regional Consultative Meeting, Secretary-General of the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority Prum Sophakmongkol added that this meeting will greatly assist ARMAC’s efforts to develop an integrated approach to MRE, including implementing recommendations from the ARMAC MRE Study where relevant and feasible.

Clearance of deadly landmines and other remnants of wars is extremely important for people who live in contaminated regions of the AMS. The harsh reality is that it will take considerable time and work to de-fuse all the residual explosive devices. Meanwhile, alongside the painstaking clearance process, it is vital to protect and educate people, especially curious children, of the dangers of going into hazardous areas or triggering deadly old weapons.

For any inquiry, please email ARMAC’s Project Team:

Ms. Dwi Prameswari, Senior Officer – dwi@aseanmineaction.org

Mr. Hal Judge, MRE Expert – hal@aseanmineaction.org