Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan Newsletter: February 2013

News and Press Release
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The Japanese Government donated 3.5 million US dollars to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action which will be used for the UN Mine Action Service Program in Afghanistan. The contribution will enable 36 minefields to be cleared directly benefiting over 11,500 Afghans and 144 communities for the removal of Explosive Remnants of War. Work will be conducted in the provinces of Samangan, Baghlan, Parwan, and Kandahar.

“This generous contribution of the people of Japan will bring us closer to an Afghanistan that is free from the threats of landmines and other explosive remnants of war,” said Mohammad Sediq Rashid, Chief of Operation and OIC of the Mine Action Coordination Centre of Afghanistan.

Abigail Hartley, the Programme Manager of the UN Mine Action Service Program in Afghanistan, further added, “The much welcomed and appreciated contribution by Japan is very timely as it will contribute to the delivery of high priority projects of the first year’s work plan under Afghanistan’s Ottawa Treaty Extension Request. The support will save lives, contribute to stability and make land safe, enabling socio-economic development to take place. Continuing support is needed though to ensure that the Afghanistan is mine free by 2023.”

Mohammad Shafiq Yosufi, Director of the Department of Mine Clearance saying, "On behalf of the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan I greatly thank the people and Government of Japan for their generous and continual contributions in support of Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan. Japan continues to remain as one of the most important partners for Afghanistan and within the last three years (1389, 1390 & 1391) has provided over USD 34 million in support of mine action in Afghanistan. Financial support of Japan to mine action has significantly contributed in the process of landmines and ERW clearance in Afghanistan."

Japan is the second largest donor to the Voluntary Trust Fund for Assistance in Mine Action and has significantly supported the Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan for many years.Through the provision of $110 million since 1991, Japanese funding has contributed considerably to the success of the programme which has cleared over 20,000 hazardous areas, destroyed over 1 million anti-personnel mines and over 14 million items of ERW. The accident rate has dropped from over 2,000 people killed and injured in 2001 to 315 in 2012.