Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia last week where he announced the funding support.
Trudeau pledged CAD 990,000 (USD 745,207) to assist in demining efforts that are conducted by grassroots organizations and the governments of Cambodia and Laos to remove unexploded bombs from civil wars and American bombing during the Vietnam War.
He made the announcement at an event that focused on women involved in peacekeeping efforts. “When land is cleared, not only are people safer and children can play, but land can be used for farming and development,” he said.
At present, twenty-five percent of the land in Laos can’t be used due to UXOs in the area. Canada has been at the forefront of urging nations to stop using munitions and participate in remediation efforts for decades. It is also responsible for the 1997 Ottawa Treaty that aimed at eliminating anti-personnel landmines around the world and has 164 signatories as of today.
Mines continue to be a topic of contention in armed conflicts globally, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Cambodia has assisted people in Ukraine to remove mines and reclaim their land.
Trudeau referred to it as “a true example of the way countries can pull together, and learn from it.”
The United States has also pledged USD 45 million in funding for removing UXOs in Laos in 2023, the highest annual amount ever.