‘Only 25 sq.km left to be cleared of mines’ | Daily News

‘Only 25 sq.km left to be cleared of mines’

Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy presents a copy of the National Mine Action Strategy to Norwegian Ambassador Thorbjorn Gaustadsaether, yesterday. Picture by Hirantha Gunathilaka
Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy presents a copy of the National Mine Action Strategy to Norwegian Ambassador Thorbjorn Gaustadsaether, yesterday. Picture by Hirantha Gunathilaka

Of the 1,300 sq.km land area suspected to have been contaminated with mines, only some 25 sq.km remains to be cleared, said Secretary to the National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development, Vocational Training and Skills Development and Youth Affairs Ministry, V. Sivagnanasothy.

He was speaking yesterday at the inauguration of a workshop on the National Mine Action Strategy, held at Cinnamon Lakeside, Colombo.

Delivering the open remarks on the occasion, the Secretary who is also the National Director for mine clearance, said a national mine action strategy was adopted and developed in 2016 with the support of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), and in consultation with mine-clearing agencies and the Sri Lanka Army, with the intention of clearing all mines and explosive remnants of war by 2020.

“Donor partners including Japan, USA, Germany, Canada, UK, Norway, and Australia, and international and non-governmental agencies contributed to the success of the de-mining operation,” Sivagnanasothy said.

He thanked mine-clearing agencies for fast-tracking the clearing of landmines, while maintaining the expected standards according to international guidelines.

“Now we have an evidence-based information management system for mine action, which is a database of all information relating to mines, which helps evidence-based planning, management, monitoring and evaluation of mine clearance,” he said.

The Secretary highlighted the importance of paying attention to the clearing of underwater mines.

Norwegian Ambassador Thorbjorn Gaustadsaether, GICHD Director Stefano Toscano, and representatives of international and non-governmental organisations participated in the occasion.


 

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