UK triples commitment to landmine clearance

5 Apr 17

The UK has pledged almost £100m of new funding to landmine clearance in developing countries, tripling its existing commitment in the area.

International development secretary Priti Patel made the commitment last night at an event hosted by Prince Harry at Kensington Palace. It marks 20 years since Princess Diana visited Angola to draw global attention to the issue.

The £100m will be spent over the next three years through the UK’s existing Global Mine Action programme. This will include £4.5m of previously committed funding as well as £8.1m of new funding in 2017-18.

The remaining £87.4m of new funding will be allocated later this year and spent within the next two years in countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Cambodia.

Speaking at the event, Patel said: “Landmines are a global scourge that destroy opportunity and hope. We do not have to accept this.

“Global Britain has had a historic role in tackling the indiscriminate and lethal legacy of landmines, but there is still more to do. Our support will make safe the equivalent of over 20,000 football pitches and 800,000 people live their lives free from the threat of mines.”

In 1997, the UK became a founding signatory of the Mine Ban Treaty – now one of the most widely subscribed global treaties, comprising 80% of the world’s nations. Through a number of organisations including the Mines Advisory Group and the Halo Trust, the UK also provides advice and expertise on the issue globally.

According to Dfid, with the contribution of UK aid, Mozambique was declared mine free in 2015, joining a group of 26 countries to be declared mine-free in the last two decades.

Across the world, around 60 million people live with the threat of injury or death from mines, and in 2015 alone, almost 6,600 people were killed or injured by a landmine or explosive device left behind after a conflict. Three-quarters of these were civilians, and a third were children.

Patel confirmed the new funding would enable 150 square kilometres of land to be declared landmine-free.

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