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MAG and HALO to receive UK funding

The UK Government has today announced £17 million new funding for British demining organisations, the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and The HALO Trust (HALO), to help clear mines and educate communities about the associated risks in eight countries - Angola, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Laos, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Image courtesy FCO

It follows funding announced last year for projects in Ukraine and Afghanistan – supporting more than 50,000 people from programmes across the 10 countries.

MAG and The HALO Trust anticipate that almost 17 million square metres of land will be freed of mines in the 10 countries thanks to the UK funding. The release of land for agriculture, housing, and basic social services such as schools, hospitals, water and sanitation will support and promote economic development within communities around the world, restore livelihoods in rural and marginalised areas, as well as strengthen local production and food security.

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MAG and HALO will also reach over half a million people with more than 34,000 in-person explosive ordnance risk education sessions, which will significantly improve risk awareness and community safety across the countries.

Minister for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, said: "Landmines are a nightmare – causing thousands of deaths and injuries each year.

"The UK remains committed in its determination to work towards a mine-free world and is delighted to award extra funding to MAG and The HALO Trust to continue their life-saving work.

"We want to help both organisations create safe and secure environments where communities live freely without fear of the deadly threat of landmines."

Today’s announcement brings the total amount committed through multiyear contracts under the third iteration of the Government’s Global Mine Action Programme (GMAP) to £28 million. GMAP has been running since 2014 and has supported the clearance of hundreds of millions of square metres of land to date.

The funding announced today will allow work to continue in some of the world’s most heavily mined countries, such as Cambodia and Laos, as well as some of the poorest countries in the world such as South Sudan and Somalia until March 2025. It will also support a new country programme in Ethiopia, where HALO is currently the only active international mine operator.

Funding will also create new opportunities for women in countries like Angola, Cambodia and Laos through increased employment and career development in demining, with ongoing investment in staff training.

Darren Cormack, CEO of MAG, said: "We are immensely grateful for the funding and long-standing support from the UK Government and are delighted to partner with The HALO Trust to continue our work in some of the world’s most mine-affected countries.

"Whilst much remains to be done in many active conflict environments in which we are working, this funding will provide vital assistance to many countries that are tackling the legacy of conflict, which continues to claim lives long after the fighting is over. This is an important step towards a mine-free world."

James Cowan, CEO of The HALO Trust, said: "This funding announcement coincides with The HALO Trust celebrating the clearance of 5,000 minefields in Cambodia, 1,000 minefields in Angola and a staggering two million landmines worldwide. None of these milestones would have been possible without the support of our donors. The sustained commitment of the UK government and generosity of the British taxpayer have played a vital role.

"We will continue our lifesaving work alongside MAG and other partners in the sector until the last mine is gone and last munition defused."

For over 30 years, MAG and The HALO Trust have been delivering a broad range of humanitarian mine action initiatives.
    
Funding announced today, which totals close to £17 million, will support MAG and HALO to continue their vital ongoing work in the below eight countries:

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  • Angola: £2 million will be provided to MAG and HALO to deliver clearance and risk education in the East and South of the country. To date, HALO and MAG have released more than 230 million square metres of land back to communities in Angola and in January, HALO celebrated the clearance of 1,000 minefields in Angola.
  • Cambodia: GMAP funding has supported work in Cambodia since 2014, with today’s announcement committing a further £3 million for work in the rest of the country. To date, MAG and HALO have rendered safe more than 600 million square metres in Cambodia, with HALO supporting the clearance of 5,000 minefields in Cambodia.
  • Ethiopia and Somalia: Ethiopia is the latest addition to the GMAP project, with £1.2 million committed to support the HALO Trust’s operations near the Somali border. A further £1.8 million will allow work to continue in Somalia, which has been supported through GMAP since 2016
  • Laos: This year will mark 30 years of MAG’s operations in Laos – the world’s most heavily bombed country per capita – where more than 145 million square metres of land have been cleared. The UK has funded projects in Laos since 2014, with a further £1.9m being committed over the next year.
  • Myanmar: Despite a challenging context, MAG and The HALO Trust are successfully delivering risk education and other community liaison activities within the country and £0.75 million from GMAP will support continuation of this work.
  • South Sudan: £2.1 million will help MAG and The HALO Trust clear land for resettlement and agriculture, a prerequisite for refugees and communities to return home and rebuild their lives.
  • Zimbabwe: £4.2 million in funding will continue to support country’s efforts in achieving landmine-free status by 2025, a major milestone and a crucial step towards sustainable development in the once affected areas.

Today’s funding follows £11.6 million that was awarded to MAG and HALO for projects in Ukraine and Afghanistan last year.

MAG and HALO, the world’s leading humanitarian mine action organisations, have decades of experience across all 10 countries and will draw on the additional expertise of a local humanitarian partner to deliver risk-education work in Myanmar.
    
As one of the founding signatories to the Mine Ban Treaty in 1997, the UK has had a major role in tackling the legacy of landmines and explosive remnants of war. In the 26 years since the treaty was signed, aid from the UK Government has made a substantial contribution to the peace and wellbeing of millions of people around the world.
 

 

 

 

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