The Government of Japan has provided a total sum of US$ 636,262 (approx. Rs. 115 million) to the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) for humanitarian demining activities in Northern Sri Lanka.
The grant contract was signed yesterday at the Ambassador’s Residence in Colombo, between Ambassador of Japan Mr. SUGIYAMA Akira, and Interim Country Director of MAG Ms. Emilie Mbaye.
The project will contribute to the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in ensuring that mine-contaminated areas are safe, enabling the resettlement of displaced people and enhancing directly or indirectly more than 8,000 people’s livelihoods in the Mannar and Vavuniya Districts.
MAG commenced operations in Sri Lanka in 2002 with approximately 20% of its clearance activities accomplished through Japanese assistance. Since 2009 when precise data was made available, MAG has released the total of 93km2 of suspected contaminated land in the country.
Japan has been a major donor in the area of mine clearance in Sri Lanka since 2002 and is the only donor in the country which assists all four demining NGOs currently operating in the island. More than US$ 38.2 million worth of assistance was rendered towards this cause through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
The Government of Sri Lanka aims to achieve “a mine impact free Sri Lanka” within a few years and to become the next mine impact free country in the world. Through this project the Government of Japan endeavors to ensure that Sri Lanka is safe for all.
Commenting on the provision of this grant, Ms. Emilie Mbaye said;
“MAG is honored to accept this grant from the Government of Japan, an esteemed donor for Humanitarian Mine Action projects both within Sri Lanka and around the world. In the last six years alone, the partnership between MAG Sri Lanka and the Government of Japan has enabled the removal and destruction of over 13,000 landmines. It has helped many people resettle and rebuild their lives and livelihoods in Mannar, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya districts through its clearance operations. The funding from the People of Japan will not only contribute to saving lives but also building safer futures for the mine-affected and poorest communities in the country. With this continued Japanese support, MAG is looking forward to continuing clearance activities during the final stage of landmine release in country in support of the Government of Sri Lanka’s commitment to being mine impact free.”