Welcome a visit of the Switzerland Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, led by H.E. Kurt Kunz, Ambassador of Switzerland to Indonesia, Timor-Leste and ASEAN
Phnom Penh, 3 August 2022: The ARMAC Permanent Secretariat was pleased to welcome a visit from a delegation from the Switzerland Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, led by H.E. Kurt Kunz, Ambassador of Switzerland to Indonesia, Timor-Leste and ASEAN. During the meeting, the Executive Director of ARMAC, Mr. Prum Suonpraseth, provided an overview of ARMAC’s history and mandates, and described the outcomes from ARMAC’s recent strategy stakeholder workshops held in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Mr. Prum Suonpraseth discussed mutual areas of interest between ARMAC and the Government of Switzerland, and the possibility of ARMAC collaborating with Switzerland in support of the recently published ASEAN-Switzerland Plan of Action.
Courtesy call on Ambassador of Switzerland to Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR
Bangkok, 1 July 2022
ARMAC Executive Director Mr. Prum Suonpraseth paid a courtesy call on H.E. Ms. Helene Budliger Artieda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Switzerland to Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR (Residence in Bangkok) while he was on-route from attending the Intersessional Meeting of the APMBC and UN NDM 25th held in Geneva, Switzerland from 20-24 June 2022.
The official trip is meant to cement and further advance cooperation between the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center and the Swiss Federal Government as well as other international organizations and partners based in Geneva.
ARMAC ED updated the Ambassador on the progress and achievements made by ARMAC and the Strategy Plan that ARMAC is currently formulating by embarking on a wide range of consultations with AMSs and relevant partners/stakeholders in the region.
ARMAC ED thanked the Ambassador for the financial contribution made by the Swiss Government to support the operations of ARMAC Permanent Secretariat in 2022 and also exchanged views on the soon-to-be adopted ASEAN-Switzerland Plan of Action where ARMAC could play a crucial and contributing role in helping to advance ASEAN-Switzerland cooperation in area of humanitarian mine action.
ARMAC Welcomed Visit of the Ambassador of the Mission of the Republic of Korea to ASEAN
On 16 June, ARMAC had the pleasure of hosting His Excellency Kwon Hee-seog, the Ambassador of the Mission of the Republic of Korea (ROK) to ASEAN, and his team. They met with ARMAC Executive Director Prum Suonpraseth and the Victim Assistance Project team to provide an overview of ARMAC, and update on the government of South Korea’s funding. Through the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund, the ROK has invested over $2 million for the implementation of the “Enhance Victim Assistance Programme in ASEAN Member States (AMSs)”. The initiative is three years long, running through 2023, and has five objectives: (1) promote the establishment of victim assistance network as a regional platform for various stakeholders among ASEAN; (2) assist the AMSs on the victim-assistance-related knowledge sharing, need/s and resource/s assessment and possibility of its mobilization; (3) assess the needs of the victims of ERW (mine/UXO) in the affected AMSs for further assistance; (4) assist the ASEAN Member States (AMSs) in providing psychosocial supports to the victims of ERW (mine/UXO); and (5) conduct research regarding the “ERW (Mine/UXO) Victim Assistance Inclusive Services in Cambodia,” as well as “Community Perspectives of Humanitarian ERW (Mine/UXO) Action in Laos and Viet Nam”.
ARMAC and affected AMSs are grateful for the government of South Korea’s generous support— the project and funding is an immense advantage in the development and strengthening of victim assistance across the region. The consequences of explosive remnants of war on local communities can be devastating but support from projects like the ASEAN-ROK Cooperation Fund is a significant step towards countering these impacts.
Regional Workshop on Residual Risk Management Frameworks for Southeast Asia
From June 14th to 16th, ARMAC and Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) will be hosting a regional workshop on residual risk management frameworks for Southeast Asia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The purpose of the event is to develop frameworks to mitigate and properly respond to the risks associated with mine action, including waste, contamination, and explosive ordnance. Representatives from ASEAN governments, donors and UNDP, international organizations have been invited. Residual risk management is an essential component of a safe and effective mine action sector. This event will serve as a great opportunity for knowledge sharing and a step towards establishing a standard for risk management among ASEAN states.
ARMAC Welcomed Visit of the New Zealand’s ambassador to Thailand
Phnom Penh: 08 June 2022
This afternoon ARMAC Executive Director Mr. Prum Suonpraseth and team members hosted New Zealand’s ambassador to Thailand, Mr. Jonathan Kings. The parties discussed the mission of ARMAC, past and present projects, and ARMAC’s objectives for the future. The government of New Zealand has a long history of investment in humanitarian mine action in the ASEAN region. It is currently aiding ARMAC through a 12 month project aimed at developing the capacity of staff and institutions of the mine action sector. It is also assisting with the development of ARMAC’s long term strategy. ARMAC is grateful for the government of New Zealand’s continued support and we look forward to joint initiatives we will pursue in the future to ensure the security of affected ASEAN member states.
The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) with the support of the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is currently implementing a year-long project aimed at strengthening institutional and staff capacities of humanitarian mine action entities in the ASEAN Region’. A critical part of this project is consulting with ARMAC’s stakeholders throughout the region to understand where ARMAC can best support the Mine Action sector in coming years.
A series of stakeholder workshops are planned throughout the region in the next two months designed to gain inputs from ARMAC’s stakeholders to ultimately drive ARMAC’s future strategy and activities.
The first of these stakeholder workshops is planned with ARMAC’s Cambodia-based stakeholders for 7 June 2022, in Phnom Penh. Representatives from CMAA, CMAC, government ministries, national and international NGO’s, and the UNDP were invited. Similar workshops are subsequently planned for Thailand, Viet Nam and Lao PDR.
This morning ARMAC Executive Director Mr. Prum Suonpraseth and members of the ARMAC team met with the new ambassador of Lao PDR, H.E. Mr. Buakeo Phumvongsay, to discuss ARMAC and its initiatives. Ambassador Phumvongsay expressed his commitment to the mission of ARMAC and safety of his people — Laos is the most heavily bombed country per capita in history and over a third of the bombs dropped failed to explode. To this day, the country suffers tragedies from explosive remnants of war. The security and development of countries such as Laos is achievable through the collaboration of ARMAC and ASEAN member states. We look forward to working with Ambassador Phumvongsay and the Lao government to strengthen mine action capacity in the region.
A workshop hosted in Phnom Penh aimed at sharing knowledge to assist the Philippines to enhance their explosive hazards management capacity concluded on Thursday. The event was proclaimed a ‘resounding success’ by Mr. Prum Suonpraseth, Executive Director of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC), which co-hosted the event with the Fondation Suisse de Déminage (FSD) France, and the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines.
This event has brought together representatives from mine action programs from around the ASEAN member states to share their considerable knowledge and experience with our neighbors from the Philippines who are in the midst of developing their own explosive hazard management mechanisms, particularly in Western Mindanao. It resulted in a detailed road map of possible future policy, operational and capacity development activities to be considered by the Philippines authorities. Mr Suonpraseth stated.
The workshop which ran for two and a half days, was opened with an address by H.E. Mr. Ly Thuch, Vice President 1 and Senior Minister, Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority, who was joined by H.E. Ms. Amelita Aquino, Ambassador of the Philippines to Cambodia and H.E. Mr. Hussein Munoz, Minister and Member of Parliament, Ministry of Public Order and Safety, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). H.E Mr. Ly Thuch stated: We often speak of regional cooperation, and today represents a tangible demonstration and a firm commitment to such cooperation. I recall back in 2012, Cambodia initiated the idea of establishing a Regional Humanitarian Mine Action Centre, mindful that the maintenance of human security is an integral part of the ASEAN Community Building efforts. Thus, ARMAC was created in line with the spirit of the APSC Blueprint that seeks to ensure that all member states of ASEAN, and indeed, all sectors of the society, benefit from the ASEAN process. The workshop featured presentations from the national mine action authorities of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam, focusing on international best practice and lessons learned in the establishment of national and regional coordination mechanisms. There was also a case study presented on the development of the Afghanistan mine action program over the past twenty years. This type of knowledge sharing is exactly the type of regional cooperation that ARMAC was founded for. Mr. Suonpraseth added.
The workshop was focused on the Bangsamoro Region of Western Mindanao Island which has suffered from of decades of conflict, before a peace process between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front concluded in 2014 with the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro. As a result of the conflict, items of unexploded ordnance still remain littered around the region, posing an ongoing hazard to the local inhabitants. The workshop was funded by the European Union.
International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action
Phnom Penh: 4th of April 2022, the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC), in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Fund, marked the 2022 International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action by acknowledging the progress ASEAN Member States, and all the partners and Friends of ARMAC have made in addressing landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). However, they acknowledged that while the threat of explosive ordnance remains in the ASEAN Member States, so too must efforts continue to keep these dangers in public consciousness through consistent and regular Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) and awareness raising.
COMMEMORATION OF INTERNATIONAL MINE AWARENESS AND ASSISTANCE IN MINE ACTION DAY INTHE ASEAN REGION– 4 APRIL 2022
The ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC), with support from the Government of Japan, hosted an event to commemorate International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action on 4 April 2022 in Phnom Penh. The event commenced with a knowledge sharing session, with international experts discussing innovations in the field of Explosive Ordnance Risk Education or EORE. World Education, Mine Mark Foundation and MAG International presented innovative projects in the field.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
At the conclusion of workshop, distinguished guests of the diplomatic community assembled to mark the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. In her keynote address, Her Excellency Mrs. Eat Sophea, Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia underscored that, “the campaign to enhance mine awareness remain a crucial tool not only to educate people of their danger and long-term impacts to affected communities, but also to maintain mine-free and victim assistance effort high on the national and international agendas”.
His Excellency Mr. Chiba Akira, Ambassador of Japan to the ASEAN also addressed the event, highlighting the nearly 50 years of cooperation between Japan and ASEAN and the support that Japan has afforded both to ARMAC and broader mine action efforts within Cambodia and the region. He emphasized the importance of regional approaches and international organizations, given the current turbulence in international relations. He said: The political and security dynamics around the world have been rapidly changing, and ASEAN has become more important than ever in coping with challenges we face.
Diplomatic representatives from ASEAN member states also addressed the event, with His Excellency Mr. U Thit Linn Ohn, Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and His Excellency Mr. Panyarak Poolthup, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Thailand, both highlighting achievements and progress made in the mine action field that have recently been accomplished within their respective states. Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authority Secretary General Mr. Prum Sophakmonkol spoke on behalf of Cambodia The International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action is marked annually on 4 April across the world. In 2005, the United Nations General Assembly called on all states to commemorate this date and continue their efforts to support the development of national mine-action capacities in countries affected by mines and explosive remnants of war. Explosive ordnance (EO) unfortunately still constitutes a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of the civilian population, and an impediment to social and economic development in five of the ten ASEAN Member States.