December 03, 2007 12:07 ET

Canada Announces New Funding for a Mine Action Program in Afghanistan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 3, 2007) - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, accompanied by Afghanistan Ambassador Omar Samad, and Mr. John Flanagan, Acting Director, United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), today announced that the Government of Canada is continuing its role as a lead supporter of mine action in Afghanistan by contributing $80 million over four years to help the country address the issues of mines.

This announcement coincides with the ten-year anniversary of the Convention on the Prohibition on the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Antipersonnel Mines and Their Destruction, known as the Ottawa Convention.

"Canadians can be proud that our country continues to show international leadership in helping to clear land mine areas," said Minister Oda. "We do so because clearing land mine areas is essential to the prosperity of communities - to protect individuals and their families from the dangers of land mines, and to make land safe for useful activities like farming and housing and commerce."

Funding, administered through UNMAS, will support the United Nations Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan (UNMACA), the UN body responsible for the oversight and coordination of mine action activities on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan. Priority activities include surveying, clearing, mine risk education and victim assistance in communities listed as high risk or with the highest numbers of casualties.

"The Government of Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), has been one of the pivotal supporters of mine action in Afghanistan," said Mr. Flanagan. "Canada has played an enormous role in the progress made in overcoming the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), and this ongoing commitment is greatly appreciated."

Canada is the principal donor for demining activities in Afghanistan. So far, the average number of monthly victims has decreased by 55%, and more than one billion square metres of land-equal to 175,000 football fields-have been cleared of mines.

Today's announcement builds on the significant announcement made by this Government in February 2007, in which we contributed $8.8 million for demining activities in Afghanistan. Canada is proud to be a leading contributor in Afghanistan, with our commitment to invest more than $1 billion over 10 years in Afghanistan and improve governance, security and development.

For more information on Canada's programming in Afghanistan, please refer to CIDA's website at

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Jean-Luc Benoit
    Director of communications
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534 (electronic version of document)