March 27, 2017
Partners in humanitarian demining efforts in Afghanistan are gathering this week in Geneva for a workshop aimed at bolstering joint efforts to ensure the protection of civilians. The United States has invested heavily in humanitarian demining and conventional weapons destruction programs in Afghanistan, contributing well over 422 million dollars since 1993. “The United States is proud to support humanitarian mine action in Afghanistan because protecting civilians is a prerequisite for achieving any kind of peace and stability,” Ambassador Robert Wood said March 27 at the opening of the workshop. “Whether children going to school, business people carrying out commerce, farmers cultivating their fields, or shepherds tending their flocks, men, women, and children must be protected from the risk of landmines and unexploded ordnance. As long as these dangers persist, it is difficult for communities to recover from conflict.” Wood emphasized the essential contribution of other leading donor governments including Canada, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom, and mine action implementing partners like Mine Action Program for Afghanistan or “MAPA,” the largest, most mature mine action program in the world, whose staff risk life and limb on a daily basis to make the world a safer place. The Afghanistan Donor Coordination Workshop for Mine Action was jointly hosted by the U.S. Department of State, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement and the Afghanistan Ministry for Disaster Management and Foreign Affairs with the support of the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining.