"Sri Lanka has been heavily contaminated by landmines, but the country is now approaching its goal of becoming mine free. This year, Norway holds the presidency of the Mine Ban Treaty, and intends to help Sri Lanka achieve this important goal," said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide.
State Secretary Marianne Hagen announced Norway’s contribution at a meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo today. With the help of national and international organisations, Sri Lanka has carried out extensive mine clearance activities. In December 2018, 94 % of the mined areas had been cleared. Norway’s contribution will support the vital efforts the authorities are making in this area.
"Mine clearance efforts are an important part of the reconciliation process, and mean that families who were forced to leave their homes during the war can return home safely," Ms. Eriksen Søreide said.
Supporting mine action is part of Norway’s obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty, which was adopted in Oslo in 1997. In 2018, the Government provided NOK 325 million for mine clearance efforts in 18 countries. This level of funding will be maintained in 2019. This is also in line with Norway’s new humanitarian strategy.
The funding provided by Norway will be channelled through two mine clearance organisations that have working in the country for a long time: the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and the HALO Trust. Norway’s main focus is on humanitarian mine clearance to protect civilians.