Ja­pan grants US$ 625,000 (Ap­prox. Rs 97m) for mine clear­ance

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS -

The Govern­ment of Ja­pan has extended a sum of US$ 625,000 (Ap­prox­i­mately Rs 97 mil­lion) in grant aid for hu­man­i­tar­ian dem­i­ning in North­ern Sri Lanka, un­der its Grant As­sis­tance for Grass­roots Hu­man Se­cu­rity Project (GGP).

“The Project for Hu­man­i­tar­ian Mine Clear­ance for Re­set­tle­ment and Liveli­hood in North­ern Sri Lanka” will be im­ple­mented by the HALO Trust, and the Grant Con­tract was signed be­tween the Am­bas­sador of Ja­pan to Sri Lanka, Akira Sugiyama and HALO Trust Act­ing Pro­gramme Man­ager Michael Dyer, this week.

"It is ex­pected that this project would con­trib­ute to fa­cil­i­tat­ing the ef­forts of the Govern­ment of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to make mine con­tam­i­nated ar­eas safe for In­ter­nally Dis­placed Peo­ple (IDP) to re­turn and re­sume their liveli­hood ac­tiv­i­ties. The HALO Trust, one of the world’s largest and old­est hu­man­i­tar­ian dem­i­ning NGOs, will con­duct hu­man­i­tar­ian mine clear­ance in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, and Mul­laitivu districts," the Ja­pa­nese Em­bassy said in a news re­lease.

Ja­pan has been a ma­jor donor in the area of mine clear­ance in Sri Lanka since 2003, with more than US$ 33 mil­lion in to­tal through its GGP. This con­tri­bu­tion helped ac­cel­er­ate and fa­cil­i­tate the re­set­tle­ment and recom­mence­ment of agri­cul­ture and other liveli­hood ac­tiv­i­ties of the IDPs, in view of the 2020 tar­get of the GoSL to be mine im­pact free.

HALO’s Asian Re­gional Head Matthew Hovell said, "Ja­pan is HALO’s long­est con­tribut­ing donor in Sri Lanka, pro­vid­ing us with cru­cial fund­ing for mine clear­ance year af­ter year. Mine clear­ance is key to the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process in the North and to the re­set­tle­ment of thou­sands of peo­ple. Even af­ter many years of mine clear­ance, the re­main­ing chal­lenge is sig­nif­i­cant. With con­tin­u­ing sup­port from the Govern­ment of Ja­pan and other donors, to­gether with the GoSL and the mine ac­tion com­mu­nity, we can achieve the goal of a mine im­pact free Sri Lanka by end 2020.”

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