Japanese Ambassador Akira Sugiyama and SHARP Program Manager Lt. Col. (Retd.) V.S.M. Sarath Jayawardhana at the agreement signing ceremony
The Government of Japan has provided a total sum of $ 1,266,825 (approx. Rs. 219 million) to SKAVITA Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Project (SHARP) and the HALO Trust for humanitarian demining in northern Sri Lanka.
The grant contracts were signed on Friday at the HALO Trust’s Muhumalai Control Point in Kilinochchi, between Japanese Ambassador Akira Sugiyama and SHARP Program Manager Lt. Col. (Retd.) V.S.M. Sarath Jayawardhana and HALO Trust Program Manager Belinda Vause.
The two projects are expected to facilitate the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka for ‘Mine-Impact Free Sri Lanka’ by 2020, enabling the resettlement of internally displaced people and the enhancement of their livelihoods.
Japan has been a major donor in the area of mine clearance in Sri Lanka since 2003, with more than $35 million assistance in total through its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP), in view of the Sri Lankan Government’s goal to be mine-impact free by 2020. This contribution has helped accelerate and facilitate the resettlement and recommencement of agriculture and other livelihood activities of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Commenting on the provision of this grant, Lt. Col. (Retd.) V.S.M. Sarath Jayawardhana said, “The Government of Japan is SHARP’s prime donor, who has been providing crucial funding for mine clearance since SHARP’s inception in 2016. Japan has provided funds to SHARP for the fourth consecutive year, for which we are indeed very appreciative and grateful to Japan for assisting and encouraging SHARP to keep working on demining operations. In the last three years, the partnership between SHARP and the Government of Japan has enabled the removal and destruction of over 5,000 landmines. I wish to assure our sponsors that SHARP will continue to carry out our operations to the best of our ability, to efficiently and effectively fulfil the desires of our sponsors.”
Belinda Vause stated, “HALO is extremely grateful to the Government of Japan for their continued support year after year. Japan is our longest contributing donor and their support of HALO has led to the clearance of 3.6 million square meters of contaminated land and the removal of over 89,000 mines and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). The work of Japan-funded mine clearance teams has already helped over 200,000 people in HALO’s area of operations, formerly the seat of the conflict. Mine clearance is key to the reconciliation process in the north and to the resettlement of thousands of people – made possible thanks to Japan’s invaluable support. We look forward to our continued co-operation, together with the national Government and the mine action community, in making Sri Lanka the next country to be mine-impact free.”