The Government of Japan has provided a total sum of $ 635,420 (approx. Rs. 110 million) to the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) for humanitarian demining activities in northern Sri Lanka. The grant contract was signed on 28 November at the Ambassador’s Residence in Colombo, between Ambassador of Japan Sugiyama Akira and MAG Country Director Valentina Stivanello.
The project will contribute to the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka in ensuring that mine-contaminated areas are safe, enabling the resettlement of the displaced people and enhancing their livelihoods in the northern region.
Japan has been a major donor in the area of mine clearance in Sri Lanka since 2003, with the objective of assisting the nation to be mine impact free by 2020. More than $ 36 million in assistance was rendered towards this cause through its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP).
This agreement succeeds two other grants by the Government of Japan for the similar purpose in October this year to accelerate and facilitate the resettlement of and recommencement of agriculture and other livelihood activities of the Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Commenting on the provision of this grant, Valentina Stivanello stated, “MAG is honoured to accept this grant from the Government of Japan, an esteemed donor for Humanitarian Mine Action projects both within Sri Lanka and around the world. In the last five years alone, the partnership between MAG Sri Lanka and the Government of Japan has enabled the removal and destruction of over 12,000 landmines. It has helped many people resettle and rebuild their lives and livelihoods in Mannar, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya districts through its clearance operations. “The funding from the Government of Japan will not only contribute to saving lives but also build futures for most mine-affected and poorest communities in the country. With this continued support by the Government of Japan, MAG is looking forward to expediting the clearance activities in accordance with the Government of Sri Lanka’s commitment towards a mine impact free nation by 2020.”