'James Bond' advocates Cambodia's demining effort


Daniel Craig is the UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards. - AFP

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN): James Bond actor Daniel Craig will virtually attend the launch of Cambodia’s first Safe Ground on Jan 22 at 7.30pm in a live online event organised by United Nations Development Programme Cambodia (UNDP).

UNDP said Craig is the UN Global Advocate for the Elimination of Mines and Explosive Hazards.

During the online event Craig will speak about why he cares so deeply about this issue and what further efforts can be made to end the scourge of landmines which still claim thousands of civilian lives each year.

UNDP resident representative Nick Beresford said the event has been organised to support Cambodia’s goal to achieve mine-free status by 2025.

Craig will be speaking with Cambodian Mine Action Authority (CMAA) first vice president Ly Thuch for the virtual event.

Beresford said the Safe Ground campaign turns minefields into playing fields – safe spaces for children to learn and play.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres launched the five-year Safe Ground campaign on April 4,2019 as part of that year’s International Mine Awareness Day, which has been observed annually since 2005.

The Safe Ground campaign will be launched in Cambodia in a small village in Battambang province at Stoeng Toch Krom primary school, which is located on a former minefield.

Thuch told The Post on Jan 19 that Cambodia is happy to have such a famous celebrity to help raise awareness of the impact of mines in the country and to help raise more funds to support demining activities.

“We have been working with UNDP and they invited Daniel Craig [to attend]. He wanted to visit Cambodia but due to Covid-19 [UNDP] were forced to change the event into a video conference, ” Thuch said.

The presence of “James Bond” at the Safe Ground event is meant to serve as a wakeup call to donors around the globe to consider the impacts of explosive remnants of war and to support Cambodia’s demining efforts.

Thuch said Cambodia will show the planned video conference to the annual international mine assembly and at other big events related to the demining issue.

He noted Cambodia still has 800sq km of land littered with mines – especially along the border with Thailand.

“The Kingdom will need to demine more than 100sq km of land each year going forward in order to meet its mine-free target date of 2025, ” he said. - Phnom Penh Post/ANN

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