The HALO Trust welcomes the funding and international support committed at the Global Demining Initiative for Colombia Ministerial, held in New York on 18 September 2016. The event was hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende.
During the event, held as a side event to the UN General Assembly meeting, HALO’s CEO James Cowan had the opportunity to brief Secretary Kerry and Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller about HALO’s work.
During the ministerial meeting, 19 countries and the European Union announced financial and technical support to the humanitarian demining of Colombia worth an estimated $80m over the next five years. The commitments are intended to allow Colombia to meet its obligations under the Ottawa Treaty to be mine-free by 2021.
Colombia ranked as the second most mine-affected country in the world in 2014 (the most recent year for which statistics are available) accounting for 286 of the 3,678 mine victims recorded. There have been over 11,000 mine victims in Colombia since 1990.
HALO set up an office in Colombia in 2009 and began clearance operations in September 2013. Last week, the Colombian National Mine Action Authority (DAICMA) officially assigned municipalities across the country to mine action operators, to begin operations as soon as possible. As a result of DAICMA's decision, The HALO Trust will operate in 14 of the 48 prioritised municipalities for rapid response in the post-conflict environment. HALO interventions in these municipalities will include Non-Technical Survey (NTS) and demining in the departments of Tolima, Meta Cauca, Antioquia Valle del Cauca and Putumayo.