ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center Workshop 2018

APOPO Cambodia presents the HeroRATs at ARMAC Workshop.

APOPO attended the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC) regional workshop on 12 - 14 November in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The ASEAN has 10 member states: Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Brunei and Laos.

The workshop's goal was to "enhance mine action knowledge and promote future platforms of mine action knowledge sharing for ASEAN Member States”.  It provided a platform to share knowledge and experience in order to enhance capacity and cooperation and address the issue of landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

The workshop brought together numerous speakers and participants from ASEAN Member States, donor States, the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN academic institutions, and organizations dealing with mine action. Topic sessions included presentations and discussions on the link between mine action and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as panel discussions on enhancing victim assistance and sharing best practices in mine risk education. Land release methodologies were covered as well as a talk highlighting the importance of integrating gender perspectives into all aspects of mine action.

Michael Heiman (pictured on the left), the APOPO Cambodia Program Manager, spoke at the workshop on the topic of Research and Development in Mine Action and how using detection rat technology can hugely benefit mine clearance as well as how international cooperation can be a key factor in ensuring the sustainability of mine action programmes..

The second day of the workshop began with a field trip to the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) Deming Unit where participants had the opportunity to tour the Peace Museum. APOPO was delighted to showcase the landmine detection rats (HeroRATs) and talk about how integrating these intelligent animals into existing methods can vastly speed up mine clearance efforts. 

The workshop concluded by acknowledging the importance of an ASEAN-focused mine action center for building connections and communication between member states to share knowledge and resources for the greater good. APOPO is grateful to ASEAN for having been chosen to attend the ASEA workshop and showcase its landmine detection rat technology. 

Photos © ARMAC

APOPO Cambodia is most grateful for the support and generous contributions of its partners and donors.