Egypt and Switzerland on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding on mine clearance and development of Egypt’s northwestern coast.
The agreement was signed by Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr and Director of the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) Stefano Toscano.
The agreement provides a cooperation framework to enhance capacity-building for the Egyptian Mine Action Program, coming in line with Egypt’s national strategic priorities, with an integrated approach to humanitarian mine clearance.
It will also see the GICHD provide training and advisory services to the Egyptian Mine Action Program.
Nasr stressed the importance of this cooperation with development partners in demining the northwest coast, stating that the government is just clearing mines, but moving to transform these areas into regions for development and investment projects.
The Executive Secretariat for the Demining and Development of the North West Coast is the executive arm of the National Committee for the Supervision of Mine Clearance, she said, and aims to reduce landmines unexploded ordnances left over from the war, ensuring safety for citizens and giving landmine accident survivors social and economic benefits.
A comprehensive database of mine accident survivors has been established and updated periodically, with major mine awareness campaigns conducted.
The Minister explained that 2,182 kilometers of mines have been cleared in the al-Alamein area so far, according to the latest data monitored by the Executive Secretariat of the Sahel Mine Clearance Project.
Around 174,000 copies of the mine risk education curriculum have been printed by the Ministry of Education and distributed to school students in all cities of the Matrouh Governorate.
Nasr said that 696 cases have been given prosthetics, of which 517 have been fitted with new prostheses, and 179 have been fitted with prosthetic spare parts or maintenance services.
She added that 215 families received income-generating livestock projects with a total number of 1,290 sheep and goats, 206 revolving loans were granted to beneficiaries to start their own projects, and five solar projects established to illuminate the homes of mine victims and their families.
The Director of the GIHCD explained that this center works to eliminate mines, explosive remnants of war and other explosive hazards, such as stockpiles of unsafe munitions.
It also supports governments, international and regional organizations and non-governmental organizations in their efforts to improve the performance and sustainability of mine action through enhanced knowledge, promotion of norms and standards and capacity development within and outside of affected countries.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm