United Nations Development Program / Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC)

International Information

International Operation Name: United Nations Development Program / Cambodia Mine Action Center (CMAC)

International Mission Name: United Nations Development Program / Cambodia Mine Action Center (CMAC)

Mandating Organization: 
United Nations Development Programme 
United Nations Department for Humanitarian Affairs
United Nations Security Council Resolutions 745 of 28 February 1992 and 880 of 4 November 1993

Region Name: Asia

Location: Cambodia

Mission Date: 4 November 1993 - Ongoing

Canadian Operation: No Canadian operation name: 1 March 1994 to 30 June 2000

Mission Mandate: Authorized in November 1993 by the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Department for Humanitarian Affairs, the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC) is tasked to achieve a state within Cambodia, where people can go about their lives free from the threat of mines, and reconstruction and development activities can take place in a safe environment.

Mission/Operation Notes: On 16 October 1991, the United Nations deployed the United Nations Advanced Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) to begin the work of implementing the Paris Peace Accords and to lay the groundwork for the United Nations Transition Authority (UNTAC). Included in UNAMIC’s mandate was the provision of mine awareness training. However, shortly after beginning operations it was quickly realized that there was an urgent need for a major de-mining effort. To this end the Security Council passed resolution 728(1992) which expanded the size of the UNAMIC mission from the original 200 personnel to 1090 with field engineers and logistic support personnel. 

In February 1992, with the passage of UNSCR 745(1992), the United Nations established the United Nations Transition Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). UNTAC began operations in mid March 1992 and continued the de-mining work begun by UNAMIC until the end of its mandate in September 1993. Realizing the importance of continuing the program, the de-mining effort was continued under the auspices of the Cambodian Mine Action Centre, a national (Cambodian) institution established in the closing days of UNTAC. To support the centre, a United Nations Development Programme was established to provide for international community support to CMAC, in the form of both financial contributions and military and civilian technical advisors. In February of 1994 Canada announced it would be contributing 12 CF members to CMAC, making it the largest single contributor at the time. From 1 March 1994 to 30 June 2000, anywhere from four to twelve CF personnel served with the CMAC at any one time.

The scale of the problem was enormous. After nearly twenty years of continuous war, Cambodia was left with a legacy of between 8 – 10 million mines nation-wide. CMAC addresses the mine and unexploded ordnance problem through four main programme activities: 1) Mine/Unexploded ordinance awareness, 2) Minefield verification and marking, 3) Mine/UXO clearance, and 4) Training. By late 1996 CMAC was operating 48 de-mining platoons, each of 30 personnel, 18 mine marking teams, 15 Explosive Ordinance Disposal teams, four mine awareness teams, and a national training centre to train personnel. CMAC also controlled the efforts of some 20 additional demining platoons operated by non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and oversees any commercial mine/UXO clearance activities in Cambodia. At its peak in 1999, CMAC operated 70 demining platoons and 18 EOD teams nation wide.

In 1998, CMAC changed its emphasis from an emergency phase, to a developmental phase, in which the selection of minefields to be cleared was based on the requests from high casualty rate communities and an assessment of the socio-economic benefits. This work continues today.

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