Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)Volume 2 Number 1 (2010)
Demining and Land Management in Post-conflict Cambodia
Landmines are one of the most significant obstacles to post-conflict peacebuilding. Landmines not only cause serious physical damage, but also affect human livelihoods by impeding access to vital recourses and basic social services. This article examines the demining strategy and operations of Cambodia, one of the most heavily mine-affected countries in the world, with a focus on land management. Management of land is an important element of post-conflict reconstruction, for land is closely associated with measures for rebuilding life after conflict, including farming, school-building, and the return of refugees and internally displaced people. If mismanaged, however, mine-cleared land can be grabbed by the elite and becomes a source of tension, thereby undermining peace consolidation. This study explores Cambodia’s community-based bottom-up process to prioritize minefields to clear and develop land use plans, and analyzes the role of international assistance, especially that of Japan, one of the largest donors to Cambodia in this field. This article concludes by arguing that demining should not end with removing mines and must go hand in hand with rural development planning and land registration and titling if it is to be successfully linked to post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding.
Keywords: Demining, Land management, Peacebuilding, Cambodia, Community-based bottom-up approach.