Prince Harry has shown his support to rid the world of landmines by 2025, with the UK government planning to invest in a plan to see it through.
The Prince is continuing his mother’s work with anti-landmine charities the HALO Trust and Mines Advisory Group to eradicate the use of hidden explosives in the ground within eight years.
Priti Patel, the international development secretary, announced the £100 million funding for the project and said the three-year aid package would tackle the “global scourge” of unexploded landmines and help 800,000 people.
The event took place at Kensington Palace yesterday, on International Mine Awareness Day, with Prince Harry saying the government had made a “bold commitment” in pledging the money but that “there is much more that needs to be done”.
Harry said it was “shocking” that an estimated 60 million people still lived with the threat of unexploded landmines.
“Somewhere in the world right now a parent is making the grimmest of choices – to risk cultivating in landmine-contaminated land or letting their children starve,” he said. “Such tragedies undermine the promises made by the world 20 years ago,” the Prince said referring to the international promises to stop using landmines, after Diana, Princess of Wales got involved with the cause.
Ms Patel highlighted Princess Diana’s efforts, describing her as “courageous”. “Britain has a historic role in tackling the indiscriminate and lethal legacy of landmines.
“That role was, of course, embodied by the efforts of His Royal Highness’ late Mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Twenty years ago she brought landmines to the world’s attention with her courageous walk through an Angolan mine field.”
Diana’s last last trip abroad before her death in 1997 was to Bosnia, where the Princess met victims who had been injured by landmines, after the Angolan mine field walk for the HALO Trust. Her son, Harry, now 32, has made similar trips to landmine areas like Angola and Mozambique, after becoming a patron of the trust’s 25th anniversary appeal.
During his speech, Harry said it would take an additional £100m each year until 2025 – eight times what the UK has offered – to rid the world of landmines.
“Let’s make future generations proud and finish what we started,” Prince Harry.
Next on the agenda for Harry and this cause is to speak at the Landmine Free World 2025 event , which will also commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said: “Prince Harry is pleased to have this moment to recognise the significant contribution his mother made in this field, the progress which has been made by MAG (Mines Advisory Group), HALO, the UK government and other organisations, and the opportunity to continue raising awareness of making the world landmine-free by 2025.”