This week in Oslo, the United States and Norway announced the U.S.-Norwegian Demining Initiative. Below is the text of a press release from the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs:

This effort reflects a new chapter in our longstanding partnership to address the humanitarian impact of landmines and unexploded ordnance that is saving lives and helping post-conflict communities around the world rebuild.

Under this new initiative, the United States intends to provide an additional $10.8 million this year to clear portions of Iraq liberated from ISIL occupation and spend up to $8 million next year to do the same in liberated portions of Syria. Norway is announcing its intent to provide an additional $9.8 million for mine action this year, with a particular focus on Iraq and Syria, and plans to increase its financial support for global mine action by $15 million next year.

The initiative, built upon the Global Demining Initiative for Colombia announced earlier this year and led by the United States and Norway, also marks the first step toward establishing a broader regional partnership to safely clear landmines and unexploded ordnance in post-conflict countries, as envisioned at the May 13 U.S.-Nordic Leaders’ Summit.

Protecting civilians and supporting post-conflict recovery is a shared foreign policy priority for the United States and Norway, as reflected in our work together clearing explosive remnants of war in Colombia, Iraq, Laos and elsewhere. The United States and Norway will convene a ministerial-level demining conference this fall on the margins of the UN General Assembly in order to secure commitments on humanitarian mine action from other governments and private sector partners, and thereby help further the cause of international peace and security.

The United States is the world’s largest single financial supporter of efforts to clear unexploded ordnance and landmines. The United States has contributed more than $2.5 billion since 1993 to over 90 countries around the world through more than 60 partner organizations to reduce the harmful effects of at-risk, illicitly proliferated, and indiscriminately used conventional weapons of war.

For more information on U.S. humanitarian demining and Conventional Weapons Destruction programs, check out the latest edition of our annual report, To Walk the Earth in Safety.

For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, at [email protected], and follow PM on Twitter @StateDeptPM.