Prince Harry attended an event at Kensington Palace this evening where he gave a speech explaining the importance of eradicating landmines – something close to his late mother’s heart.
The event was organised by two leading charities: Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and The HALO Trust. The aim of the reception was to increase momentum in the fight against landmines and to advocate for a mine-free world by 2025.
At the event, Prince Harry gave a keynote speech, followed by the Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel.
In her speech, Mrs Patel said that the UK would triple its support for landmine clearance, pledging £100 million over the next three years.
It has now been 20 years since images iconic images were taken of Diana, Princess of Wales, walking through minefields in Angola and Bosnia. Her advocacy and support for the issue helped raise awareness of the global issue.
Her work proved pivotal in the making of the Treaty, of which 162 nation states signed pledging to clear the world of landmines.
Since Diana’s death in 1997, 27 countries have been declared landmine-free with over 51 million landmines being destroyed. The problem is far from over, however, with around 60 million people still living with the daily threat of unexploded mines.
Kensington Palace has previously said that Prince Harry is ‘pleased to have this moment to recognise the significant contribution his mother made in this field’.
James Cowan, Chief Executive of The HALO Trust, said: “Tonight, as we remember the work that was done by Diana, Princess of Wales, and others two decades ago, an historic opportunity is presented to unite government, corporate and private donors and mark the start of a countdown to a mine free world. As with the eradication of smallpox, a mine free world is not a pipe dream but a real possibility, but only with the right financial support.”
Jane Cocking, Chief Executive of MAG, added: “Nearly forty percent of the people injured or killed by landmines every year are children, who often fall victim while innocently playing or travelling to and from school. Twenty years on from the landmark Mine Ban Treaty, these indiscriminate weapons still blight the lives of far too many people around the world. Yet, with the sort of commitment and ambition shown today, ridding the world of this problem is far from impossible. If other donors follow the UK’s lead in recommitting to support the vital job of landmine clearance, the goal set by Treaty signatories of a landmine free world by 2025 is totally achievable.”