German Government supports UXO Lao in Luangprabang
The German Government signed an agreement with UNDP to provide EUR 250,000 to support the operations of the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme (UXO Lao) in Luangprabang Province for 2011. The agreement was signed by Mr. Wolfgang Joachim Thoran, Chargé d'Affaires (a.i.), German Embassy to Lao PDR and Mr. Minh Pham, UNDP Resident Representative. The signing was witnessed by UXO Lao National Program Director Mr. Bounpone Sayasenh and Lao Government officials.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Thoran said, “This contribution adds to over 11 Million Euros, in excess of 15 million US dollars, by which Germany has supported the Lao PDR and its people trying to deal with the plight of UXO since 1992. Germany is proud to be associated with UXO Lao and the UNDP and is very happy with the results of this cooperation achieved so far.”
By this commitment, Germany continues its two-pronged approach to UXO action. On the one hand, Germany supports UXO Lao operations in Luangprabang province, and on the other, it is funding an integrated programme of UXO clearance and development in Bolikamxay province implemented by Sodi International.
Mr Minh Pham, UNDP Resident Representative, said that “This support will further the reach of UXO Lao in Luangprabang and will ultimately benefit the people of the province. The work of UXO Lao here is also vitally important in preserving the area around the UNESCO World Heritage listed town.” Mr Bounpone Sayasenh, UXO Lao National Program Director, added, “The German Government is a strong and dependable supporter of UXO Lao, providing annual contributions that go towards clearing UXO in Luangprabang, a world heritage site.”
In the world's most bombed country, per capita, the continued presence of UXO poses serious humanitarian and development challenges. Thirty-eight years after the war ended people are still falling victim to UXO accidents, compounding the effects of poverty and efforts at poverty reduction. They prevent access to agricultural land and require additional resources for land clearance before any development can take place. As a result UXO hinders the nation's efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and graduate from Least Developed Country status by 2020.From 1998 to present the total funds provided by Germany through UNDP amounts to almost 3 million US Dollars. As a direct result of these funds 1,960 hectares of land has been cleared, 183 hectares of land has been released through technical survey, and approximately 380,000 people have benefited from risk awareness activities
Toby Fricker at the UNDP Public Information Unit - Tel: (021) 267 723 Mob: 020 5462 2697