New Zealand boosts UXO Lao operations in Xieng Khouang

Jun 12, 2012

The Government of New Zealand has stepped up its assistance to tackle unexploded ordnance (UXO) problems in Lao PDR’s second most contaminated province, Xieng Khouang. The USD 1.89 million contribution will support UXO Lao clearance operations, roving tasks, surveys, quality assurance and control, as well as risk education and training.

New Zealand has been an active partner to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supported UXO actions in Lao PDR, contributing over USD 2 million since the UXO Lao Programme was initiated in 1996. This additional USD 1.89 million almost doubles the total contributions for the last 16 years.

This represents New Zealand's commitment to further strengthen national capacity for UXO clearance which is among the highest development priorities of the Lao Government, and accelerates New Zealand’s assistance to Lao PDR in the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The funds will be channeled through the UXO Trust Fund, administered by UNDP.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr. Philip Hewitt, First Secretary-Development, stated that, “New Zealand strongly supports the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and is pleased to be able to work with the Government of Lao PDR to achieve their UXO clearance objectives.”

The UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Minh Pham, said, “This contribution will play a significant role in accelerating efforts to make land safe in Xieng Khouang province. Clearing land in the country’s second most contaminated province is critical for communities who rely on the land for their livelihoods.”

The presence and scale of UXO contamination in Lao PDR is an impediment to poverty reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Around 100 people a year are killed or injured in UXO accidents and UXO presence prevents safe access to agricultural land. Extra resources, for clearance, are also required before development, such as road building and school construction can take place. In recognition of the long-term negative impact of UXO on affected communities, the Government adopted a new national MDG 9 on reducing UXO impact by 2020.

The UXO Trust Fund was established in 2010 to increase Government ownership, improve coordination and effective prioritisation of work in the UXO sector. The Trust Fund helps the Government to fulfill its obligations under the Convention and ensures that UXO actions are coordinated with the government’s national development priorities as outlined in the 7th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) 2011 to 2015.

Contact informationMs. Viratsamay Visonnavong, Programme Analyst, UXO Unit, UNDP Lao PDR Country Office
Tel:- +856 (0)21 267 777

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