New project to boost UXO sector capacity

15 Nov 2013

imageProject Document Signing Ceremony Photo by: UNDP Lao PDR/Eeva Nyyssonen

Vientiane, 15 November 2013- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will continue to support the UXO sector in Lao PDR through a new project designed to further strengthen the Government’s capacity to tackle the persisting UXO problem in the country. 

A project document signed today at a ceremony in the Lao Plaza hotel, confirms that UNDP, together with the Government, will seek to mobilize approximately USD 27 million from the international community, primarily through the UXO Sector Trust Fund administered by the UNDP, in support of the National Regulatory Authority for the UXO/Mine Action Sector (NRA) and the Lao National UXO Programme (UXO Lao).

The document was signed by H.E. Mr. Bounheuang Douangphachanh, Minister to the Prime Minister’s office and Chairman of the National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action Sector and Mr. Minh Pham, the UNDP Resident Representative. The ceremony was witnessed by Mr. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, as well as by senior Government of Lao PDR officials and development partners from the UXO sector.

Speaking at the ceremony, H.E. Mr. Bounheuang Doungphachanh said “This project will enable the NRA to better regulate and coordinate the UXO sector, and will greatly help UXO Lao to accelerate survey and clearance of UXO, in particular, in focal development areas prioritized by the Government.” The Minister thanked UNDP and donors and pledged that Lao PDR would use this generous support efficiently and effectively.  
 “UXO represents a living challenge to long-term development of the country, especially in rural areas” said Mr. Xu of UNDP. “Today marks the beginning of a very timely and comprehensive initiative to take forward the efforts to tackle UXO issues and ensure even more effective responses and coordination.”

The project document, which includes a comprehensive strategy and action plan for the next three years, was developed based on a 2012 evaluation of UNDP’s support to the sector, as well as on a series of consultations with donors and partners. The key aim is to support the national objectives for the UXO sector.  In addition, the project aims to provide support to Lao PDR to meet all obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions and to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly MDG9, established by Lao PDR to reduce the impact of UXO in the country. Currently, ambitious Government UXO clearance targets are not being adequately met, and there is a need to scale up the survey and clearance activities as well as the provision of services to UXO survivors.

UNDP has supported the Government of Lao PDR in the UXO sector since 1996 and, to date, has mobilized more than US$85 million for the UXO sector in Lao PDR. It has focused on developing Lao national capacity to better coordinate and regulate the UXO sector, to survey and clear UXO contaminated land, provide UXO risk-education and to facilitate the provision of services to UXO survivors.

“These achievements reflect UNDP’s strong commitment to reduce the risks posed by UXO and to help men and women of Lao PDR to fully participate in all aspects of the development process, while sharing equitably in its gains.”, Mr. Xu stated.

The new project will include formulating a 3-year capacity development strategy for NRA and UXO Lao based on a comprehensive capacity development assessment.

A new initiative, UNDP will also support the NRA to establish a Small Grants Facility in support of civil society activities in the areas of Victim Assistance and Risk Education.  
For more information please contact:

Contact Information

Mr. Vilavong Sysavath
NRA at vilavong.sysavath@gmail.com or
+856 020 7772 2156
Or,
Ms. Viratsamay Visonnavong
UXO Unit, UNDP Lao PDR Country Office
+856 (0)21 267 777