LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC

NATIONAL ROUND TABLE PROCESS

Mine action and unexploded ordnance (UXO)

A deminer at work in Ban Phouhoum. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR

A deminer at work in Ban Phouhoum. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR

The Chair of the Mine Action and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Sector Working Group is the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare/the Chairman of the National Regulatory Authority for the UXO/Mine Action Sector in Lao PDR. The United Nations Development Programmes Resident Representative and the Ambassador of the United States of America are Co-Chairs.

Overview

The number of UXO victims fell from 302 in 2008 to 59 in 2016.

The overall decline is due to the survey, clearance and risk education efforts of all involved in the UXO sector. Yet Lao PDR still has too many casualties through UXO.

The UXO sector has seen significant, positive change in recent years where all humanitarian operators now use the evidence-based survey approach, which increases the amount of UXO found more than three folds per hectare of land, and allows more UXO to be cleared faster. The area of confirmed hazardous areas (CHAs) developed every year creates an additional five years’ worth of clearance work in the current capacity. In this way, it is crucial for the sector to build its clearance capacity and also to focus on prioritization of areas.

The sector has made significant progress towards a full, national survey of contamination, which is a key requirement under the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan includes a target for the completion of survey by 2020.

The National Regulatory Authority on UXO developed a Five-Year Work Plan from 2016 to 2020 based on the national strategy plan for UXO Sector in Lao PDR “the Safe Path Forward II”, the focus being on clearing contaminated district sub-areas that have been identified as Development Focal Areas by the Government. At the same time, the NRA will also work to ensure operators continue to address, on a rapid-response basis, all situations of high risk nationwide.

Next Steps

The NRA is developing a prioritization plan to ensure that survey and clearance are done in the areas where it is most needed. Moreover, a plan is being developed to ensure that all data is correctly managed in the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database which all operators are required to report to.

Priorities for 2017 onwards include:

  • Survey and Clearance (start of the National Cluster Munitions Survey and finalization of the prioritization plan)
  • Risk Education
  • Victim Assistance
  • Monitoring and Evaluation/Quality Assurance

Lao PDR launches national Sustainable Development Goal 18: Lives safe from UXO

Launch of SDG 18

Then-United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minster of Lao PDR Thongloun Sisoulith at the 2016 ASEAN Summit held in Vientiane. Photo: UN in Lao PDR/Eskinder Debebe

During the 2016 ASEAN Summit which was held in Vientiane, Lao PDR launched their national Sustainable Development Goal 18: Lives safe from UXO Lao to emphasize the national commitment to the UXO issue. This goal ensures that by 2030, there will be an elimination of UXO casualties to the extent possible, clearance of UXO from prioritized areas, and health treatment and livelihood support to UXO survivors.

Sub-Sector Working Groups

The Mine Action and UXO Sector Working Group includes three Sub-Sector Working Groups:

  • The clearance technical working group is Chaired by the Deputy Director of Operations in the National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action Sector in Lao PDR.
  • The victim assistance technical working group is Chaired by the Deputy Director of Operations in the National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action Sector in Lao PDR.
  • The UXO/mine risk education technical working group is also Chaired by the Deputy Director of Operations in the National Regulatory for UXO/Mine Action Sector in Lao PDR.

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