Chairs of the Mine Action and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Sector Working Group include the Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Chairman of the National Regulatory Authority for the UXO/Mine Action Sector. The United Nations Development Programme’s Resident Representative and the Ambassador of the United States of America are Co-Chairs.
The number of UXO victims fell from 302 in 2008 to just 45 in 2014. In the first ten months of 2015, 38 casualties occurred, with nine deaths.
The overall decline is due to the survey, clearance and risk education efforts of all involved in the UXO sector, as well as a drop in risky behaviour, particularly among men. Yet Lao PDR still has far to many casualties through UXO.
The UXO sector has seen significant, positive change in 2015. All five humanitarian operators now use the evidence-based survey approach, which increases the amount of UXO found per hectare of land, and allows more UXO to be cleared faster.
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 is developing a Five-Year Work Plan to 2020 based on the national strategy. The focus will be on clearing contaminated district sub-areas that have been identified as Development Focal Areas by the Government. The NRA will also work to ensure operators continue to address, on a rapid-response basis, all situations of high risk nationwide.
Priorities for 2016 include:
The National Regulatory Authority (NRA) for the UXO/Mine Action sector in Laos has set a target to reduce the number of UXO casualties to less than 40 per year and provide assistance to at least 1,500 UXO victims in the period from 2016-2020.
The target was set out at the UXO sector working group meeting at Lao Plaza hotel in Vientiane on the 16th of November 2015.
The Mine Action and UXO Sector Working Group includes three Sub-Sector Working Groups: