Close this search box.

apan Grants US$5 Million for further accelerating UXO clearance

A signing ceremony for the Exchange of Notes for “Economic and Social Development Programme” was held on Apr 1 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vientiane.

The documents were signed and exchanged by Ambassador of Japan Kobayashi Kenichi, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Phoxay Khaykhamphithoune under witness by representatives from the line ministries.

The Government of Japan will provide grant aid of US$5 million for the programme which is focused on providing National Regulatory Authority (NRA) and Lao National Unexploded Ordinance Programme (UXO Lao) with equipment necessary for training for future UXO clearance personnel and UXO clearance activity respectively.

There are approximately 80 million unexploded ordnances in the Lao PDR. more than 40 years after the end of Indochina War. These have been threatening people’s lives and forcing people out of safe lands which are necessary for social-economic development. The Government of the Lao PDR considers further accelerating UXO clearance and reducing the number of casualties of UXO accidents as a priority of the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP).

In connection with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Lao PDR has been recognized as a model country faced with struggling with UXO and landmines, with setting its unique 18th goal ‘Lives Safe from UXO’.

Japan has provided long-standing supports for UXO clearance in the Lao PDR amounting more than 66 million US dollars over 20 years. Some of them include supports for UXO clearance activity and Mine Risk Education (MRE) in collaboration with Japanese and International Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO). JICA is also providing UXO Lao with a technical cooperation project, which aims to develop an effective plan for UXO clearance activities and build their capacities for appropriate monitoring for the activities.

Accelerating UXO clearance is also one of the priority areas for Japan in the “strategic partnership” with the Lao PDR.

In March this year, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and his Lao counterpart Phankham Viphavanh mutually confirmed that both countries would work closely to further expand and develop the partnership in accordance with the “Action Plan for Advancement of Strategic Partnership between the Lao PDR. and Japan” which includes accelerating UXO clearance through mutual cooperation.

“I strongly realized the importance of UXO clearance through several occasions such as the field visit in Xiang Khuang where UXO clearance is operated by the Japanese NGO and UXO Lao, and the visit to the UXO Visitor Centre in Luang Prabang, seeing life-threatening clearance activities and the tragedy of UXO accidents.

Next Monday, the 4th of April, is the International Day for UXO/Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. We hope that this support will boost UXO clearance activities in the Lao PDR. As a strategic partner of the Lao PDR, Japan will continue to provide assistance tailored to the needs of the Lao PDR,” said Ambassador Kobayashi at the ceremony.

Source: Lao News Agency