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Q: The UN does many things in the Lao PDR, but in your opinion what are its main functions here?
Lao PDR, one of the poorest countries in Asia, is also one of the world’s most heavily bombed places. Up to 30 percent of the 270 million cluster sub-munitions dropped during the Indochina conflict, along with other ordnance, did not detonate at the time of use. Today, much of it remains in the ground, killing dozens of Lao people each year through accidents, making land inaccessible, affecting food security, livelihoods and economic development, and preventing many from escaping poverty.
One year after her appointment as the National Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP Lao PDR, Lao singer Alexandra Bounxouei is more committed than ever to spread the word about the deadly legacy of unexploded ordnance in her country and to encourage donors to support the ongoing clearance works.
With less than 1,000 days to go before the global deadline for reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Lao PDR has a number of critical areas that still require special attention, as the country’s third MDG Report, being launched today, clearly shows.
I am privileged and honored to be here today to participate in the celebration of the Third Anniversary of the Entry into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Cluster munitions are designed to kill and maim indiscriminately, both at the time of use and, because of their high failure rate, often for many years after conflict has ended. Nowhere is this more evident than here in Lao PDR.
When we talk about environment, natural resource management or sustainable development, people often think that it is something that does not really relate to them as individuals. The theme for the World Environment Day 2013 “Think, Eat, Save - Reduce your foodprint” directly links with our everyday lives and is easier to associate with from both the policy perspective and as something anyone can contribute to.
Keanchan, who is one of the volunteers working at new UNDP-supported community radio station in Nonghet, interviewed UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Kyoko Yokosuka live on air on the day of the launch, 9th of May 2013.
We spoke to Alexandra, who has just been appointed our National Goodwill Ambassador. How does she feel about her new role and how is she planning to contribute to development in Laos?
"I started out as a deminer back in 1999. I heard on the radio that UXO Lao were looking for new staff to help with their clearance operations, and I thought it would be an exciting job."
It was both a hopeful and a sobering visit we had recently to the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE), an innovative local organization in Vientiane that provides rehabilitation services to survivors of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO).
This week Laos saw the visit of the Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr. Aside from meetings with the Lao Government in Vientiane, the Minister travelled to Luang Prabang province in Northern Laos to investigate what he called “the terrible legacy of the second Indo-China war”. He was referring to the millions of cluster munitions dropped in Laos during 1964 and 1973 that failed to explode and still continue to kill and injure civilians today, 40 years after the war ended.
Today, as senior representatives of the Government and its development partners gather at the Round Table Implementation Meeting (RTIM) 2012, we will focus again on finding practical and effective ways of improving strategic development results in Lao PDR. Critically, the annual discussion will witness a key difference this year, with a significant broadening of participation.
It is an historic moment for Lao PDR as leaders from at least 46 nations, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat gather in Vientiane today for the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) on development issues of common interest.
The Government of Lao PDR is looking to invite UN Special Rapporteurs to Lao PDR to examine and monitor the human rights situation in the country. At a workshop on 17 August, government representatives and development partners discussed the practicalities involved of working with the Rapporteurs.
Khoun Ethnic Community Radio is the first community-run multilingual station in Lao PDR and was founded in 2007, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Life has become easier for residents of Pek District, in the central Lao province of Xiengkhouang, since the One Door Service Centre opened in May 2008 and made important administrative tasks less complicated and time consuming.
During her recent field visit to Xiengkhouang Province, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative, Ms. Sudha Gooty was interviewed by volunteers of the Khoun Community Radio, Lao PDR's first multi-lingual community-run radio station.
“There is no university to prepare you for a job as a legislator, but you are important as the voice of 6.4 million people in Lao PDR,” said UNDP consultant Donna Bugby-Smith to Lao PDR's women parliamentarians.
In one week the world will meet in Brazil, aiming for a new milestone in accelerating progress toward development that meets the needs of present generations without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own needs.
The lack of protection, limited journalism training and uncertainty about media laws make it difficult for the press to accurately portray issues affecting the Lao people.