Commemoration of the Anniversary of entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Posted July 21, 2022
Representatives from UNDP and partners at the press conference

Representatives of UNDP, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, and partners at the press conference to commemorate the 12th Anniversary of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)

UNDP Lao PDR

Vientiane, Thursday, 21 July 2022 –The 1st of August 2022 marks the 12th Anniversary of the Entry into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)- an international treaty of more than 110 states that prohibits all use, production, transfer and stockpiling of these explosive weapons. Commemorating the Convention has a special significance this year, as the Lausanne Action Plan (2021-2026) was adopted during the second review conference of the CCM in 2021. The Lausanne Action Plan advocates for universalization and full implementation of the CCM, and the adoption of the new action plan indicates the international community’s persistent commitment to maintaining the spirit of the Convention in the face of challenges, including COVID-19 and ongoing conflicts.

"Lao PDR as a state party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, has consistently raised attention to comply with the obligations and commitments to the Convention. The government of Lao PDR has focused on campaigning, mobilizing, and promoting the implementation of the Convention on the Banning of Cluster Munitions with other countries in the world. The problem of unexploded ordnance remaining in Lao PDR, is not only a danger to the body, mind, and life of the Lao people, UXOs are also an obstacle to the development of the country and the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Until now, only about 1 percent of UXOs has been cleared in Lao PDR." said Vice Minister for Labour and Social Welfare, Mr. Padeumphone Sonthany.

Under the CCM, State Parties are obligated to clear and destroy cluster munition remnants located under its jurisdiction (Article 4), to conduct risk reduction education to ensure awareness among civilians (Article 4), to provide comprehensive support to UXO victims (Article 5), to engage in international cooperation and assistance (Article 6) and to enact appropriate legislation to implement the CCM (Article 9). Lao PDR was the second country to sign the Convention in 2008, and it hosted the First Meeting of State Parties in 2010, at which the Vientiane Declaration and Vientiane Action Plan were adopted. These documents born, serve as the guiding principles for State Parties in implementing CCM, and the role of Lao PDR in CCM has been pivotal. 

With the support of the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) and development partners, the Government of Lao PDR has cleared thousands of hectares of land contaminated by cluster munitions, provided support to countless UXO survivors, and has worked to reduce the threat to communities through explosive ordnance risk education. In fact, along with identifying Confirmed Hazard Areas (CHA) to manage risks (162,358.49 hectares by 2022), Lao PDR has found and destroyed 1,764,162 UXOs, including 1,023,553 bombies; 4,299 big bombs, 2,422 mines and 733,888 other UXOs to date since 1996. Accordingly, 76,240 hectares of land have been cleared and prepared for agriculture or socioeconomic development. For Explosive Ordnance Risk Reduction (EORE), risk education has been delivered in 4,015 villages. Furthermore, from 2015 to date, 343 survivors from UXO-related accidents have been supported.

Currently, Lao PDR has proposed to extend the implementation of Article 4 of the Convention for another 5 years (2021 – 2025). The 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2021-2025)’s inclusion of UXO as an independent output (Output 6 under outcome 3) demonstrates the Government of Lao PDR’s priority to the UXO sector. At the same time, the development of the 3rd 10-year National Strategic Plan for the UXO sector entitled “Safe Path Forward III (2021-2030)” is in progress. Likewise, the Government Decree on UXO to fulfil Article 9 of the CCM that would ensure the sustainable progress of the CCM in the country is about to be finalized in 2022. 

“The anniversary of the CCM has special significance, to remind us that everyone’s lives should be free from UXOs, everywhere, today and in the future.” said Ms. Ricarda Rieger, UNDP Resident Representative. “In April 2022, UNDP and the government of Lao PDR launched a new UXO programme. The 5-year programme focuses on accelerating the implementation of the CCM in the country and alleviating impacted communities of the threat of cluster munitions.”

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For more information, please contact: Ms. Aksonethip Somvorachit, UNDP Communications Analyst, 020 55021550,   aksonethip.somvorachit@undp.org

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Reducing the impact of UXO is Lao PDR's own national Sustainable Development Goal. By commiting to Goal 18 as a part of the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Laos holds itself accountable to advancing the reduction of UXO impact and contributing to many other goals at the same time, e.g. Goal 1, Ending Poverty. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals. Learn more about Goal 18 and its targets.