Marking the 13th Anniversary of the Entry into Force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM)
August 2, 2023
August 2nd, 2023, Vientiane Capital – Today, with the support of the Government of the Republic of Korea, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) co-hosted a press conference to mark the 13th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
Born out of a collective determination to address the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm to civilians caused by cluster munitions, the Convention, which bans the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions, entered into force on 1st August 2010 and became legally binding for State Parties. As the most heavily bombed country in the world per capita, Lao PDR was one of the first signatories to the CCM, and an early champion.
Representatives from Lao Government ministries, UXO/Mine Action operators and victim assistance organizations, and development partners from the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany attended the ceremony on Wednesday. H.E. Mr. Padeumphone Sonthany, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, and Mrs. Martine Thérer, Resident Representative of the UNDP in Lao PDR highlighted in their remarks the significant progress achieved over the past 13 years and the remaining challenges for the country to fulfil its obligations under the CCM and enable the people of Lao PDR to live free from fear and the threat of unexploded ordnance (UXO).
“Thousands of hectares of land have been surveyed and cleared, and there have been significant achievements in the area of victim assistance,” said the Deputy Minister, while highlighting the need for ongoing capacity building for the National Regulatory Authority for the UXO/Mine Action Sector and Unit 58—the humanitarian demining teams of the Lao People’s Army.
Under the CCM, State Parties are obligated to conduct technical surveys, clear and destroy cluster munition remnants on their national territory, educate about UXO risks, assist UXO victims, and enact appropriate legislation to implement the CCM. Lao PDR will soon apply for a five-year extension to fulfil obligations under Article 4 of the CCM. UNDP Resident Representative, Mrs. Thérer, expressed hope that the sector will use this extension period well, and make the best use of available resources s to achieve CCM and national development targets by 2030. She stressed that the completion of the National Prioritization System and the revision of the National Standards will further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of UXO action.
Mrs. Thérer noted, “it is indeed heartbreaking that 13 years after the entry into force of the Convention, and although 123 countries have committed to its goals, cluster munitions continue to be used in conflicts around the world,” and called for renewed joint efforts to clear as much confirmed hazardous land as possible before the 2030 SDG deadline.
As Lao PDR continues to implement its obligations under the CCM, the UNDP UXO Programme will provide technical and programmatic support to the NRA and the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme (UXO Lao) thanks to the generous contributions and in partnership with the governments of the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Ireland, and Canada.
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