UXO Sector Working Group Meeting 2022
September 19, 2022
The Sector Working Group (SWG) meetings provide an inclusive forum for discussing and exchanging views on the implementation of the Round Table Meeting recommendations. As such, on Friday, September 16th 2022, the first Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) SWG of the year was held in Vientiane Capital.
The meeting was chaired by H.E. Padeumphone Sonthany, Vice Minister of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) and Vice Chairperson of the National Regulatory Authority for the UXO/Mine Action Sector in Lao PDR (NRA), and co-chaired by Ms. Catherine Phuong, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Resident Representative and Officer in charge, and H.E. Peter Haymond, United States Ambassador to Lao PDR. Also in attendance were Embassy representatives, Ministry officials, UXO operators and other UXO stakeholders.
H.E. Sonthany welcomed participants and shared that “The SWG meeting is important because the findings and discussion from the meeting will guide the implementations of the ten-year UXO sector strategy entitled Safe Path Forward III (SPF III) and the 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) that contribute to the Lao PDR’s accomplishment of Sustainable Development Goal 18. Lives Safe from UXO”
After the opening session, the NRA shared the UXO sector’s achievements and lessons learnt from implementing the sector activities for the 9 months achievement in 2022 and priorities for the next three months. The meeting acknowledged the record outputs, survey and clearance statistics in 2021 which has proven to be the most productive year so far. Indeed, according to the Sector Annual Report 2021, the UXO sector has cleared more land than ever of explosive ordnance and increased quantities of ordnance were removed. Mr. Chomyaeng Phengthongsawat, Director-General of the NRA, reported on the launch of SPFIII (2021-2030), and on the Prime Minister’s Decree on UXO/Mine Action. Both documents will contribute to the Government of Lao’s compliance with the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
Further, the meeting discussed the sector’s financing modality to achieve SDG 18. Participants reaffirmed the sector-wide consensus on the need to strengthen the linkage between the UXO sector’s activities and sustainable development of Lao PDR.
The chair and co-chairs reiterated the importance of international cooperation and coordination for the UXO sector to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of UXO/Mine action for the benefit of the Lao people. Ms. Phuong from UNDP noted that “in order to support impacted communities and maximize investment in the sector, more efforts should be made to improve transparency and continuity in funding”. She also stressed that “stronger linkages with national and local development planning can not only maximize the impact of clearance and survey but can also attract other donors”.
The sector agreed to finalize the national prioritization system and revise the National Standard within the year so that clearance will always support development initiatives and facilitate the UXO implementation. Likewise, Ambassador Haymond added that “We believe the outputs of the U.S.-funded programs with UXO Lao, HALO, MAG, and NPA should together reach 5,000 hectares cleared in 2023, and more than 6,000 hectares cleared in 2024” The United States shares the Lao PDR’s goal of ensuring that by 2030 UXO does not limit development.
For more information, please contact:
Communications Analyst, UNDP Lao PDR,
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