The Governments of New Zealand and Ireland have been long-term partners and generous supporters of the UXO sector in Lao PDR. In 2021, the Government of New Zealand renewed its support for an additional four years of funding through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), from 2021 to 2024, totaling NZ$10,300,000. The Republic of Ireland provided additional funding support of EUR 350,000 and EUR 500,000 to the UXO sector in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
In the afternoon of 29 June 2022, a handover ceremony of Vehicles and Equipment to the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme (UXO Lao) took place at the UXO Lao Headquarters in Vientiane Capital with a total worth of USD 440,000. The handover ceremony took place in the presence of H.E Mr. Lee Pao Yang, Vice Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and Ms. Catherine Phuong, Deputy Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Lao PDR.
During the ceremony, H.E Mr. Lee Pao Yang, Vice Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, expressed gratitude to the Governments of New Zealand and Ireland for their contribution to the UXO sector in Lao PDR which will contribute to the development and poverty reduction in Lao PDR people as a whole, and in particular this will support the work of UXO Lao and thereby ensure Lao people’s safety from UXO items. The assistance will also support the strategic policy and social-economic development of Laos as well as achievement of the SDG18 – Lives safe from UXO. Ms. Catherine Phuong, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP, highlighted the continued support of the Governments of New Zealand and Ireland which will enable UXO Lao to continue survey and clearance operations for years to come.
Ms. Phuong further remarked, “UNDP remains committed to supporting the UXO sector and our focus remains on ensuring national ownership and long-term sustainability of the sector, and we will continue supporting the Government’s effort to build national capacity. Together with the government, we will be implementing our UXO project for the next five years. I trust that we all will continue our efforts to contribute to achieving the national development goals and SDGs by 2030, especially SDG 18”.
The ceremony was attended by high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, United Nations Development Programme, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action Sector in Lao PDR and UXO Lao.
Within the framework of the project entitled “Supporting Effectiveness and Efficiency in the UXO Sector to contribute to the achievement of SDG 18 and Safe Path Forward III” (2022-2026), the equipment handed over to UXO Lao include 2 Toyota 4-wheel hardtops, a 15 passenger van, 58 detectors, 4 sets of video conferencing equipment, etc.