Australia commits further funds to tackle UXO in Lao PDR
(KPL) The Australian Government reconfirmed its strong support to the UXO sector in Lao PDR yesterday by contributing a further AUD 1 million to UXO trust Fund.
This contribution is un-earmarked and will boost UXO Lao operations, including UXO clearance, roving tasks, surveys, risk education and training. An allocated portion of the funds will also support quality assurance and control, according to the press release of Australian AID.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ambassador of Australia to Lao PDR Mrs. Lynda Worthaisong said that, " Australia is a long standing supporter of UXO action in Laos. Since 1996, we have provided an estimated A$ 24 million for UXO clearance, risk education and UXO survivors. I am very pleased to be announcing further support to the sector on the occasion of International UXO/Mine Awareness Day"
This year' s contribution follows on from around AUD 5 million provided by the Australian Government to the UXO Trust Fund since 2009. "Australian was one of first donors to utilize the UXO Trust Fund, managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and has played a leading role in support of UXO work is aligned to achieving national development priorities".
The presence and scale of UXO in Lao PDR are an impediment to poverty reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Over 100 people a year are killed or injured in UXO accidents and UXO presence prevents safe access to agriculture land. Extra resources, for UXO clearance, are also required before development, such as road building, tourism and school construction can take place. In recognition of the long-term negative impact of UXO on affected communities, the government has adopted a new national MDG 9 on reducing UXO impact by 2020.
The UXO Trust Fund was established in 2010 to increase Government ownership, improve coordination and effective prioritization of work in the UXO Sector. The Trust Fund helps to ensure that UXO actions are coordinated with the Government’s national development priorities as outlined in the 7th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP) 2011-2015. The donation was held in coincide with the International UXO /Mine Awareness Day marked in Vientiane.