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Sub-Sections:
Lao_PDR

Lao People’s Democratic Republic

2008 Key Data

Mine Ban Treaty status

Not a State Party

Contamination

Mainly UXO, including submunitions, some antipersonnel and antivehicle mines

Estimated area of contamination

Unknown; up to 25% of villages affected

Casualties in 2008

100 (2007: 100)

Estimated mine/ERW survivors

Unknown but at least 7,000

Demining in 2008

Clearance of mined areas: unknown

Clearance of battle areas: 55.2km2

Risk education recipients in 2008

At least 322,000

Progress towards victim assistance aims

Average

Support for mine action in 2008

Ten-Year Summary

In 2004 the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) decided that it would join the Mine Ban Treaty at some point, but did not set a timeline. It has shown increasing interest in acceding since 2007, when, for the first time, it voted in favor of the annual UN General Assembly resolution calling for universalization of the Mine Ban Treaty. It did so again in 2008. Lao PDR stated in 2008 that it has not used mines in decades, but acknowledged that it possesses a small stockpile.

Lao PDR has the world’s worst problem of unexploded (cluster) submunitions, but after more than 12 years of UXO/mine action, there is no credible estimate for the total area contaminated in the country. Clearance productivity improved sharply after 2005 as a result of changes in clearance and survey methodologies and equipment, while the creation of a National Regulatory Authority (NRA) which became active in 2006 has improved coordination and started work creating a national database.

Between 1999 and 2008, the first phase of the Lao National Survey of UXO Victims and Accidents (conducted in 2008) found a total of 2,184 casualties (834 killed, 1,349 injured, and one unknown). In total, more than 50,000 casualties have been recorded since 1964. Risk education has been conducted in Lao PDR since 1994 mainly by UXO Lao and the World Education Consortium (WEC) with the Ministry of Education. Risk education initially aimed to build awareness of the dangers of UXO and mines but a new risk education strategy launched in 2008 focused on changing behavior through risk reduction.

Coordination of victim assistance has improved with the creation of the NRA’s victim assistance unit. Service provision for mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) survivors, including emergency and continuing care and physical rehabilitation, has become more accessible and available. However, it remains inadequate to meet the needs of the more than 7,000 survivors.

Mine Ban Policy

Lao PDR has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty. In May 2009, at the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told States Parties that the government made a decision in 2004 to accede to the Mine Ban Treaty, but needed time to prepare to meet the obligations. He also said that Lao PDR is “now considering a voluntary transparency report, which can help the international community deeper understand the facts and reality on the ground, as well as to demonstrate the desire and the intention of Lao PDR toward the goal and aspiration of this Convention.”[1]

Lao PDR participated in the Bangkok Workshop on Achieving a Mine-Free South-East Asia in April 2009, the second in a series of regional meetings convened in the lead-up to the treaty’s Second Review Conference.

In December 2008, Lao PDR for the second consecutive year voted in favor of the annual UN General Assembly resolution (Resolution 63/42) calling for universalization and full implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. In providing an explanation of its vote, Lao PDR said that it “supports the humanitarian endeavours of the Mine Ban Treaty…The Lao Government continues to express its interest in acceding to the Treaty. However, it still needs time and resources to prepare necessary conditions that would enable the country to accede to the convention and meet all provisions prescribed therein.”[2]

Lao PDR sent observers to the Ninth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2008. The Lao delegation stated that the “general obligations of the convention do not cause any difficulties for the Lao Government; the implementation of Article 5 remains its only concern. Taking into consideration the report of the Analyzing Group, according to which 15 State Parties, less UXO-contaminated, but technically more advanced than the Lao PDR have been unable to meet the deadline for clearance, confirms the concerns of the Lao Government.”[3] Since 2004, the Lao government has cited the treaty’s mine clearance obligation under Article 5 as an obstacle to accession.[4]

Lao PDR has also expressed concern regarding the possible diversion of resources from UXO clearance to a focus on antipersonnel mines. In June 2008, it stated that “it needs the assurance from the States Parties that, once the Lao PDR becomes signatory [to the Mine Ban Treaty] it will not be forced to abandon or stop its current UXO clearance operations.”[5] At the Ninth Meeting of States Parties in November 2008, it said, “Laos has much greater cluster munition contamination than landmine contamination, and the impacts of cluster munitions on the people are far greater, since most of the accidents recorded are caused by cluster munitions.” Lao PDR stated that if new obligations arising from the Convention on Cluster Munitions were combined with those of the Mine Ban Treaty, it could “result in an overload for the Lao Government, whose resources are already limited.”[6]

Lao PDR signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in December 2008 and ratified on 18 March 2009.[7] It is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and original Protocol II on landmines, but not Amended Protocol II or Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War.

In 2008, Lao PDR acknowledged that it has used mines in the past “to protect its borders,” but said it has not used them for the past two decades. It also said that the government is not a producer or exporter of antipersonnel mines, but continues to hold a small stockpile.[8]

Scope of the Problem

Contamination

Lao PDR has the world’s worst contamination from unexploded submunitions but it also has extensive air-dropped and ground-fired UXO as well as antivehicle and antipersonnel mines. The cluster munition remnants date back to the Indochina War of the 1960s and 1970s when it experienced the heaviest aerial bombardment in history. The United States dropped more than two million tons (two billion kg) of bombs between 1964 and 1973,[9] including more than 270 million submunitions. Clearance teams have found at least 186 types of munitions, including 19 types of submunition.[10]

After more than 12 years of UXO/mine action, there is no credible estimate for the total area contaminated in the country. Lao PDR lacks up-to-date information on the location and impact of ERW, the amount of land that has been cleared, or even the extent of land designated a priority for clearance.[11] The NRA says that 10 of Lao PDR’s 17 provinces are “severely contaminated” by ERW, affecting up to a quarter of all villages.[12] A 2002 evaluation by the Japan International Cooperation Agency estimated that 236.8km2 of potential agricultural land was contaminated by UXO.[13]

Lao PDR is creating a comprehensive national database that will bring together a wide range of different datasets (see Data collection and management section below). In the meantime, the partial survey by Handicap International (HI), published in 1997, although acknowledged as out of date,[14] remains the primary data source. It found that 15 of the country’s then 18 provinces—all those it surveyed—had districts significantly or severely affected by UXO and that, among the affected villages, 1,156 had large bombs ranging from 100 to 1,000kg.[15]

The extraordinary intensity of aerial bombing has tended to obscure the extent of other forms of contamination left by the war on the ground. Bombies (the local term for unexploded submunitions) accounted for little more than a quarter of items removed or destroyed in 2008,[16] while UXO Lao reports that during 12 years of operations, ground forces munitions made up most (52%) of total items cleared and submunitions for a little under half (47%).[17]

All sides in the war laid antipersonnel mines, particularly along borders and around military bases and airfields. The HI survey found mines in all 15 provinces it surveyed, contaminating 214 villages,[18] and clearance operators have estimated Lao PDR may have 1,000 minefields.[19] The remote location of most minefields meant that mines had little impact, accounting for only 1% of the total items of ordnance cleared since 1996,[20] and 0.001% of items cleared in 2007.[21] A fatal antivehicle mine incident in 2007 on land cleared by UXO Lao[22] and the clearance of a minefield as part of an infrastructure project indicated mines may require greater attention as economic development progresses.[23]

Casualties

In 2008, at least 100 new mine/ERW casualties were reported, including 30 killed, 69 injured, and one unknown. There is overlap in data provided by information providers; UXO Lao reported 89 casualties, and HI reported 19 casualties. HI and UXO Lao do not systematically collect casualty data. As such this cannot be taken as a full representation of all casualties that could have occurred during this period and extensive under-reporting of casualties is assumed.[24]

At the time of writing, the NRA was undertaking a two-phase survey of all mine/ERW casualties in the country from 1964 onwards. This survey had been completed for the period to the end of 2007.[25] Only incomplete data had been compiled for 2008 onwards and was not released by the NRA for publication in Landmine Monitor. Available data from the survey analyzed by the NRA suggested that the total number of mine/ERW casualties would probably exceed 300 for 2008.[26]

From the data supplied by UXO Lao and HI, boys were the largest casualty group (47) followed by men (30), girls (16), and women (6); the age of one male casualty was not reported. Most casualties were caused by ERW (90), including 57 submunition casualties. An unspecified mine caused one casualty, and unknown devices nine. The majority of casualties occurred while digging (nine), followed by burning and tampering with explosive devices (seven), and cutting vegetation (four). Casualties also occurred while burning vegetation to clear land (two), playing (two), scrap metal collection (one), and fishing/hunting (one). For 74 casualties the activity at the time of the incident was not reported.

Casualties continued to occur in 2009, with at least 37 (12 killed and 25 injured) reported by UXO Lao as of 30 May 2009, including 25 adults and 12 children. Males made up the majority of 37 casualties (33).[27]

The NRA data from the first phase of the Lao National Survey of UXO Victims and Accidents that showed from 1999–2007, annual casualties were lowest in 2001 (128) and highest in 2004 (279), though the NRA predicts this figure may have been exceeded in 2008.[28] These trends could be attributed to the drop and subsequent rise in the price of scrap metal.[29] The NRA provided detailed information to Landmine Monitor in June 2009 on 1,866 mine/ERW casualties (725 killed and 1,141 injured) that occurred from 1999–2007.[30] Subsequently, the NRA identified a further 329 casualties for this time period, where the annual breakdown was not provided.[31] As this was the first nationwide victim survey, the NRA’s figures are probably more accurate than casualty statistics reported in previous Landmine Monitor reports. Therefore, based on these latest statistics, Landmine Monitor has identified 2,295 casualties (915 killed, 1,379 injured, and one unknown) from 1999–2008 in Lao PDR.

Preliminary results of the first phase of the Lao National Survey of UXO Victims and Accidents found that 50,136 mine/ERW casualties occurred between 1964 and 2008; these results are, however, partial. Verification of phase one surveying was conducted in October 2008, with 204 of the villages revisited. An average under-reporting of 21% was discovered; not all casualties were reported by villagers in the survey’s first round.[32] The second phase of the data collection is expected to lead to complete results for 2008 and verification of all data collected by operators in 2008.[33] Extrapolations indicate that there could be 51,598 casualties, including 31,724 that occurred during the conflict period (1964–1973)[34] and 19,874 casualties in the post-conflict years from 1974 to 2008 (with partial results).[35]

The type of devices causing the largest number of casualties since 1964 follows clear patterns. During the conflict years (1964–1973) mines were the main cause, followed by large bombs, and cluster munitions. In the decade directly following the conflict (1974–1983), mines (1,941) and cluster munitions (1,783) again caused the most casualties. From 2004–2007, submunitions were the largest cause (374 casualties), followed by unknown devices (162), and mines (161).[36]

Risk profile

People are at risk from cluster submunitions, mines, and other ERW in a quarter of all villages throughout Lao PDR and in 15 out of 17 provinces,[37] with most incidents occurring in Xieng Khouang and Savannakhet.[38] Research reveals a high level of awareness among both adults and children, however, they continue to interact with UXO on a daily basis.[39] A Mines Advisory Group (MAG)/UNICEF needs assessment in 2006 found that “while contributing factors of voluntary exposure were often rooted in poverty, it was rarely perceived by communities or individuals as the only option. More commonly, intentional UXO risk-taking was found to be based on a rational decision-making process involving weighing the potential costs and benefits of a range of available options.”[40]

In almost all the villages surveyed in January 2009 evidence was found of scrap metal collection[41] and the MAG/UNICEF survey found that half of all children surveyed were engaged in this activity.[42] Scrap metal collection was the cause of 32% of incidents reported by UXO Lao in 2008.[43] However, according to a 2008 MAG knowledge, attitude, and practice survey in Xieng Khouang of scrap metal dealers, the economic slump has resulted in a drop in the price of scrap metal and a decrease in the number of dealers.[44]

Socio-economic impact

Lao PDR’s National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2006–2010 observes that “there appears to be a significant correlation between the presence of UXO and the prevalence of poverty.” It identifies UXO as “one of the major security challenges facing the poor communities in terms of access to land and markets. It is also a major risk, especially for children.”[45]

UNDP has declared that “UXO/Mine Action is the absolute pre-condition for the socio-economic development of Lao PDR.”[46] UNDP reports that as a result of submunition contamination “economic opportunities in tourism, hydroelectric power, mining, forestry and many other areas of activity considered main engines of growth for the Lao PDR are restricted, complicated and made more expensive.”[47] The Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric dam, one of the country’s biggest economic development projects, spent more than US$16.7 million on UXO clearance between February 2003 and October 2007.[48]

The HI survey noted that UXO contamination “limited agricultural and forest-based activities and increases the cost of rural infrastructure projects.”[49] An independent UXO action sector evaluation in 2008 suggested it would take 16 years at current clearance rates to clear all potential rice paddy land in the 47 poorest districts and “a proportion of” potential upland paddy land.[50]

UXO also poses a significant threat because of its value as scrap metal. UNDP reported a sharp rise in UXO-related casualties in 2004 and commented that “the growing scrap trade, facilitated by the ubiquitous presence of cheap and effective Vietnamese metal detectors, often rented out by scrap merchants, is a significant driver of this change.”[51]

Program Management and Coordination

Mine action

The government created the National Regulatory Authority by decree in 2004 but did not appoint a director until December 2005, and it became active in 2006.[52] UXO Lao, a civilian government body, had primary responsibility for coordinating and regulating all UXO action as well as clearance until 2004, and it remains by far the largest clearance operator in Lao PDR.[53]

The NRA’s role includes setting policy, coordinating and regulating the mine action sector, accrediting operators, setting standards, and conducting quality management. It also has the mandate to serve as the technical focal point for matters relating to international disarmament treaties. It reports to the Deputy Prime Minister and a Board of Directors comprising nine government ministries, including defense, foreign affairs, security, and planning and development.[54]

The NRA employed 25 national staff and seven international advisors in 2008, under the management of the NRA Director, Maligna Saignavongs, and a chief technical advisor.[55] The NRA has two sections: Operations, with units handling clearance, RE, victim assistance (VA), and information management; and Policy, Administration and Standards. With US Department of State funding, ArmorGroup provided a technical advisor for standards and quality management, who conducts desk evaluations and accreditation of operators. The NRA coordinates sector-wide activity through technical working groups for clearance, RE, and VA, as well as a “Sector Working Group” involving mine action organizations and donors which facilitates discussion on design and implementation of the clearance program.[56] NRA priorities for 2009 included a review of strategy to prepare for drafting a new 10-year plan and a pilot program to open two provincial offices, as well as preparing for the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, scheduled for November 2010.[57]

Risk education

The NRA’s RE unit is responsible for the accreditation, coordination, and monitoring of all mine/ERW RE activities, and an RE officer was appointed in January 2008.[58] A technical advisor was funded through MAG from March 2007 to December 2008.[59] A mine risk education (MRE) Technical Working Group (TWG) met bimonthly.[60]

Standards for RE were developed by the NRA and the MRE TWG in 2008 and were enforced in January 2009.[61] They outline four components: data collection, public information dissemination, education and training, and community initiatives.[62] Community liaison is no longer included in standards, but RE must be integrated with other ERW/mine action activities.[63] Monthly activity reports are submitted to the NRA, and have been entered into the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) since January 2009.[64] The NRA conducted informal monitoring visits in 2008,[65] and a “Monitoring Framework for the NRA MRE unit” was finalized in November 2008.[66]

The mine action strategy for 2003–2013 included “delivering RE training to all UXO/mine-affected communities”[67] A national RE strategy for 2007–2010 was developed by the NRA and the TWG, based on needs assessments and evaluation recommendations, and approved in January 2008.[68]

Victim assistance

The NRA’s VA unit is responsible for VA policy development, sector coordination, and liaison between stakeholders, to ensure all mine/ERW survivors’ needs are met.[69] In 2008, the unit focused on the casualty survey and the establishment of a casualty database. The NRA reported that information compiled by the nationwide casualty survey will provide the sector with a comprehensive basis for developing a VA strategy (which had originally been planned for 2008).[70]

The unit continued to coordinate VA through bimonthly meetings of the VA TWG. The working group’s role includes coordination of VA programs, resource mobilization, and facilitating relations between government, operators, and donors.[71] Throughout 2006–2008, the VA TWG worked to develop the VA section of the first Lao PDR National Mine Action Standards.[72] An international technical advisor continued to support the unit.[73]

Responsibility for providing services to persons with disabilities is divided between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.[74]

Data collection and management

The NRA is creating a national UXO database that will combine the latest demographic data, US bombing data, records of operators’ clearance, victim data collected in a survey undertaken in early 2008, and data on clearance related to major infrastructure, development, and commercial projects.[75]

The NRA installed the latest version (5.02) of IMSMA with assistance from the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) in July 2007, but technical difficulties delayed bringing it into operation until 2008.[76] The NRA started entering results of a victim survey in March 2008 and UXO Lao clearance data in March 2009.[77] In January 2009, the NRA instructed operators to submit monthly completion reports in an IMSMA-compatible format. Accessing information in the database, however, remains problematic.[78] The NRA has hired a computer specialist to facilitate access to data.[79]

In 2008, the NRA established the Lao Victim Information Service (LVIS) to store information collected by the national casualty survey.[80] The NRA planned to use IMSMA as the analytical and reporting tool for the LVIS. [81]

The first phase of the Lao National Survey of UXO Victims and Accidents covering 95% of all villages in Lao PDR found that casualty figures quoted in previous years could represent as little as 40% of actual casualties.[82] In previous years, operators (including UXO Lao and HI) reported incidents only from the areas where they operated.

The second phase of the national survey, started in June 2009, will complete information on casualties occurring in 2008 and 2009.[83] The NRA also intends to appoint a district focal point, to whom village chiefs can report future incidents.[84]

Mine action program operators

National operators and activities

Battle area clearance

RE

Casualty data collection

VA

UXO Lao

x

x

x

 

COPE

     

x

Ministry of Education

 

x

   

Ministry of Health

     

x

International operators and activities

Battle area clearance

RE

Casualty data collection

VA

Association for Aid and Relief Japan

     

x

BACTEC

x

     

FSD

x

     

HI

x

x

x

x

ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled

     

x

Mines Advisory Group

x

x

   

Milsearch

x

     

Phoenix Clearance

x

x

   

World Education/ Consortium

 

x

 

x

Plans

Strategic Mine Action Plan

A National Strategic Plan for the UXO Programme 2003–2013, “The Safe Path Forward,” adopted by government decree in April 2004,[85] laid down broad objectives for the UXO action sector:[86]

  • clearance of not less than 180km2 of high and medium priority land by UXO Lao alone;
  • reduction of UXO/mine casualties to fewer than 100 per year;
  • deliver RE training to all UXO/mine-affected communities; and
  • develop a national database on mine/UXO incidents.

However, the plan predated the creation of the NRA and has been largely overtaken by developments in the sector, including an overhaul of UXO Lao’s clearance methodology leading to higher productivity, NRA initiatives to develop the database, and Lao PDR’s ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2009. An evaluation of the UXO action sector in 2008, conducted for UNDP, found that the sector did not consider the issue of spot tasks at all, and the absence of performance standards for such tasks meant their importance was underrated.[87]

The NRA, in consultation with UNDP, UXO Lao, and other stakeholders, reviewed the strategy in 2009 and drafted a new 10-year strategic plan for 2010–2020 that would overlap with, and feed into, the next five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan.[88] In the meantime, Lao PDR has set the goal of removing the UXO threat in the country’s 47 poorest districts by 2020 as part of a strategy to remove itself from the lower ranks of the Least Developed Countries by that deadline.[89]

Integration of mine action with reconstruction and development

The 2008 evaluation noted that “the strategy for UXO is not fully aligned and integrated with national socio-economic development and poverty alleviation strategies.” It also observed that the government’s development partners and commercial investors have failed to take account of the effects of UXO contamination and “there is still much work to be done to integrate UXO planning into wider development efforts that require use of contaminated land.”[90]

National ownership

Commitment to mine action and victim assistance

The Lao PDR government identifies UXO clearance as an integral part of its poverty reduction strategy, with national operator UXO Lao the biggest of the clearance organizations. The government’s contribution to UXO and mine clearance is limited to in-kind contributions; funding is provided by foreign donors (78% of total funding of $20.8 million for the sector in 2007) or through private sector investment projects (22%).[91] Donors have expressed disappointment at the low level of government financial support for the sector, and some take the view that the government should demonstrate its commitment to the sector by also committing funds from the national budget.[92]

National mine action standards/Standing operating procedures

Lao PDR’s first national UXO/mine action standards, based on the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), were completed in English, distributed to all operators, and posted on the NRA website in December 2006. The chair of the NRA’s board[93] approved the 24 chapters of national standards in a decree issued on 8 January 2009. In view of the prevailing focus on clearing UXO, the NRA requires operators undertaking any demining task to submit a workplan for approval.[94]

Program evaluations

An independent evaluation commissioned by UNDP and completed in July 2008 examined the progress of the UXO sector towards achieving objectives, the role of the NRA, the effectiveness of UXO Lao, and government and donor support. The evaluation found UXO Lao had exceeded the area clearance targets set out in the “Safe Path Forward” in 2003–2006 and was on course to achieve overall targets by 2013 but questioned the appropriateness of the plan’s targets and priorities.[95] The evaluation called for greater study of how much of the land contaminated by UXO could be developed for agriculture as a basis for planning and prioritization.[96] It also recommended greater emphasis on roving tasks, developing a simple system of priority-setting that addressed priorities of development and poverty reduction, and the definition of an exit strategy for the NRA and UXO Lao.[97]

It found the prioritization process “complicated, unwieldy and as a result rather unresponsive” and noted that there is no set of criteria or national principles to guide task selection. It also reported a “prevalent sense of risk averseness” among UXO Lao managers in dealing with aircraft bombs, resulting in a backlog of such roving tasks, and found that an increase in roving tasks by UXO Lao appeared to be “critical” to address the problems of UXO incidents among intentional risk takers.[98] The evaluation also described as a “significant shortfall” a lack of quality management capacity in UXO Lao.[99]

The study commended the NRA’s introduction of national standards but noted it lacked the capacity to fulfill its designated role in conducting external quality assurance on clearance operations, has yet to establish regulatory control over activities on projects managed by government agencies, and concluded that in its present form, totally dependent on donor funding, the NRA is not sustainable.[100] The evaluation commented that “some donors are disappointed with the low level of financial support from Government for the projects and programme activities in the sector.”[101]

Battle Area Clearance

UXO Lao, set up in 1996 and operating in nine provinces, represents the main UXO clearance capacity. In 2008, it worked with approximately 1,000 staff, including 11 international advisers.[102] Other organizations engaged in UXO clearance included the international NGOs, HI, MAG, and the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD), and three commercial companies, BACTEC, Milsearch, and Phoenix Clearance. Norwegian People’s Aid, which had provided technical advisors to support UXO Lao, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Lao PDR in 2009 with a view to operating its own clearance teams. The army undertakes clearance operations in border areas and has taken on commercial tasks linked to road development and rural electrification, but little is known about the scope, quality, or results of its activities.

Identification of hazardous areas

The NRA reported technical survey by demining NGOs on a total of 2.7km2 of land in 2008. However, the emphasis in Lao PDR is not on surveying contaminated areas but on access to full US bomb strike data. The Lao PDR and UNDP funding request prepared at the end of 2008 also calls for a geophysical survey of 2,000km of roads.[103]

UXO/mine clearance in 2008

Operators reported total area clearance of 54.09km2 in 2008 (see table below), 29% more than in 2007.[104] The NRA reported a further 2.74km2 that was released through enhanced technical survey.[105]

UXO Lao continued to raise the amount of land it cleared, although at a lower rate (about 4%) than in the previous year (about 20%) when productivity registered the immediate gains of operational reforms and acquisition of new equipment.[106] UXO Lao also attributed the lower rate of growth to the deployment of clearance teams on more remote tasks than previously. However, as evidence of better task selection and evaluation, UXO Lao reported that only around 5% of clearance tasks failed to yield any UXO in 2008 compared with around 30% four years earlier.[107] UXO Lao embarked on land release as a result of desk appraisal and survey in 2007 when it released 0.4km2. In 2008 UXO Lao reported it released 3.8km2 through technical survey.[108] UXO Lao has also field tested and started applying the prioritization model developed by GICHD as a tool for accelerating land release and concentrating clearance assets on contaminated land. UXO Lao approved a standing operating procedure for use of this tool at the end of 2008.[109]

UXO Lao, following up recommendations in the UNDP-commissioned evaluation, planned to set up 27 roving teams in 2009 to cover every poor or very poor district in the nine provinces in which it already operates, as well as three other provinces.[110] UXO Lao intended to dedicate nine of the teams to the destruction of big bombs in the nine provinces. It estimated the overall cost of the program over three years at $6 million. As of April, however, UXO Lao had yet to attract the funding required to put this proposal into action.[111] A UNDP management response to the evaluation accepted the need for extra roving capacity but said it would not be “at the expense of clearance tasks which are critical to support the implementation of the National Socio-Economic Development Plan.”[112]

Battle area and mine clearance in 2008[113]

Operator

Area cleared

(km2)

Total UXO removed/destroyed

Unexploded submunitions destroyed

Mines cleared and destroyed

BACTEC

8.62

1,380

826

1

FSD

0.58

5,045

945

1

HIB

0.34

1,442

756

0

MAG*

3.64

37,133

8,244

8

Milsearch

10.60

1,294

730

1

Phoenix

3.77

1,650

1,030

22

UXO Lao

26.54

68,214

32,475

137

*MAG also cleared 60,330 items of small arms ammunition.

MAG, the largest of the NGO operators with 172 staff, 10 clearance teams, and one explosive ordnance disposal team, also reported a slight increase in the area cleared, helped by switching from two-person to one-person lane drills. It recorded a more than six-fold rise in UXO items destroyed as a result of MAG’s engagement in clearing UXO accumulated at a scrap metal foundry in Xieng Khouang province. This project alone accounted for some 85,773 of the small arms ammunition and UXO items destroyed in 2008, including 60,330 rounds of 20mm projectiles. MAG planned in 2009 to add four technicians to each clearance team, expanding capacity without the need to buy more vehicles.[114]

Among other NGOs, FSD, operated with 71 staff in three teams in Savannakhet and Sekong, and more than doubled the area cleared, a result it attributed to increased staff experience and better coordination and planning. It also obtained funding for a fourth team but as of March 2009 still awaited government approval of amendments to its Memorandum of Understanding.[115] HI (54 staff) undertook area clearance and roving tasks in 29 villages of Savannakhet and also reported increased area clearance and roving tasks. HI hired a technical advisor every two to three months to conduct quality control and staff refresher training.[116]

Among the commercial operators, BACTEC continued to work under contract to OZ Minerals on its Sepon gold and copper mining project. It also undertook pathfinder tasks for Australian Survey Company and Salamander Energy plc.[117] Milsearch, a joint venture between Australian company Milsearch Pty and Bolisat Phathana Khet Phoudoi Group (BPKP), which works under the Lao PDR Prime Minister’s Office, supported exploration by Phu Bia Mining, undertaking clearance tasks related to the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project.[118] Phoenix PCL also undertook clearance tasks linked to Nam Theun 2 and as of April 2009 had some 70 operators working on five contracts.[119]

Risk Education

RE was conducted in the nine most contaminated provinces: Xieng Khouang, Huaphan, Luang Prabang, Khammouan, Savannakhet, Salavan, Sekong, Champasak, and Attapeu, and was expanded to new communities within these provinces.[120]

A national RE strategy launched in 2008 encouraged a shift from the information/education communication model that had evolved since 1999 to a behavior change communication approach based on discussions of options and minimizing risk for intentional adult risk takers. The approach for children was to continue to discourage any risk taking.[121] Further studies on the strategy were conducted in 2008 by HI,[122] MAG,[123] and FSD with Care Australia.[124]

MAG, HI, and FSD adopted the new strategy in 2008, and World Education/Consortium (WEC) was in the process of adapting it in 2009. HI and MAG used community liaison teams as part of an integrated approach to clearance and RE, with MAG focusing on reducing risk in the scrap metal trade.[125] However, UXO Lao Community Awareness teams continued to use the old method in 2008.[126]

WEC and the Ministry of Education started to implement a plan for sustainable UXO risk education in all primary schools in 2008, putting RE in the school curriculum and training teachers in the nine most affected provinces, building on the RE that had been conducted in schools for 10 years.[127]

In November 2008, FSD and Care Australia started an RE project in Sekong as part of their UXO risk reduction strategy focused on children and the scrap metal trade. They conducted training to start RE activities in 2009.[128] Phoenix PCL also reportedly conducted RE in 2008 in Khammouane province,[129] but details were not available.

The NRA RE unit, funded by UNICEF, organized three training courses for RE operators focusing on behavioral change techniques[130] and a workshop to develop an RE radio broadcasting plan.[131]

Activities in 2008[132]

Organization

Type

Type of activity

Location

No. of beneficiaries

UXO Lao

Government

Mobile community awareness teams

Luang Prabang, Huaphanh, Xieng Khouang, Khammuane, Savannakhet, Saravane, Sekong, Champasack, and Attapeu

145,332 people (including 69,417 children) in 601
villages

HI

NGO

Community-based RE volunteers network, parent-to-child education

Savannakhet province

16,500 people in 36 villages

WEC and Ministry of Education

NGO and government

School-based RE

Provinces: Xieng Khouang, Huaphanh, Luang Prabang, Khammouane, Savannakhet, Salavan, Sekong, Champasak, and Attapeu

4,890 teachers, 155,244 children in 533 primary and 1,077 village schools

MAG

NGO

Community liaison; participatory safety training to scrap metal collectors in the foundry project

Vientiane, Xieng Khouang, Khammuane, Savannakhet, and Champasack Huaphanh

Not available

The NRA also reprinted RE materials that had been developed in 2007 in additional ethnic languages, and 30,000 RE materials for the UXO School Curriculum project.[133]

A UXO/mine action sector evaluation in 2008 reported that “basic knowledge of UXO and UXO risks is widespread and general education efforts are likely to be yielding diminishing returns.”[134] It recommended that donor support be shifted from education-based RE to expansion of roving clearance. RE stakeholders responded that “Education-based activities can be very different in strategy and outcome than simply raising community awareness. This recommendation is not therefore based on current MRE approaches.”[135]

Several needs assessments conducted over the last few years contributed to this new strategic direction. A risk assessment conducted by UNICEF, MAG, and the Lao Youth Union in 2006 found that a new approach to RE was needed which would “require a change from zero-risk to risk minimization and recognition of the often valid risk assessment processes and risk reduction strategies indigenous communities employ.”[136] Key recommendations were to establish a process for engaging stakeholders, revise RE messages, strategies and information management systems, develop risk reduction strategies for children and young people, scrap metal collectors, people who dismantle UXO, and for farmers.[137]

A GICHD study in February 2007 also noted that although most victims had knowingly engaged in hazardous activity, “Community Awareness seemed largely to target unintentional risk-taking and not necessarily among the highest risk groups.”[138] The needs assessment fed into the workshop held in October 2006 to develop the new strategic plan for January 2007 to December 2010 and new standards.[139]

Victim Assistance

The total number of mine/ERW survivors is unknown, but is estimated to be at least 7,000.[140] In 2008, services and infrastructure in Lao PDR continued to be insufficient to meet their needs. Survivors predominantly live in the poorest, most isolated, and rural parts of the country, resulting in high levels of inaccessibility to medical services.[141] The cost of surgery and medical care is very high compared to the annual income of a rural family and is the main reason survivors have not accessed medical assistance.[142]

Emergency medical care throughout Lao PDR remains inadequate to meet needs, although progress has been achieved in this area. Some 96% of all villages in the country have a trained village health volunteer who is supplied with a medical kit.[143] Between 2001 and 2008, an Asian Development Bank project with the Ministry of Health improved the spread of primary health care services in eight northern provinces, working with hospitals to renew equipment and supplies, train staff and volunteers, and support the village volunteer network. At the end of the project in December 2008, it was reported that almost all villages in the eight provinces were within two hours of health assistance.[144]

Physical rehabilitation services are reasonably well-developed and run by the government in association with the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE). However, they remain centralized and not easily accessible for survivors from remote villages.[145]

There is only limited psychosocial support for mine/ERW survivors.[146] Social and economic reintegration programs for mine/ERW survivors are limited.[147] Although there are some educational and vocational training opportunities for a small number of mine/ERW survivors, employment opportunities remain limited and laws on employment quotas for persons with disabilities are not enforced.[148]

Lao PDR has no specific laws prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare has established regulations protecting persons with disabilities from discrimination and requiring accessible buildings. However, these policies do not have the force of law.[149] Lao PDR has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Person with Disabilities, but had not ratified as of 1 July 2009. It has not yet passed the Decree on the Rights of the Persons on Disabilities that was drafted at the beginning of 2008.[150]

Victim assistance activities

WEC financially supported the initial medical treatment and continuing medical care of 74 mine/ERW survivors in five provinces in 2008, through a fund that has helped 650 survivors access medical treatment since its inception in 1995. WEC also provided training in emergency medical care in 2008 to health staff in two mine/ERW-affected provinces. WEC coordinated a project that provided animal husbandry and veterinary training to 33 mine/ERW survivors in Xieng Khouang province in 2008. Follow-up activities with mine/ERW survivors in Xieng Khouang who received training indicated that their income had increased.[151]

The HI community-based rehabilitation project continued in coordination with a number of government ministries in 2008. Working in Savannakhet province with 30 villages, the project provided support to 365 beneficiaries in 2008.[152]

The ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD) program expanded support to the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise at the beginning of 2008. This included provision of materials to all five physical rehabilitation centers and subsidizing the costs of poor beneficiaries to the center in Pakse province and the National Rehabilitation Center in Vientiane.[153] To develop sustainable and locally led rehabilitation services, in 2008, COPE collaborated with the Ministry of Health and the College of Health Care Technology to determine whether training for health care professionals can be developed.[154]

In 2008, the Association for Aid and Relief Japan worked with the Ministry of Health to expand operations to six new target provinces in northern Lao PDR. Wheelchair Assessment Training was provided to Lao staff working in provincial hospitals of each province. The distribution of wheelchairs and tricycles to the northern area started gradually in December 2008.[155]

The Lao Disabled People’s Association, a self-help, membership based organization, continued to work in 2008 in 11 provinces to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in society.[156]

Support for Mine Action

Landmine Monitor is not aware of any comprehensive long-term cost estimates for fulfilling mine action needs (including RE and VA) in Lao PDR. Overall cost estimates (totaling roughly $5.1 million) presented in the 2003–2013 strategic plan have been rendered invalid by the expansion in recent years of the mine action sector and related costs and budgets.[157] In its 2008 annual report, UXO Lao reported an annual budget for 2008 of $6,318,035 and actual expenditures of $6,795,781.[158] The UXO Lao 2009 Work Plan estimates costs for 2009 totaling $6,859,494.[159] COPE’s 2008–2013 plan in support of VA reportedly includes a cost estimate of $5.38 million.[160]

The NRA coordinates and reviews implementation of the National Strategic Plan for the mine/UXO action sector. Among its financial duties, the NRA manages mine/UXO action assets transferred from the government to mine action operators, acts as the formal depository for funding agreements between donors and mine action operators, and approves commercial investment projects involving mine action.[161] Identifying future funding strategies was among the priority tasks defined for the NRA as of July 2007.[162] In October 2006, the NRA established a government-donor UXO Sector Working Group.[163]

National support for mine action

No mine action funding was reported by the government of Lao PDR in 2008 or 2007 except in-kind support.

International cooperation and assistance

In 2008, eight countries and the European Commission (EC) reported providing $12,745,518 (€8,655,112) to mine action in Lao PDR, approximately 4% more than in 2007. Funding at 2008 levels remains higher than budget estimates reported in the 2003-2013 strategic plan, but remains insufficient to address the full range of mine/UXO action and VA needs.

New Zealand reported supporting MAG clearance operations in Lao PDR during 2008 but did not report the value of its support.[164]

As of May 2008, UXO Lao reported secured funding of $4.2 million for 2008. Government donors included Australia, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Poland, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.[165] International funding reported by donors above may include multiyear funds, accounting for the difference.

2008 International Mine Action Funding to Lao PDR: Monetary[166]

Donor

Implementing Agencies/Organizations

Project Details

Amount

US

Via the Department of State

N/R

$3,050,000

Japan

UN Mine Action Service, UXO Lao, Japan Mine Action
Service, Association for
Aid
and Relief Japan

Mine/UXO
clearance, victim assistance

$2,623,764 (¥270,491,108)

EC

UXO Lao, MAG

Mine/UXO
clearance

$1,914,380 (€1,300,000)

Ireland

MAG

Mine clearance

$1,472,600 (€1,000,000)

Switzerland

UNDP

Mine clearance

$1,007,814 (CHF931,825)

Australia

CARE Australia, NRA

RE, VA, East Asia Regional Conference on the Convention
on Cluster Munitions

$975,748 (A$1,142,964)

United Kingdom

MAG

Mine clearance

$727,678 (£392,385)

Germany

Unspecified

Unspecified

$605,384 (€411,099)

Luxembourg

UNDP

UXO Trust Fund

$368,150 (€250,000)

Australia

NRA

East Asia Regional Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions

$34,455 (A$40,360)

N/R = not reported


[1] Statement by Saleumxay Kommasith, Director General, Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 25 May 2009.

[2] Lao PDR Explanation of Vote on Resolution L.6, UN General Assembly, New York, 29 October 2008. The statement was made during the vote on the resolution when it was before the First Committee. Similarly, in June 2008, Lao PDR told States Parties that “the Lao Government is considering the eventuality of joining the Ottawa Convention.” Statement by Amb. Maligna Saignavongs, NRA, Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 2 June 2008.

[3] Statement by Amb. Maligna Saignavongs, NRA, Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 26 November 2008. Translation provided by Lao PDR.

[4] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1,034; and Landmine Monitor Report 2008, pp. 886–887.

[5] Statement by Amb. Maligna Saignavongs, NRA, Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 2 June 2008. He said, “If this is the case, the Lao Government will not be in a position to accept it, because our priority is UXO clearance; since most of the accidents are caused by UXO, particularly by cluster munitions.”

[6] Statement by Amb. Maligna Saignavongs, NRA, Ninth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 26 November 2008. Translation provided by Lao PDR.

[7] For further details on its cluster munitions policy, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice, Mines Action Canada, May 2009, pp. 103–105.

[8] Statement by Amb. Maligna Saignavongs, NRA, Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, 2 June 2008.

[9] “US bombing records in Laos, 1964–73, Congressional Record,” 14 May 1975.

[10] See Landmine Monitor Report 2005, p. 789; and NRA, “UXO Sector 2007,” undated but 2008, p. 13, www.nra.gov.la.

[11] GICHD, “Lao PDR Risk Management and Mitigation Model,” December 2006, p. 39; interviews with operators, Vientiane, 6–8 April 2009; and see Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 878.

[12] NRA, “National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action in Lao PDR,” www.nra.gov.la.

[13] “Master plan study on integrated agricultural development in Lao People’s Democratic Republic,” Nippon Koei Co., Ltd and KRI International Corp, October 2001.

[14] GICHD, “Lao PDR Risk Management and Mitigation Model,” December 2006, p. 9.

[15] See Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 878. There were 18 provinces at the time of the survey; reduced to 17 in 2006. Email from Tim Horner, Senior Technical Advisor, NRA/UNDP, 5 August 2009.

[16] “Jan to Dec 2008 UXO Operations in Lao PDR Report,” data provided by NRA, 6 April 2009.

[17] UXO Lao, “2008 Annual Report,” Vientiane, undated but 2009, p. 5. UXO Lao reported in 2008 that bombies accounted for 38% of UXO cleared by its roving teams and 61% of UXO cleared by its area clearance teams.

[18] HI, “Living with UXO, National Survey on the Socio-Economic Impact of UXO in Lao PDR,” Vientiane/Brussels, 1997, p. 7.

[19] See Landmine Monitor Report 2004, p. 1,037.

[20] GICHD, “Lao PDR Risk Management and Mitigation Model,” December 2006, p. 24. The study found that some 5,700 mines had been disposed of, compared with 718,000 pieces of ordnance.

[21] NRA, “UXO Sector Annual Report 2007,” Vientiane, undated but 2008, p. 10.

[22] The incident occurred on 27 October 2007 when a tractor working on a site in Xieng Khouang province detonated a US-made M19 plastic antivehicle mine. The area had been extensively used in recent years for grazing and cultivation and extensively transited by vehicles, including tractors. A UXO Lao team had checked the site a month earlier to a UXO-free, not metal-free, standard, recovering 22 items of UXO, including three submunitions. NRA, “Accident Investigation Report,” 2 November 2007.

[23] Telephone interview with Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, 11 May 2008.

[24] Data supplied to Landmine Monitor by email from Edwin Faigmane, Technical Advisor, UXO Lao/UNDP, 10 June 2009; and “HI Individual Casualty Reports,” provided by Kim Warren, UXO Program Coordinator, HI, 9 June 2009.

[25] As of 30 March 2009, 217 casualties for 2008 have been entered into the NRA database from 40,000 of the 50,136 survey casualty forms collected in Phase 1. Based on the data gathered, the NRA estimates there have been 51,598 ERW/mine casualties in Lao PDR since 1964 and around 300 casualties in 2008. The first phase of the survey was carried out between February and October 2008. As a result not all data for casualties that could have occurred in 2008 was collected. The second phase of the data collection will complete the surveying for 2008 and verify all data collected by operators in 2008 and 2009. Implementation of this phase began in June 2009. Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, VA Technical Advisor, NRA,
31 March 2009; and email, 8 June 2009.

[26] Email from Tim Horner, UNDP/NRA, 5 August 2009.

[27] It should be noted again UXO Lao does not systematically collect casualty data and as such this data will only represent a limited number of the casualties that might have occurred during this period. Email from Edwin Faigmane, UXO Lao/UNDP, 10 June 2009.

[28] Data supplied to Landmine Monitor by email from Saysomvang Sounvannavong, VA Database Officer, NRA, 11 June 2009.

[29] Richard Moyes and Lamphane Vannachack, “A Study of Scrap Metal Collection in Lao PDR,” GICHD, Geneva, September 2005, p. 12; and response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, NRA, 31 March 2009.

[30] Data supplied to Landmine Monitor by email from Saysomvang Sounvannavong, NRA, 11 June 2009.

[31] Email from Tim Horner, UNDP/NRA, 5 August 2009.

[32] At the end of March 2009, 41,000 surveys of individual casualty data had been entered into data management system and verified. All results recorded here are based on this data, extrapolated to a total of 51,598 casualties. Data and analysis provided by response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, NRA, 31 March 2009.

[33] Email from Michael Boddington, NRA, 8 June 2009.

[34] Although fighting ceased in early 1973, the data provided by the NRA takes the whole of 1973 as a conflict year.

[35] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, NRA, 31 March 2009.

[36] Ibid.

[37] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 888.

[38] Ibid, p. 894.

[39] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 896; Jo Durham, “Needs Assessment in Lao PDR,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 11.1, Summer 2007, maic.jmu.edu; and HI, “Summary of Village Feasibility Survey,” Vientiane, February 2009. However, UXO Lao reported that 28% of casualties for whom they collected information in 2008 were unaware of the related dangers of UXO. However, this information was only collected in areas where UXO Lao operated, and thus under-reporting could be assumed as it did not cover all ERW/mine affected areas.

[40] Jo Durham, “Needs Assessment in Lao PDR,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 11.1, Summer 2007, maic.jmu.edu.

[41] HI, “Summary of Village Feasibility Survey,” Vientiane, February 2009.

[42] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 896.

[43] Email from Heuangphachanh Panpadith, Deputy Chief of Programme Unit, UXO Lao, 23 March 2009.

[44] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Gregory Cathcart, Programme Officer, MAG, 29 April 2009.

[45] Committee for Planning and Investment, “National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2006–2010,” Vientiane, 2006, p. 95.

[46] UNDP, “UNDP Lao PDR,” www.undplao.org.

[47] “Hazardous Ground, Cluster Munitions and UXO in the Lao PDR,” UNDP, Vientiane, October 2008, p. 8.

[48] NRA, “UXO Sector Annual Report 2007,” Vientiane, undated but 2008, p. 16.

[49] HI, “Living with UXO, National Survey on the Socio-Economic Impact of UXO in Lao PDR,” Vientiane/Brussels, 1997, pp. 7, 9, 20.

[50] Robert Griffin, Robert Keeley, Phetdavanh Sayyasouk, “UXO Sector Evaluation Lao PDR, June–July 2008, Final Report,” July 2008, p. 26. UNDP’s management response said clearance could not be limited to rice paddy and that scoping was a complex exercise which required agreement on many variables. “UNDP Management Response, UXO Sector Evaluation Lao PDR,” Vientiane, 16 January 2009, pp. 3–4.

[51] UNDP, “Sharp rise in UXO deaths for 2004,” Press release, Vientiane, 8 July 2004.

[52] See Landmine Monitor Report 2006, p. 974.

[53] See Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 881.

[54] Interview with Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, Vientiane, 6 April 2009; and NRA, “UXO Sector Annual Report 2007,” Vientiane, undated but 2008, p. 22.

[55] NRA, “UXO Sector Annual Report 2007,” Vientiane, undated but 2008, p. 21.

[56] NRA, “UXO Sector Annual Report 2008,” Vientiane, undated but 2009, p. 17; and interview with Phil Bean, Technical Advisor, Operations/Quality Assurance, NRA, Vientiane, 21 April 2008.

[57] Interview with Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, in Geneva, 26 March 2009; and email from John Fenech, Public Information Advisor, UNDP, 5 August 2009.

[58] Email from Thongdy Phommavongsa, MRE Officer, NRA, 24 March 2009.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Email from Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, 20 April 2009; and response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Gregory Cathcart, MAG, 29 April 2009.

[62] NRA, “Lao PDR National UXO/Mine Action Standards, Chapter Thirteen–UXO/Mine Risk Education,” Vientiane, 8 January 2009, p. 13–14.

[63]See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 897.

[64] Emails from Thongdy Phommavongsa, NRA, 20 March 2009 and 24 March 2009; MAG, “MAGazine–The quarterly newsletter of MAG Lao PDR,” Vientiane, January 2009, p. 2; and response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Gregory Cathcart, MAG, 29 April 2009.

[65] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Gregory Cathcart, MAG, 29 April 2009.

[66] Email from Thongdy Phommavongsa, NRA, 20 March 2009; and NRA, “Monitoring Framework for the NRA MRE Unit,” Vientiane, November 2008.

[67]See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 890.

[68] Ibid, p. 896; and response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Gregory Cathcart, MAG, 29 April 2009.

[69] NRA, “Lao PDR National UXO/Mine Action Standards–Chapter 14: UXO and Mine Victim Assistance,” 8 January 2009, p. 14–15; and see Landmine Monitor 2008, p. 899.

[70] NRA, “UXO Sector Annual Report 2008,” Vientiane, undated but 2009, p. 23.

[71] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 899.

[72] The Deputy Prime Minister of Lao PDR, who is also the Chairman of the NRA, issued a decree 8 January 2009 underpinning the Standards with a solid legal instrument. Email from Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, 20 April 2009.

[73] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, NRA, 31 March 2009.

[74] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 899.

[75] Telephone interview with Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, 17 June 2009.

[76] Ibid, 11 May 2008.

[77] Interview with Khammoungkhoun Southivong, NRA, Vientiane, 7 April 2009.

[78] Interview with Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, Vientiane, 7 April 2009.

[79] Telephone interview with Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, 11 August 2009.

[80] Email from Michael Boddington, NRA, 4 March 2009.

[81] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, NRA, 31 March 2009.

[82] District Enumerators collected mine/ERW casualty information from 9,066 of the 9,583 villages in Lao PDR. Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, NRA, 31 March 2009.

[83] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, NRA, 31 March 2009; and email from Michael Boddington, NRA, 8 June 2009.

[84] Email from Michael Boddington, NRA, 8 June 2009.

[85] Prime Minister’s Decree No. 33, 29 April 2004.

[86] “The Safe Path Forward, National Strategic Plan for the UXO Programme 2003–2013,” Vientiane, 29 April 2004, pp. 2, 4.

[87] Robert Griffin, Robert Keeley, Phetdavanh Sayyasouk, “UXO Sector Evaluation Lao PDR, June–July 2008, Final Report,” July 2008, p. 36.

[88] Interview with Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, Vientiane, 7 April 2009 and email, 5 August 2009; and “UNDP Management Response UXO Sector Evaluation Lao PDR,” Vientiane, January 2009, p. 9.

[89] Government of Lao PDR and UNDP, “The Scourge of Cluster Munitions in the Lao PDR: Meeting Treaty Obligations and Scaling Up the Response,”, Vientiane, 13 November 2008, p. 1.

[90] Robert Griffin, Robert Keeley, Phetdavanh Sayyasouk, “UXO Sector Evaluation Lao PDR, June–July 2008, Final Report,” July 2008, p. 72.

[91] Government of Lao PDR and UNDP, “The Scourge of Cluster Munitions in the Lao PDR: Meeting Treaty Obligations and Scaling Up the Response,” Vientiane, 13 November 2008, p. 2.

[92] Robert Griffin, Robert Keeley, Phetdavanh Sayyasouk, “UXO Sector Evaluation Lao PDR, June–July 2008, Final Report,” July 2008, p. 71; and interview with donor, Vientiane, 7 April 2009.

[93] Lt.-Gen. Douangchai Phichith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense.

[94] Interview with Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, Vientiane, 6 April 2009.

[95] Robert Griffin, Robert Keeley, Phetdavanh Sayyasouk, “UXO Sector Evaluation Lao PDR, June–July 2008, Final Report,” July 2008, p. 44.

[96] The evaluation cites an estimate by JICA that only some 23,680 hectares (236.8km2) of land with agricultural potential was contaminated by UXO. Robert Griffin, Robert Keeley, Phetdavanh Sayyasouk, “UXO Sector Evaluation Lao PDR, June–July 2008, Final Report,” July 2008, p. 9.

[97] Ibid, p. 77.

[98] Ibid, p.4.

[99] Ibid, p. 64.

[100] Ibid, pp. 38–40, 49–50.

[101] Ibid, p. 71.

[102] Interview with Edwin Faigmane, UXO Lao/UNDP, 8 April 2009.

[103] Government of Lao PDR and UNDP, “The Scourge of Cluster Munitions in the Lao PDR: Meeting Treaty Obligations and Scaling Up the Response,” Vientiane, 13 November 2008, p. 9.

[104] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 892.

[105] NRA, “UXO Sector Annual Report 2008,” Vientiane, undated but 2009, p. 10. The NRA figure included release by UXO Lao of 2km2 through technical survey. UXO Lao reported a higher figure.

[106] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 892. UXO Lao expected to take delivery of 150 new detectors in 2009, thereby completing its equipment upgrade plan.

[107] Interview with John Dingley, Senior Technical Advisor, UXO Lao, in Geneva, 25 March 2009.

[108] UXO Lao, “Annual Report 2008,” Vientiane, undated but 2009, p.iv; and email from Edwin Faigmane, UXO Lao, 1 September 2009.

[109] Interview with John Dingley, UXO Lao, Vientiane, 8 April 2009.

[110] UXO Lao already operates in Luang Prabang, Huapanh, Xieng Khouang, Khammouane, Savannakhet, Saravane, Sekong, Champassak, and Attapeu. UXO Lao proposed that three roving teams in Luang Prabang would also cover Phongsali and Oudomxay provinces and two teams in Khammouane would also cover Bolikhamxay.

[111] Interviews with John Dingley and Edwin Faigmane, NRA, Geneva and Vientiane, 23 March and 8 April 2009; Government of Lao PDR and UNDP, “The Scourge of Cluster Munitions in the Lao PDR: Meeting Treaty Obligations and Scaling Up the Response,” Vientiane, 13 November 2008, pp. 10–11.

[112] “UNDP Management Response, UXO Sector Evaluation Lao PDR,” Vientiane, 16 January 2009, p. 18.

[113] Unless otherwise specified, data provided by Khammoungkhoun Southivong, Information Management Officer, NRA, 7 April 2009; see also UXO Lao, “Annual Report 2008,” Vientiane, undated but 2009, p. 3; and emails from Nigel Orr, Program Manager, FSD, 4 March and 10 May 2009; Kim Warren, HI, 25 March 2009; David Hayter, Country Program Manager, MAG, 3 April 2009; and from Gregory Cathcart, MAG, 16 and 17 June 2009.

[114] Interview with David Hayter, MAG, Vientiane, 6 April 2009; and emails from Gregory Cathcart, MAG, 16 and 17 June 2009.

[115] Email from Nigel Orr, FSD, 4 March 2009.

[116] Email from Kim Warren, HI, 25 March 2009.

[117] Interview with Alan McKeown, BACTEC, Vientiane, 7 April 2009.

[118] Interview with Ron Hawkins, Manager, Milsearch, Vientiane, 7 April 2009.

[119] Interview with Michael Hayes, Manager, Phoenix Clearance, Vientiane, 7 April 2009.

[120] Email from Thongdy Phommavongsa, NRA, 26 March 2009; and see Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 896.

[121] Ibid.

[122] In September 2008, HI conducted a knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) survey on UXO and scrap metal collection in three districts in Savannakhet province, resulting in a shift to a “parent to child” approach. Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Kim Warren, HI, 23 March 2009; and email from Kim Warren, HI,
25 March 2009.

[123] MAG conducted a pre- and post-project KAP survey with 23 scrap metal dealers as part of its foundry project. Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Gregory Cathcart, MAG, 29 April 2009.

[124] Care Australia and FSD conducted a detailed baseline study in 2008 for their project, which commenced in November 2008. Email from Stefan De Coninck, Provincial Operations Manager, FSD, 12 April 2009.

[125] Emails from Thongdy Phommavongsa, NRA, 11 May 2009; and from Kim Warren, HI, 20 March 2009; and response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Gregory Cathcart, MAG, 29 April 2009.

[126] Email from Thongdy Phommavongsa, NRA, 11 May 2009.

[127] NRA, “Minutes of Technical Working Group MRE,” Vientiane, 28 January 2009, www.nra.gov.la.

[128] Email from Stefan De Coninck, Provincial Operations Manager, FSD, 12 April 2009.

[129] NRA, “UXO Sector Annual Report 2008,” Vientiane, undated but 2009, p. 58.

[130] Emails from Thongdy Phommavongsa, NRA, 24 March 2009; Heuangphachanh Panpadith, UXO Lao, 23 March 2009; and Kim Warren, HI, 23 March 2009.

[131] Email from Thongdy Phommavongsa, NRA, 20 March 2009.

[132] Emails from Barbara Lewis, UXO Program Coordinator, WEC, 31 March 2009; Kim Warren, HI, 20 March 2009; and Stefan De Coninck, FSD, 12 April 2009; and response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Gregory Cathcart, MAG, 29 April 2009.

[133] Emails from Thongdy Phommavongsa, NRA, 24 March 2009; Kim Warren, HI, 23 March 2009; and Barbara Lewis, WEC, 31 March 2009.

[134] Robert Griffin, Robert Keeley, and Phetdavanh Sayyasouk, “UXO Sector Evaluation Lao PDR June–July 2008, Final Report,” Vientiane, July 2008, p. 34.

[135] UNDP, “Management Response to the UXO Sector Evaluation in Lao PDR”, Vientiane, 16 January 2009, p. 8.

[136] Jo Durham, “Needs Assessment in Lao PDR,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 11.1, Summer 2007, maic.jmu.edu.

[137] See Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 885.

[138] “LAO PDR Risk Education Management and Mitigation Model, GICHD, February 2007,” p. 42.

[139] See Landmine Monitor Report 2007, p. 884.

[140] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, NRA, 31 March 2009; and HI, “Living with UXO: National Survey on the Socio-Economic Impact of UXO in Lao PDR,” Vientiane, 1997.

[141] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, NRA, 31 March 2009; and see Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 898.

[142] Barbara Lewis and Sarah Bruinooge, “Developing Medical Capacity in Lao PDR,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 12.1, 2000, maic.jmu.edu.

[143] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, NRA, 31 March 2009.

[144] Asian Development Bank, “Projects: Primary Health Care Expansion–Lao People’s Dem Rep,” 2008, pid.adb.org.

[145] Email from Jo Pereira, Project Coordinator, COPE, 19 March 2009.

[146] Barbara Lewis and Sarah Bruinooge, “Developing Medical Capacity in Lao PDR,” Journal of Mine Action, Issue 12.1, 2000, maic.jmu.edu; and email from Kim Warren, HI, 25 March 2009.

[147] Email from Barbara Lewis, WEC, 31 March 2009.

[148] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Michael Boddington, NRA, 31 March 2009; email from Kim Warren, HI, 25 March 2009; US Department of State, “2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Laos,” Washington, DC, 25 February 2009.

[149] US Department of State, “2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Laos,” Washington, DC, 25 February 2009.

[150] Email from Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, 19 March 2009.

[151] Email from Barbara Lewis, WEC, 31 March 2009.

[152] Email from Sichanh Sitthiphonh, CBR Project Coordinator, HI, 27 March 2009.

[153] ICRC SFD, “2008 Annual Report,” Geneva, May 2009, p. 40.

[154] COPE, “Partnership in Rehabilitation–Project Report,” Vientiane, January 2009, p. 6; and email from Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, 5 August 2009.

[155] Email from Nori Okayama, Program Manager, AAR Japan, 20 March 2009.

[156] NRA, “UXO Sector Annual Report 2008,” Vientiane, undated but 2009, pp. 40–41.

[157] See Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 901.

[158] UXO Lao, “Annual Report 2008,” Vientiane, undated but 2009, p. 9.

[159] UXO Lao, “2009 Work Plan,” Vientiane, undated but 2009, p. 8.

[160] Email from Tim Horner, NRA/UNDP, 29 August 2008.

[161] NRA, “Sector Structure, Organisations and Responsibilities,” Lao PDR National UXO/Mine Action Standards, Chapter 1, 8 January 2009.

[162] UNDP, “Programme Brief: UXO Planning and Coordination (NRA),” July 2007.

[163] NRA, “UXO Sector Annual Report 2006,” Vientiane, undated but 2007, p. 18.

[164] Article 7 Report, Form J, 30 April 2009.

[165] UXO Lao, “Monthly Progress Report: May 2008,” p. 2.

[166] USG Historical Chart containing data for FY 2008, from “To Walk the Earth in Safety 2009,” by email from Timothy Groen, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, US Department of State, 18 June 2009; email from Hayashi Akihito, Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines (JCBL), 4 June 2009, with translated information received by JCBL from the Humanitarian Assistance Division, Multilateral Cooperation Department, and Conventional Arms Division, Non-proliferation; and emails from Mari Cruz Cristóbal, Policy Assistant, Directorate-General for External Relations, 28 May 2009; David Keating, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Department of Foreign Affairs, 12 March 2009; Rémy Friedmann, Political Division IV, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 11 March 2009; Caroline Mulas, Mine Action Coordinator, AUSAID, 22 June 2009; Kathleen Bombell, Mine Action Unit, AUSAID, 21 July 2009; and Amy White, Deputy Program Manager, Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Department, DfID, 17 March 2009.