“Viet Nam should launch a national action plan on de-mining soon”: UNDP Deputy Director

As published in Quan Doi Nhan Dan - People's Army and Thong Tan Xa Viet Nam on 5/4/2010

To mark the global Day for Raising Awareness about Landmines and De-mining Action (April 4th), Mr. Christophe Bahuet, Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Viet Nam had a talk with Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People's Army) newspaper regarding the problem of leftover landmines in Viet Nam from the war, and gave recommendations to solve the problem. Landmines and unexploded ordnance remaining after the war is a significant threat to people and creates many difficulties for efforts to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty, as well as economic development in affected countries.

Therefore, UNDP is now supporting many developing countries affected by landmines and unexploded ordnances. In Asia, UNDP has launched large programmes to support the Lao and Cambodian governments to build and implement national action plans on landmines and unexploded ordnances, coordination programmes on disarming, and support to landmine victims. Since 2008, initial supports has been provided to Viet Nam under the United Nations Convention on Cluster Munitions. UNDP has helped Viet Nam actively take part in the Oslo process and supported representatives from the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs take part in international conferences and events on the convention in Dublin, Oslo. The agency also helped Viet Nam hold a national conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions in October 2008 and take part in important regional conferences on cluster munitions. Currently, UNDP is discussing with the Viet Nam Bomb and Mine Clearance Centre (VBMAC) about possible support in the future. With more than 6.6 million hectares polluted with landmines in Viet Nam, and regular landmine-related accidents, the country still has a lot of work to do. The country needs to urgently put together a national action plan to deal with the aftermath of landmines, work out a national coordinating mechanism and an action plan for the longer term, as well as introduce action plans alongside socio-economic development plans, both on a local and central scale.