Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — More than 100 representatives of relevant Government and non-governmental agencies and organisations convened in Hà Nội yesterday to discuss plans for ridding Việt Nam of all unexploded war-time bombs and mines.
The first meeting of the Mine Action Partnership Groups (MAPG) was co-hosted by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the Steering Committee of the National Mine Action Programme.
MAPG, established in October last year, is co-chaired by Vice Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyễn Thế Phương and representatives from the international community at the ambassadorial level. The first annual term has been co-chaired by US Ambassador to Việt Nam, Ted Osius.
“The Vietnamese Government has approved a National Action Programme on mitigating consequences of mine and bombs in the period of 2010 and 2025 to reduce and eventually eradicate the bombs, mines and explosive remnants in Việt Nam,” Phương said.
The programme is expected to contribute to the country’s socio-economic development, support victims in re-integrating into the community, and raise public awareness of mine and bomb incident prevention. It is also designed to promote science and technology research to mitigate mine and bomb consequences and expand post-war international co-operation, he said.
MAPG Group is a diversified forum to discuss policies and management mechanisms for such tasks, as well as share information, knowledge and experience related to mine and bomb consequence mitigation, he said.
Ambassador Osius expressed thanks to fellow donors, international organisations, and the private corporations and citizens who have worked in the group toward a common goal.
“Even in a country as heavily impacted as Việt Nam, we know from our international experience, from the lessons we have learned in Quảng Trị, that it is possible to make Việt Nam impact free. We know from decades of experience it takes time, it takes money, and it takes experts and hard work to identify and clear UXO, and to educate the local population about the dangers,” he said.
Right after its establishment, in 2016, the group launched a series of activities, including the introduction of project results on UXO impact survey across the country; setting up information management systems on mine action; training personnel how to handle explosive ramnants via defence co-operation with the US.
In 2017, with the support of the secretariat and thematic working groups, the group’s priorities focus on the completion of plans and documents, strengthening collaboration with international partners, research activities and research mobilisation.
Ministries, provinces, civil society organisations, private sectors, international organisations are encouraged to fill in the registration form to participate in the group by March 31.
According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, more than 800,000 tonnes of unexploded bombs and mines are buried across 21 per cent of the country, mainly in the central provinces of Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, and Thừa Thiên-Huế, in addition to Quảng Ngãi.
Over the past 40-some years, wartime bombs and mines have killed about 42,130 people and injured 62,160. — VNS