Development partners of Vietnam have pledged to continue assisting the country overcome the consequences caused by bombs and mines left over from wars by supporting defusing efforts and strengthening support for victims.

During a meeting with the Vietnamese Government on March 14 in Hanoi, a number of partners gathered to discuss the severe challenges posed by bombs and mines dropped during the country’s wars.

Representatives of the partners, including US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Samuel Perez and Ambassador and Director of the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) Stefano Toscano, said they hope for closer coordination from Vietnam in supplying data and information so that they can share their experience in the field.

They also expressed their belief that the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre, which was established earlier this month, will help the partners better understand Vietnam’s efforts in clearing unexploded ordnance (UXOs).

The National Steering Committee for Recovery over the Impacts of Postwar Bomb and Landmines (also known as the Steering Committee 504) reported that about 800,000 tonnes of UXOs across 6.6 million hectares (20.12 percent of the country’s land) are putting people in danger every day.

Incomplete statistics show that UXOs have killed more than 42,000 people and injured 60,000 others nationwide, equivalent to 1,500 deaths and nearly 2,300 injuries, with many children, every year.

Addressing the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who is also head of the Steering Committee 504, highly praised the support of the partners and expressed his hope to receive further effective cooperation and support from other governments and international organisations worldwide to speed up the progress of UXO clearance.

Particularly, he called on the US side to raise their responsibility and make more effective and practical contributions to the search and clearance of UXOs and surmounting the bomb and mine aftermath.

Over the 2010-2025 period, Programme 504 has aimed to mobilise domestic and international resources for the settlement of UXO impacts, ensuring safety for the people, PM Dung noted.

Vietnam has also signed memoranda of understanding in the field with the US Government, the GICHD and the International Centre, while agreeing on a cooperation framework with the UNDP, within the Asian Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus
(ADMM+), as well as Norwegian People’s Aid, he cited.

Vietnam has worked with partners to conduct a number of projects, including a bomb and mine mapping programme and some demining projects in serious UXO polluted areas. Between 2012 and 2013 alone, more than 100,000 hectares of land were demined, he added.

In order to ensure the assistance is used in a most effective manner, PM Dung asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to actively coordinate with the Steering Committee 504 to make negotiation plans and step up the signing of agreements with other foreign governments in the field.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment should work harder to expand talks with partners and speed up the establishment and operation of a partnership group involving donors, he said.

He also asked other ministries to review related policies and complete a legal system to create further favourable conditions for the receipt, management and use of the assistance.

PM Dung also called for deeper engagement of partners, donors and international friends in the setting up of the group to back Vietnam and the committee in the work.

“We need to work together to resolutely put an end to all wars and armed conflicts so that nations and people across the world will no longer suffer from the damaging aftermath of leftover bombs and mines,” PM Dung said.-VNA