A workshop to enhance partnerships in post-war action against mines in Vietnam was held in Hanoi on December 14 as part of the national action plan to manage unexploded ordnance between 2010 and 2015 (Programme 504).

The event attracted representatives from ministries, agencies, embassies, international and non-governmental organisations.

Chair of the workshop, Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, Bui Hong Linh, said unexploded ordnance (UXO) has caused negative impacts on socio-economic development, security, the environment and people’s lives and living conditions.

Each year, Vietnam has to spend trillions of VND on mine clearance, treatment of victims, and dealing with direct and indirect aftermath of UXO.

According to Linh, the country has cleared 100,000s of hectares of land contaminated with mines and improved the mine clearance capacity of local staff.

The Government has paid due attention to the resettlement of local people in unsafe areas, while the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), localities and NGOs have conducted programmes to help the victims of unexploded bombs integrate into the community, he said.

However, to manage the effect of UXO, it is necessary to not only moblise all resources at home and abroad, but also enhance partnerships in the task, Linh said.

The government pledged to provide sufficient information and cooperation with partners to use funding provided effectively, as well as encourage the participation and supervision of local people, he added.

UN Resident Coordinator to Vietnam Pratibha Mehta affirmed that dealing with UXO is a requisite condition for Vietnam ’s development.

In her opinion, the Vietnamese Government has made efforts to clear UXO. However, this problem cannot be dealt with by the Government alone – more international support is required, she said.

She also pointed to four issues that need further attention. They are closer partnership between Government, donors and NGOs, clear action plans and a close management framework to coordinate contributing funding and activities, up-to-date information on unsafe areas and the progress of Programme 504, and better education of UXO dangers to mitigate risks faced by local people.

Launched in 2012, Programme 504 affirms the Government’s determination to mobilise all resources at home and abroad to accelerate the management process of post-war bomb consequences, contributing to the country’s socio-economic development and the implementation of national targets.

The programme needs 14 trillion VND (700 million USD) from now until 2015, 300 million USD of which will come from ODA.

It is expected that by 2015, 500,000 hectares of contaminated land will be cleared to serve economic development and social security.

At the event, local and international NGOs pledged to continue their role in sharing knowledge and technology in the field with Vietnam.-VNA