The Vietnam-US Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) on Agent Orange/dioxin-related issues will convene its fourth meeting in Hanoi from September 8-10.

The plan was announced on August 12 by the US Embassy in Vietnam and the Office of the National Steering Committee on Overcoming AO/dioxin Consequences in Vietnam (called Office 33). At the meeting, JAC members will discuss in detail bilateral cooperation in implementing environmental and health measures for AO/dioxin issues.

Acting as a bilateral forum for high-level scientific dialogues on AO/dioxin, to provide scientifically-based advice for the two governments’ law-makers, the JAC, in its previous meetings, focused on technical discussion on health and environmental research in the field. In 2008, JAC members formed health and environment taskforce groups.

US members to the JAC include representatives from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department for Health and Human Services, the Defence Department and the Department of State.

Vietnamese officials participating in the JAC are representatives from Office 33, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministries of National Defence, Foreign Affairs and Health and the Vietnam Science and Technology Academy .

USAID announced in November, 2008, its grant of 1 million USD for its three partners in the central city of Da Nang to carry out programmes tailored for people with disabilities.

This June, the EPA and the Vietnam Science and Technology Academy initiated a pilot project at the Da Nang airfield to experiment with a bio-remedy as a possible technology to deal with dioxin contamination. The long-defunct airfield was used by US forces during the Vietnam war, and the storage of the deadly chemical there left it heavily contaminated.

On June 10, USAID called for bids from companies to undertake services relating to environmental assessment in service of proposed activities to prevent dioxin contamination at Da Nang airfield.

Earlier this year, the US Congress granted an additional 3 million USD to support health activities and de-contaminate dioxin affected areas. This sum will be used to finance health projects and projects reserved for people with disabilities already underway in Da Nang city./.