While it is not attending the 1MSP in Vientiane, the U.S. this week released a fact sheet emphasizing its place as “the largest donor to humanitarian clearance operations in Laos.” While we expect additional commitments to Laos from other donor countries this week, we also expect the U.S. to maintain its position as the largest donor to the UXO sector in Laos.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release November 9, 2010
Saving Lives in Laos: United States Leadership in Clearing Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance
The United States is committed to reducing the impact of explosive remnants of war on civilians worldwide. As the largest donor to humanitarian clearance operations in Laos since our assistance began in 1993, the United States government has contributed more than $51 million to remediate the problems of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and landmines there. U.S. efforts in the last three years have expanded, providing more than $16 million in assistance in cooperation with the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and also working through partner organization UXO Lao.
The U.S. Department of State currently funds a wide range of clearance, risk education, and victims assistance projects in Laos through the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement. In Fiscal Year 2010, the Department of State spent over $5.1 million for such projects conducted by Armor Group North America, MAG (Mines Advisory Group), World Education, Inc., Norwegian People’s Aid, Spirit of Soccer, Catholic Relief Services, and Clear Path International.
The United States Agency for International Development through the Leahy War Victims Fund supports projects by Catholic Relief Services, Handicap International, and World Education to provide accident survivors and their families with medical training and comprehensive orthotics programs, and to help expand educational opportunities and community services to disabled children.
The U.S. Department of Defense helped train and equip UXO clearance teams in Laos in the late 1990s. It also has provided extensive bombing data from the Vietnam War era to the Lao government and international UXO clearance operators to help guide UXO clearance efforts. Since 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has contributed $10.6 million in grants for a program in Laos that combines school meals, UXO clearance in and around school areas, and mine risk education.
U.S. assistance continues to help Laos achieve its national UXO clearance goals and to reduce UXO casualties. The U.S. government expects to continue its support in 2011.
The United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of efforts to clear UXO and landmines. Since 1993, the United States has provided more than $1.8 billion toward landmine and UXO clearance and conventional weapons destruction in 81 countries. To learn more about the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement’s humanitarian mine action and conventional weapons destruction programs, visit www.state.gov/t/pm/wra.