Authorities Host Workshop To Evaluate the 2016-2020 Mine Action Plan
Dong Ha, Quang Tri (18 June 2019) — Quang Tri expects to be the first province in Viet Nam to be declared free from the impact of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) in only six more years, participants were told at a workshop held in Dong Ha on Friday, 14 June 2019.
Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) via Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), the workshop was the first of its kind for the Quang Tri authorities and mine action stakeholders to review and evaluate the performance, so far, of the mine action plan laid out for the period 2016-2025. Quang Tri Province is the first in Viet Nam that has promulgated such a strategy to deal with the unexploded ordnance problem that still affects the safety of Vietnamese people and hinders Vietnam’s development.
The Provincial Legacies of War Steering Committee in partnership with the Quang Tri Mine Action Center (QTMAC) chaired the workshop which was attended by representatives of the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Education and Training, Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, and Health, as well as district authorities and international NGOs PeaceTrees Vietnam (PTVN), Mines Advisory Group (MAG), NPA and Project Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of the War (RENEW).
After reviewing and discussing efforts from 2016 to today, workshop attendees reached agreement that mine action during 2016-2019 had achieved encouraging results, with these highlights in particular:
- The QTMAC was established and put into operation, and that has helped advise the Steering Committee in the field of humanitarian mine action with the result that mine action work has been better coordinated.
- A mine action database has been created according to IMSMA standards, tested, and is used in the field on a daily basis.
- Nearly 1,000 local employees have been trained in accordance with International Mine Action Standards. This human resource is vital to fulfilling the goal of making Quang Tri safe by 2025, after which mine action shall be transitioned to UXO risk management.
- Mine action in Quang Tri is linked with socio-economic development activities.
- Over 14,000 acres of land have been cleared of UXO and handed over for development and agricultural expansion. For an agricultural province like Quang Tri where 75% of its population lives on agriculture, release of such safe land is very important for the local people.
- EOD teams from MAG, PTVN, RENEW-NPA and the provincial military command have conducted 13,000 quick response tasks in answer to UXO call-ins from local residents, resulting in over 100,000 items of UXO found and safely destroyed.
- Deaths and injuries related to UXO have been drastically reduced during recent years. From three injuries in 2017, Quang Tri recorded zero accidents in 2018, a record since the war ended in 1975.
“These encouraging results are ascribed to strong guidance from the provincial leadership and members of the Steering Committee and engagement of local authorities and NGOs operating in the province,” said Deputy Governor Hoang Nam, who heads the Legacies of War Steering Committee. “A high level of central government institutional support, and continued funding from donors such as PM/WRA, DFID, Irish Aid and other agencies, have enabled these results,” he noted.
The Deputy Governor appraised the cooperation among MAG, RENEW-NPA, and PTVN as excellent, and noted that effective collaboration of NGOs with QTMAC and other stakeholders is critical to fruitfully realize the provincial mine action plan.
Reminding the workshop participants that Quang Tri Province intends to be declared free of the impact of UXO in just six years, Deputy Governor Hoang Nam quoted Jerry Guilbert, the U.S. Chief of Programs for Weapons Removal and Abatement, who said, “The Quang Tri model isn’t just a model for success for Vietnam and Southeast Asia. It’s really a model for success for the entire world.”