Participants at the meeting came from various ministries, sectors, and localities of Vietnam and organizations both at home and overseas. After listening to reports from the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Vietnam Mine Action Center on the organization and operation of the MAPG as well as the activities of the National Mine Action Program (known as Program 504), delegates discussed and raised a number of practical issues relating to the group itself and to bomb and mine clearance activities.

Deputy Minister Nguyen The Phuong opening the meeting. Photo: Huu Duong

According to Deputy Minister Nguyen The Phuong, Program 504 has helped Vietnam improve its institutional capacity and human resources, develop advanced technology for UXO decontamination activities and expand international cooperation in dealing with the aftermath of post-war unexploded ordnance (UXO).

US Ambassador Ted Osius confirmed that the United States is willing to share experience with Vietnam, and ready to learn from Vietnam’s experience and share it to the rest of the world.

US Ambassador Ted Osius addressing the event. Photo: Huu Duong
Representatives from the Canadian Embassy raised an issue that captured attention of a large number of participants: care for UXO victims. The representative from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs agreed with the Canadian opinion and stressed that attention should be paid to the care for UXO victims as equally as to other mine action contents such as methods of UXO detection and clearance.

Opinion-raisers also discussed the issues of education and dissemination of UXO dangers, gender impacts on the implementation of the mine action program, management of the MAPG, coordination among authorized agencies involved in UXO clearance in Vietnam, and more.

 Delegates listening to reports at the meeting. Photo: Huu Duong
Concluding the meeting, Deputy Minister Nguyen The Phuong affirmed that the MAPG is an open forum for interested partners to join and share experience in UXO clearance and to support Vietnam’s efforts in this field. He said that in the coming time, the group would work on a number of contents, including the proposal for a Government’s decree on the management and implementation of UXO consequence mitigation activities; issuance of regulations for the operation of the group; building of a UXO database; strengthening of information sharing; and building of an action plan for the period from now to 2020.
 Delegates in a joint photo at the event. Photo: Huu Duong
The MAPG made its debut in October 2016 as an initiative of the Vietnamese Government with an aim to exchange information on UXO, build trust and mutual understanding among partners with common concern, and improve transparency and coordination of resources so as to best facilitate the implementation of Program 504.

Reported by Huu Duong