R. Korea Further Support UXO Free Efforts In Laos

(KPL) The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the National Regulatory Authority for UXO/Mine Action Sector in the Lao PDR (NRA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a contribution agreement on the ‘Project to Support for UXO Sector in the Lao PDR phase 2 (2019-2022/USD 5.5 million) on May 14 in Vientiane.

Present at the signing event included KOICA President Lee Mikyung, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Lao PDR, Mr. Shin Sung-Soon, the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Baykham Khattiya, the Resident Representative of the KOICA Laos Office Oh Sungsoo, UNDP Resident Representative to Laos Ricarda Rieger, NRA Acting Director General Bounpheng Sisawath and representatives of key stakeholders.

I am very glad that KOICA continues to contribute to UXO sector in the Lao PDR via 2nd phase of the project. Korean government aims to contribute to the development of the partner countries by KOICA, focusing on the 3P (People, Peace, Prosperity) strategies since last year. Therefore, KOICA hopes to contribute to building peace in the Lao PDR, improving the quality of life of UXO victims and achieving the ‘Live safe from UXO’ which is the Lao PDR’s own sustainable development goal (SDG 18), said Lee Mikyung.

Under the terms of the document signed, KOICA will release its contribution in two packages: USD 3 million will be implemented in cooperation with the UNDP, and USD 2.5 million will be delivered bilaterally, to be used for victim assistance.

This is the second phase of KOICA’s contribution to the UXO sector in the Lao PDR. This phase will continue the work of the first phase, implemented between 2015-2018, which supported the National Regulatory Authority for UXO and Mine Action (NRA) to fulfill its mandate of coordinating the overall management of the UXO sector in the Lao PDR.

KOICA will also continue supporting the UXO Humanitarian Teams of the Lao Army in their training with equipment and operation cost needs in Bolikhamxay Province, where there are no other humanitarian operators present.

KOICA and UNDP also worked together in rural development in the province of Salavan. In addition to this, the Republic of Korea supplies a range of specialists to UNDP, through various avenues, including the KOICA Multilateral Cooperation Officer Programme and the UN Volunteers Programme.

These activities are all set to further the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, with the UXO-related project targeting the Lao PDR’s own national SDG 18: Lives Safe from UXO.

UXO is an impediment to poverty reduction and graduation from Least Developed Country status. UNDP has a long-standing partnership with the government in the UXO sector in the Lao PDR, and we are happy to continue working with KOICA to ensure that funds and efforts are maximized to achieve the targets set out in SDG 18, said Ms. Ricarda Rieger, UNDP Resident Representative.

Source: Lao News Agency