An important step towards a mine-free Vietnam

Norwegian People’s Aid and Vietnam Bomb and Mine Clearance Action Centre have signed the closing document of their joint mine-action project, partly funded by Norway.


Wednesday September 14th marked the end of the US- and Norwegian-funded project “Development of Mine Action Information Management System in Vietnam”, implemented by Vietnam Bomb and Mine Clearance Action Centre (VBMAC) and the Norwegian NGO Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA). Present in VBMAC’s headquarters were both implementers and funders, as the closure document was signed by both implementing parties.


Decades of war have left Vietnam with somewhere between 350 and 800 tons of unexploded remnants, which present serious challenges for the future development of Vietnamese society and economy. Vietnamese citizens risk serious injuries and death, and future economic development is limited as long as some areas are heavily contamined by undetonated explosives.


The VBMAC/NPA project has iniated a process to map all remaining unexploded bombs and mines in Vietnamese soil, by creating a national database unit with the necessary equipment and knowledge to overcome the legacy of wars which still exists in Vietnam.


The Norwegian Deputy Head of Mission, Ms. Ragnhild Dybdahl, represented Norway during the ceremony, and used her speech to congratulate on the fine work done in the project, but also to look to the future of Vietnamese mine action.


– We would like to congratulate VBMAC and NPA on the achievements we see here today. The way this project focuses on knowledge and capacity building is very encouraging, Ms. Dybdahl said, before she highlighted an aspect Norway believes is important in going forward.


– However, I would add that Norway strongly encourages the signing and ratification of the Convention on Cluster Munition, which, when implemented, will lead to concrete improvements in affected communities and increase efforts to clear contaminated areas, she said, and added:


– We will continue to encourage Vietnam to ratify the Convention. Meanwhile, partnerships between Vietnam and Norway such as the one we are celebrating here today, remain instrumental and vital in implementing the spirit of the Convention on the ground here in Vietnam.


 

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