Photo: The US Embassy
With Vietnam, Ambassador co-chairs First Annual Donor Forum of Mine Action Partnership Group on March 15.
Ambassador of the US to Vietnam, H.E. Ted Osius, and Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong co-chaired the First Annual Donor Forum of the Mine Action Partnership Group (MAPG), a gathering of Vietnamese mine action agencies and international stakeholders dedicated to making Vietnam safe from the impact of explosive remnants of war, in Hanoi on March 15.
“The goal is very simple: to make Vietnam impact free and allow its citizens, its children, to walk the earth in safety and free from fear,” Ambassador Osius told the gathering.
At the direction of the Prime Minister, the MAPG was established to create an open dialogue between Vietnam and international partners on strategies, policies, and measures related to Vietnam’s Mine Action Program (Program 504). Each year, a member of the donor community will co-chair the forum with Vietnam. As Vietnam’s long-standing partner in mine action, the US, represented by Ambassador Osius, was named co-chair for this first working year. Participants discussed the MAPG’s organizational structure and the 2017 working plan. The co-chairs also encouraged international stakeholders to continue their active role in reducing the impact of unexploded ordnance (UXO).
“We have always welcomed partnerships with other donors,” the Ambassador said in his opening remarks. “With the UK, we have co-funded projects to build national capacity. With Japan, we support clearance efforts in Quang Binh to provide farmers with peace of mind. Ireland and the UK help us build expertise at the Quang Tri Legacy of War Coordination Center.”
“The private sector is teaching farmers how to effectively use land cleared through our projects. We willingly share experiences, such as with South Korea, who will soon become a major contributor. All of this is to say, the international community can make a difference in Vietnam, in many ways, big or small.”
Mine action assistance to Vietnam is fundamental to US-Vietnam relations and in fulfilling the goals of the Comprehensive Partnership. US cooperation in the field focuses on two priorities: addressing the consequences of war in high-contamination areas and supporting Vietnam’s capacity to manage the residual risk from UXO. Annual funding from the State Department, through implementing partners, was nearly $12 million in 2016. Altogether, the State Department has contributed nearly $100 million to address UXO in Vietnam since 1993. The US Department of Defense also continues to work with the Ministry of National Defense and the Vietnam National Mine Action Center (VNMAC) to build capacity and develop best practices to address the explosive remnants of war on land and under water.