Vientiane Times


Home Lao


NPA MOU project launch ceremony, Attapeu province on July 19, 2023. --Photo NPA Lao PDR

US, Norway provide extra US$20.8 million for UXO clearance

The governments of the United States of America and Norway have a continuing long-term commitment to supporting the unexploded ordnance (UXO) sector in Laos, with a combined total of over US$20.8 million committed to Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) to support survey and clearance operations in four southern provinces.
On June 29, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), valid from the date of approval until October 31, 2024.

 NPA Team Leader prepares to destroy half an aircraft bomb found in Dakbong village, Dakcheung district Xekong province. (File Photo from NPA Lao PDR)

Under the MOU, Norwegian People’s Aid will increase its capacity to carry out surveys, clearance, and explosive ordnance risk education activities in Attapeu, Champassak, Saravan, and Xekong provinces.
This is possible due to the significant increase in funding from the US Department of State of nearly US$20 million for NPA’s operations during this MOU period, along with an additional contribution of approximately US$850,000 from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This increase in funding will accelerate the pace of vital life-saving work to remove the threat of cluster munitions identified by surveys, and other UXO, and bring socio-economic benefits to thousands of families in the four provinces.
Norwegian People’s Aid aims to clear over 22,9 km2 of high-priority confirmed contaminated areas and detonate more than 35,300 UXO items in 108 villages in 22 districts across the four provinces.
Nearly 30,000 people are expected to directly benefit from these activities. The funding will allow NPA to hire over 400 new staff members, providing jobs for over 820 local people in southern Laos.
A ceremony to launch the project, held on July 19 in Attapeu province, was attended by Lao government representatives including the Vice Governor of Attapeu province Mr Bounserth Setthilad; Deputy Director, INGO Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Vilatsone Visonnavong; Director General, National Regulatory Authority for the UXO/Mine Action Sector, Mr Chomyaeng Phengthongsawat; and distinguished representatives from both the central and the provincial levels.
US Ambassador to Laos Dr Peter M. Haymond reaffirmed his country’s commitment to supporting the UXO sector, stating, “It is my privilege today to announce an additional nearly US$20 million contribution by the United States government for continued UXO survey and clearance efforts in four southern provinces.”
“With this project launch, the United States aims to double the clearance capacity of Norwegian People’s Aid in Attapeu, Saravan, Xekong and Champassak provinces. The United States is the largest donor to the unexploded ordnance (UXO) sector in Laos, having contributed more than US$355 million since 1995.”
The Ambassador of Norway to Vietnam, Ms Hilde Solbakken, who oversees Norwegian diplomatic affairs in Laos, relayed her remarks by video message to congratulate NPA on this event, which means a significant scaling up of NPA’s presence in Laos.
Ambassador Solbakken reaffirmed Norway’s commitment to supporting mine action in Laos.
“Over the past 32 years, humanitarian disarmament has been a key area of bilateral cooperation between Norway and Laos. When it comes to mine action, Norway takes pride in the solid work of Norwegian People’s Aid in Laos and elsewhere,” she said. “The consequences of munitions and land mines are devastating and long-term. They not only cause casualties and deaths, but also make local communities unable to use their own land, whether for agriculture, schools, business or housing, potentially for generations. Clearly, we need to continue international action and coordination to speed up surveying and clearance to make sure villagers can use their land safely and without fear,” she added. Cluster munition contamination in Laos is the highest in the world per capita, posing a risk to the livelihoods, socio-economic development, and quality of life of those living in affected communities.
Survey and clearance activities conducted by NPA will benefit those most at risk living in areas with the highest amount of contamination. This will allow local people to use their land without fear of injury or death from UXO.
Norwegian People’s Aid is also committed to promoting gender and diversity throughout its operations. The organisation is working with Proud To Be Us Laos, a national Lao organisation, to promote gender and diversity, provide staff trainings, and create an inclusive workplace for all staff members.
Norwegian People’s Aid is likewise committed to promoting environmental protection and climate change awareness.
With support from Zero Waste Laos, NPA is making progress to reduce its environmental footprint and promote awareness of climate change and environmental issues amongst its staff, youth, and local communities.

By Times Reporters
 (Latest Update July 20, 2023)


Newspaper Subscription Prices l Newspaper Advertisement Prices l Online Advertisement Prices l Online Subscription Prices

Vientiane Times Phonpapao Village, Unit 32, Sisattanak District, P.O.Box: 5723 Vientiane, Lao PDR
Tel: (856-21) 336042, 336043; Fax: (856-21) 336041; Email:
Copyright © 1999 Vientiane Times.