Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 06:40 (GMT+7)
Promoting international cooperation in the settlement of post-war unexploded ordnance consequences

Encouraging international cooperation in the settlement of post-war unexploded ordnance (UXO) consequences is a consistent line by our Party and State. Over the past years, under the direction by the Government, international cooperation in this field has greatly contributed to accelerating the process and restoring the areas contaminated by post-war UXO in Vietnam.

Maj. Gen. Phung Ngoc Son, Director of the VNMAC, signing the MoU on cooperation and provision of senior-level technical consultants for the Centre

Grasping the Party and State’s foreign policies, over the past years, cooperation in surmounting the post-war UXO consequences between Vietnam and other countries and international and non-governmental organizations has achieved positive results. Vietnam has gained support from many countries and international organizations, such as the U.S., South Korea, Australia, Japan, Germany, the International Centre (IC), and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD).

In the first half of 2019 alone, the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC) received and worked with 18 international delegations and organized 5 delegations to other countries and international organizations. Thanks to international cooperation, up to now, Vietnam has been implemented several projects which have been worth tens of millions of USDs and sponsored by other countries on the settlement of post-war UXO. Doing so has significantly contributed to stepping up the programs on dealing with the post-war UXO consequences, ensuring the clean, safe environment in the areas contaminated by bombs, mines, and ordnance, facilitating the socio-economic development of each locality, particularly in the isolated, remote areas across the country.

At present, the total area of bomb and mine contaminated land is very large (about 6.1 million hectare). Bomb and mine contamination appears on all types of terrains (in mountainous, midland, flat, and coastal areas) and in all types of environments (land, waters near the coast, rivers, canals, etc.). Moreover, the impacts of climate and natural environment and the transformations in natural land have changed the positions of bomb and mine contamination and increased the danger and complication of the bomb and mine clearance work in the UXO-contaminated areas. That situation necessitates us making huge investments in modern technologies, high-quality personnel, and specialized units to settle the UXO consequences (particularly the UXO which lies deep inside the land or under the water).

To continue promoting the international cooperation and further mobilizing both external and internal resources to gradually improve the quality and effectiveness of the settlement of post-war UXO consequences, in the time to come, the VNMAC will focus on the following.

First, developing and effectively implementing the projects/programs on international cooperation in the settlement of the UXO consequences. The VNMAC will concentrate on advising the Ministry of National Defence (MND) on introducing and promulgating the Circular guiding the implementation of the Government’s Decree 18/2019/NĐ-CP, dated February 1st 2019, on “managing and performing the work of handling post-war UXO consequences.” Grounded on the Action Program in the period of 2018-2020 by the National Steering Committee for the settlement of post-war UXO consequences (the Steering Committee 701 for short), the VNMAC will proactively develop and submit the project on “technical survey and settlement of post-war UXO consequences in the five provinces of Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Cao Bang, Quang Nam, and Quang Tri” for approval and implement this project with the financial support from countries and organizations both at home and abroad. It will submit the project with equipment for bomb and mine clearance provided by Japan’s Nikken Corporation to the Defence Minister for approval. It will build a Memorandum of Understanding between the VNMAC and the Golden West on technical consultation and cooperation in enhancing the capacity to perform the work of post-war UXO clearance and a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding between the VNMAC, the IC, and the GICHD on cooperation in the settlement of post-war UXO consequences in the period of 2019-2020. 

Sr. Col. Nguyen Hanh Phuc working with American partners

Besides, it will proactively promote relations with potential partners, such as America, South Korea, Hungary, Japan, and Russia, while encouraging relevant parties to effectively execute the trilateral Memorandum of Understanding and increase their support for the settlement of post-war UXO consequences in Vietnam in the period of 2016-2019. The VNMAC will actively cooperate with the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Steering Committee 701’s Office, the Department of International Relations (MND), the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and other relevant offices in continuing to implement the Vietnam-South Korea Mine Action Project and develop a 3-year plan for cooperation in the settlement of post-war UXO consequences. It will cooperate with the NPA in training the National Quality Management Team for the projects on technical surveys and bomb and mine clearance.

Second, stepping up dissemination of the status quo and consequences of post-war UXO in order to gain international support. With efforts made by competent offices and the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations, we have gained significant achievements in encouraging countries’ governments, international and non-governmental organizations, and foreign individuals to help us with the settlement of post-war UXO consequences. However, some countries and international organizations have yet to clearly understand the status quo and implications of post-war UXO contamination for Vietnam’s people and socio-economic development. Meanwhile, settling the post-war UXO consequences is a humanitarian matter drawing a lot of attention from many countries, international organizations, and progressive people around the world. Thus, in the upcoming time, the VNMAC will continue to counsel and coordinate the work of propagation for this task in a more active, proactive, regular, and focalized manner with the participation of many forces and diverse, effective methods.

To effective carry out the work of propagation and mobilize more resources from the international community for the settlement of UXO consequences, a part from attaching importance to encouraging active, potential partners, particularly the countries which directly or indirectly involved in the war in Vietnam, there should be a plan for propagation intended for developed countries and those which are also contaminated by UXO. Focuses of the work of propagation should be placed on the status quo and consequences of post-war UXO, our Party and State’s guidelines and viewpoints, and the outcome of the projects and programs. In the process, it is necessary to flexibly, closely combine propagation and diplomatic struggle for justice, include the content of programs and projects in our Party and State delegations’ visits and meetings with foreign partners as well as in bilateral, multilateral meetings on the settlement of post-war UXO. Due regard should be paid to cooperating with other countries and international organizations in holding conferences and forums domestically, regionally, and globally as well as with foreign press agencies in making documentaries and writing articles about the settlement of post-war UXO and toxic chemical consequences in Vietnam so as to raise the public awareness of the impacts by post-war UXO and of the urgent demand for the settlement of post-war UXO consequences in our country. By doing so, we could gain spiritual, material and financial support from the countries which engaged in the war in Vietnam and other countries, organizations, and individuals around the globe.

The VNMAC’s Board of Directors working with Russian Engineer Corps’ delegation

Third, frequently consolidating the VNMAC’s organizational structure and keeping improving its personnel’s professional competence. To fulfil its function as a national-level specialized agency for promoting international relations, directly mobilizing and receiving international support in the settlement of post-war UXO consequences, the VNMAC will attach significance to consolidating and stabilizing its organizational structure, bringing into play the role of party organizations, commands, and mass organizations on successfully performing the central political task. Besides, it will continue to build and supplement the working regulations and plans, with emphasis placed on assigning the task to each individual and collective in order to promote its staff members’ proactiveness and creativity to the utmost.

To meet the requirements for international cooperation in the settlement of post-war UXO consequences in accordance with the diplomatic rules, Vietnam’s law, international practices, and sponsors’ demands, offices and units should render their staff members fully aware of the Party’s foreign policy and resolutions, directives, and regulations on the external work by the Central Military Commission and the MND. Notably, great value should be attached to improving the political zeal, morality, lifestyle, foreign language capacity, and diplomacy-related working experience of staff members, particularly heads of divisions and boards, cadres taking part in the projects, and those who are in charge of the foreign work in order to make contributions to raising the effectiveness of international cooperation in the settlement of post-war UXO consequences for “a Vietnam without post-war UXO” and the people’s peaceful life and happiness.

Sr. Col. Nguyen Hanh Phuc, Secretary of the VNMAC’s Party Committee

Deputy Director of the VNMAC

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