Laos has given great importance to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) through the approval of several related regulations, policies, strategies and practices.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Saleumxay Kommasith made the government's reaffirmation when delivering his speech at the First Review Conference of the CCM which is taking place from September 7 to 11 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
CCM or the Oslo Convention was signed on December 3-4 2008 in Oslo, Norway and entered into force on August 2010. The convention prohibits all use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions. In addition it establishes a framework for cooperation and assistance to ensure adequate care and rehabilitation for survivors and their communities, the clearance of contaminated areas, risk reduction education and the destruction of stockpiles.
The Review Conference also marks five years since the First Meeting of State Parties to the convention took place in Vientiane in November of the same year.
The deputy minister, who is also the Vice Chairman of the National Regulatory Authority (NRA), reminded the participants about the country's implementation of the convention over the past five years with satisfactory results having been achieved.
The government approved the strategy for addressing unexploded ordnance (UXO) for 2011-2020, inserted UXO clearance together with poverty reduction in the Seventh National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2010-2015 and raised the UXO issue as Millennium Development Goal No 9.
Mr Saleumxay also noted the government had given importance to the convention as an international treaty that addresses the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm to civilians caused by cluster munitions.
In this regard he spoke about the government approving the strategy on aid provision to UXO victims in 2016-2020.
The implementation of the strategies saw more than 33,000 hectares of land cleared of UXO, with over 242 other munitions, 2,000 big bombs, 1,000 mines and other bombs being destroyed.
More than 600 UXO survivors have received health rehabilitation and awareness of UXO danger has been generated in 12,500 villages in the nine UXO contaminated provinces, which has led to a decrease in UXO victims from 119 in 2010 to 45 last year. As of August 31 2015 a total of 117 states have joined the Convention, as 95 state parties and 22 signatories.
Around 500 delegates have participated in the review conference under the chairmanship of Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic.
A number of activities and projects have been implemented by the international community since the CCM entered into being. Many have completed the destruction of cluster munitions from their arsenals, inspections have been ca rried out and legal measures have been established in many countries for protecting civilians from the cluster bomb threat.