US Provides Over USD 2 Million to Support Information Management in UXO Sector

A group photo during the MOU signing ceremony | Photo credit: Vientiane Times

The United States of America supports strengthening the information management capacity of the national regulatory authority for the UXO/mine action sector in Laos.

In addition to its long-term commitments to support the unexploded ordnance (UXO) sector in Laos on survey and clearance activities, the Government of the United States of America is providing financial support with a total of over USD 2.3 million to Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) to strengthen the information management capacity of the National Regulatory Authority at the national, provincial and district levels.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to implement the Information Management Capacity Development project was approved by the Laos Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 31 October 2022 and signed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare’s National Regulatory Authority for the UXO Sector (NRA) and NPA in Vientiane on 14 November 2022, valid until 31 December 2024.

Strengthening the Information Management capacity will enhance the ability of the NRA to use data collection tools and provide more accurate and reliable information to relevant stakeholders, including the government of Laos, donors and other international organizations to support decision-making processes.

The capacity development project will provide the NRA with IT equipment, software, and systems at the national, provincial, and district levels. It will also assist NRA to develop information management standards, guidelines, and tools for the UXO sector.

The official induction ceremony, held on Monday in Vientiane, was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Mr. Padeumphon Sonthany, US Ambassador to the Laos, Dr. Peter M. Haymond, the Director General of National Regulatory Authority Office for UXO/Mine Action in Laos, Mr. Chomyaeng Phengthongsawat, the Country Director of the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) Mr. Aubrey Miles Sutherland and colleagues representing the above listed organizations.

US Ambassador to the Laos, Dr. Peter M. Haymond reaffirmed the US’ ongoing support for the UXO sector, “At the strategic level, we believe that Information Management is essential for all operations within the UXO Sector: from survey and clearance to risk education and victim assistance. It is also a core element of the recently approved National Strategic Plan for the UXO Sector, or “Safe Path Forward III”.”

Accurate, complete, timely, and reliable information is crucial for reporting and for supporting evidence-based decision making. Such information is also important for strategic planning and task prioritization, to help make UXO clearance activities as efficient and effective as possible.

In partnership with NRA, NPA will implement this project in fifty-five districts in nine provinces across Lao DPR: Xieng Khouang, Savannakhet, Salavanh Khammouane, Champasack, Sekong, Attapeu, Luang Prabang and Houaphanh.