During the Vietnam War, an estimated 580,000 or more bombing missions were carried out over Laos, dropping two million tons of ordnance across the country.1 This contaminated Laos with approximately 80 million items of unexploded ordnance (UXO),2 including ‘big bombs,’ cluster munition and sub-munition bomblets, grenades, rockets, and other types of ammunition.3 There also remain an unknown number of landmines across the country which are further remnants of the war. Today, fifteen out of eighteen provinces and approximately 25 percent of villages are still affected.4 Between 1964 and 2017, 50,754 people were killed or injured as a result of UXO and landmine accidents.5 While some landmines and UXO have been cleared, the task of demining the entire country will take considerable time and, though decreasing in number, injuries and deaths continue to occur. In response to these challenges, Laos ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) in March 2009, and the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in September 2009.6 Additionally, in 2012 Laos launched a National Strategic Plan for the UXO Sector and has committed to reducing the risk of UXO by 2030 through national Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 18: Lives Safe from UXO. SDG 18 not only provides targets for clearance activities, but also addresses the ongoing needs of survivors and victims.7



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