Support of UXO Clearance in Lao PDR

Projekt abgeschlossen
Unexploded Ordinace disposal team member, Lao PDR. © Touravanh/SDC.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has supported the clearance of unexploded ordnance in Lao PDR since 2006.

Land/Region Thema Periode Budget
Politik des öffentlichen Sektors
01.10.2013 - 31.12.2016
CHF 4'488'000

From 1964 to 1973, Lao PDR was drawn into the conflict in Indochina, and the country was subjected to the heaviest military bombing campaign in history. More than two million tons of ordnance was dropped on Lao PDR during this period, including cluster bombs, which are designed to explode above ground and spread many small “bombies” over a large area for a more damaging effect. A total of 270 million bombies were dropped on Lao PDR. Eighty million of these, an estimated 30 percent, failed to explode on impact.

Today, almost 40 years after the end of the conflict, unexploded ordnances (UXO) continue to injure or kill about 50 people a year. At the same time, the demand for land suitable for agriculture continues to rise. The presence of UXO, however, prevents the advancement of agriculture as well as that of social infrastructure and other socio-economic development. Therefore, clearance of UXO is directly linked to reduction of poverty in Lao PDR.

Recognizing UXO contamination as a major constraint to national development, the Lao government established UXO Lao as the national UXO operator in 1996. UXO Lao is the biggest clearance operator in the country and also provides mine risk education programs.

In the early 2000s, the Lao government formed a national strategic plan for the UXO sector, which called for the establishment of a national regulatory organ. In 2006, the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) became operational and was tasked with regulating and coordinating all UXO sector activities, including clearance, mine risk education, and support of UXO victims.

SDC has supported UXO clearance activities since 2006. SDC’s support has allowed UXO Lao to expand operations and has helped the National Regulatory Authority to become operational. Since 2010, SDC has been supporting the clearance of UXO through a United Nations Development Programme trust fund for the UXO sector.


SDC’s overall goal is to support and further strengthen the institutional capacity of UXO Lao and NRA. SDC seeks to enable these institutions to:

  1. achieve their national objectives for the UXO sector as set out in the national strategy, The Safe Path Forward II;
  2. meet all obligations under the international treaty on cluster munitions and other relevant treaties; and
  3. contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the national Millennium Development Goal 9 on reducing UXO impact.

Erwartete Resultate:  

SDC expects that UXO Lao, as a result of the support, will be better able to manage UXO clearance activities and risk education programs, to the benefit of local communities. Specifically, SDC expects that UXO Lao by end of 2015 will have:

  1. Released 9,000 hectares of priority land;
  2. Destroyed 200,000 UXO items;
  3. Carried out clearance, survey, and risk education activities that will have benefitted 800,000 people.

In addition, SDC expects that its support to NRA will enable the institution to effectively provide policy guidance, helping to coordinate, regulate, and steer the UXO sector in support of national development.

Specifically, SDC expects that NRA by the end of 2015 will have:

  1. Developed, approved, implemented, and monitored a multiyear work plan for the sector;
  2. Completed district surveys and UXO clearance plans;
  3. Established a functional civil society funding facility to better integrate the work of civil society operators into the sector;
  4. Tracked and supported UXO accident survivors;
  5. Supported Lao PDR to meet all obligations under the International Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Resultate von früheren Phasen:  

UXO Lao still conducts the greatest share of UXO clearance activities in Lao PDR, improving human security and increasing the amount of land available for agriculture and other activities that can lead to socio-economic development.

Between 2010 and 2012, UXO Lao cleared more than 9,000 hectares of land and destroyed 75,000 UXO items to the benefit of more than 1.2 million people. UXO Lao educated 450,000 people in 1,800 villages on the risk of UXO accidents. In 2012, the recorded number of UXO casualties was 56, down from about 100 in 2011, representing a 47 percent decrease in annual UXO casualties.

During this period, NRA has played a key role in the development of the new national strategic plan for the UXO sector: The Safe Path Forward II (2011-2020). Since the Lao government approved this strategy in 2012, NRA has continuously sought to better integrate the UXO sector into national planning and budgeting processes.

Support from SDC and other development partners has strengthened the institutional and human resources capacity of NRA: Lao nationals now lead core functions, and the gender balance within the staff has improved. In 2012, NRA recruited fifteen new staff members, seven of whom were women.

Lastly, NRA continues to lead Lao PDR’s efforts to be fully compliant with the obligations under the international treaty on cluster munitions. The International Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits all use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions, and it has established a framework to ensure adequate care and rehabilitation to survivors and their communities, clearance of contaminated areas, risk reduction education, and destruction of stockpiles.


Verantwortliche Direktion/Bundesamt DEZA
Kreditbereich Entwicklungszusammenarbeit
Projektpartner Vertragspartner
Organisation der Vereinten Nationen (UNO)
  • Entwicklungsprogramm der Vereinten Nationen
  • UNDP Representation in Lao PDR

Budget Laufende Phase Schweizer Beitrag CHF   4'488'000 Bereits ausgegebenes Schweizer Budget CHF   3'868'041

Phase 3 01.10.2013 - 31.12.2016   (Completed)