Home Lao Chinese

Anne Marie Trevelyan, Minister of Indo-Pacific (fifth right) visited Mines Advisory Group (MAG) International and the Halo Trust.

Clearing a path to prosperity in Laos

Home to many dynamic economies, the Indo-Pacific region is critical to global prosperity and is also a frontline in the fight against climate change. That is why the Lower Mekong Valley, of which Laos forms part, is one of the six priority global areas where the UK will be investing to protect biodiversity and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Our presence here goes beyond climate action, however. As I have seen this week, underneath the beautiful landscapes of Laos a deadly secret is lurking: the threat of unexploded bombs.
Around 30 percent of the bombs dropped during the Vietnam War over 50 years ago did not explode on impact. Instead, they have remained in the ground for decades where they pose a daily risk – endangering lives and hindering education, agriculture and infrastructure.
Much work has been done to address this challenge, but around 1,600km² of land still requires clearance – equivalent to Nam Kading National Protected Area. I was delighted, therefore, to see the mine clearing work being done by British NGOs Mines Advisory Group (MAG) International and the Halo Trust.
UK development funding has enabled brave demining workers to destroy more than 27,000 unexploded items in Laos since 2019. With British former armed forces staff training deminers from the local community, each controlled detonation means lives saved.
Mine clearance also brings a host of other immediate benefits for the Lao people, facilitating access to water and sanitation, education, transport and humanitarian relief; and it enables communities to prosper in their own right, independent of UK support.
In areas blighted by the legacy of conflict, clearing landmines is a prerequisite to progress on many of the UK government’s other priorities, such as girls’ education.
According to MAG International, work to clear the areas around 115 schools in Laos resulted in a 30 percent increase in the number of pupils in education, strengthening the foundations of future growth.
And as the effects of climate change are felt more strongly with each passing year, communities can adapt by making productive use of land that was previously too dangerous to access.
This life-saving work, aided by British expertise and funding, is helping Laos to turn the page on this tragic chapter in its history and look towards a prosperous future.
Over the course of this week I have seen so many areas where the UK-Laos partnership is supporting this ambition: by protecting the climate, empowering young people and championing Lao’s priorities as incoming Asean Chair in 2024.
But there always is more we can do. As the UK deepens its relationships with partners across the Indo-Pacific region, we are working with Laos on the issues that matter most here, from education and health to sustainable development – and of course, keeping people safe through mine clearance. Together, we are clearing a path to prosperity.
Author: the RT Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Minister of State for Indo-Pacific at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.


By ILO and Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update , September 6, 2023)

Newspaper Subscription Prices l Newspaper Advertisement Prices l Online Advertisement Prices l Online Subscription Prices

Vientiane Times Phonpapao Village, Unit 32, Sisattanak District, P.O.Box: 5723 Vientiane, Lao PDR
Tel: (856-21) 336042, 336043; Fax: (856-21) 336041;
Email: info@vientianetimes.la
Copyright © 1999 Vientiane Times.