Lao PDR launches "SDG18" to remove Unexploded Ordnance

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the eighth summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United Nations (ASEAN-UN Summit), in Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) has been praised by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for launching its own national Sustainable Development Goal or SDG on removing Unexploded Ordnance or UXO.

Ban Ki-moon made the remarks at the opening of the 8th Association of South East Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Summit in the country's capital Ventiane.

This goal will add to the 17 SDGs or development goals launched by the UN aimed at ridding the world of extreme poverty and protecting the planet.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

More than three decades after the end of the Second Indochina war also known as the "Viet Nam war", Unexploded Ordnances continue to kill and maim people in Lao PDR every day.

Often described as one of the "most bombed countries in the world", the Southeast Asian country was the second signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions after Norway.

The Convention is an international treaty that prohibits the use, production, transfer and storage of these explosive weapons.

Here's Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General.

"Let me congratulate Lao PDR for the official launch today of its own national SDG; number 18 on removing Unexploded Ordnance, which reflects our shared goals of peace, people-centred sustainable development and respect for human rights."

In the past 20 years, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme or UNDP, Lao PDR has cleared more than 300 square kilometres of land for safe use.

It has also destroyed more than 1.3 million UXO and made more than 11,000 visits to villages to teach communities about the risks of unexploded bombs.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’25″

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