|Target date for completion of clearance||5|
|National funding of programme||5|
|Land release system in place||7|
|National mine action standards||7|
|Reporting on progress||7|
The national mine action programme in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) made solid progress in 2017, particularly in formalising procedures and plans for the national cluster munition remnant survey (CMRS) that began in 2018 and which will form the basis for longer-term planning and prioritisation of clearance. Acceptance and adoption of an evidence-based methodology to survey and clear cluster munition remnants (CMR), in line with international best practice, is an improvement on the request- and response-based system of the past.
The development and approval of a first-ever mine action sector-wide annual workplan for Lao PDR (for 2018), is an important step forward, as too was the announcement and completion of the long-awaited revised “Lao PDR UXO Survey Standards” for CMRS. The standards, completed in late 2017, were formally approved in July 2018.
Progress continued in cleaning-up the many historical errors in the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) database, largely relating to UXO Lao data, and which impede efficient implementation of the national baseline survey of CMR contamination now underway. However, evidence of falsification of UXO Lao data also came to light in 2017; this is subject to internal and external investigation.
- The National Regulatory Authority (NRA) should strengthen guidance on the prioritisation processes and criteria for CMR clearance tasks, in order to effectively address the large number of confirmed hazardous areas (CHA) being generated by the national CMRS.
- The NRA should continue to develop and expand its provincial-level capacity, and the NRA and clearance operators should strengthen coordination with provincial, district and village‐level authorities during implementation and planning of CMRS and clearance.
- The NRA should maintain efforts to address inaccurate and incomplete historical data in the IMSMA database, including making full use of the data correction tool developed by Sterling International.
- Improved cooperation and coordination is needed between clearance operators. In particular, national operator, UXO Lao, should ensure its data for historic tasks are made available to international operators as and when needed, to help inform survey and clearance operations.
- Procedures for issuing or renewing Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) should be streamlined, standardised, and made transparent, to avoid inefficiencies and excessive delays.
- Operators should ensure that the local communities fully understand the CMRS process and outputs, in particular through community liaison. This should clarify that technical survey is not the same as clearance, and that CHAs identified during the CMRS remain hazardous until the land is cleared.
- The NRA should seek to expand its external quality management (QM) capacity.
- Lao PDR should consider expanding the clearance capacity of the Lao armed forces.
- Lao PDR should ensure that investigations into the falsification of data by UXO Lao are completed in a transparent manner, and systems are put in place to prevent such occurrences in the future.