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Clearance

The Clearance Unit has two primary areas of responsibility:

Oversight of the technical process of land release, done via clearance or survey, and of dealing with the UXO uncovered

Coordination of Clearance resources so that they are sent to the areas that have been prioritised as having the greatest need.

It is the latter of these two that the Unit and the NRA is becoming more focused on. The technical ‘clearance’ (search and disposal) process is now well established within UXO clearance organisations, and the expectation is now that they know what they are doing and are performing activity effectively. The Unit also checks and verifies that this is happening through Quality Assurance and Quality Control processes. However, the team is now re-focusing towardsthe coordination of clearance resources in an effort to ensure they are applied to those communities with the greatest need.

Clearance of UXO within Lao PDR has two interlinked purposes, reducing risk by the removal of UXO and, ensuring that land can be safely used without the threat from UXO. Today, 37 years after the last bombs dropped the scale of contamination remains vast, yet communities ‘cope’ and have developed many practical ways of dealing or at least co-existing with the presence of UXO. Whether that is right or acceptable is a question of national and international interest, but for villagers who live with the contamination, the question and answer have to be pragmatically addressed.

For the NRA, this means exploring innovative ideas for practical approaches to clearance requirements, usually through research studies and possible pilot programmes. Topics that are currently under consideration include empowering more community or district management of the UXO threat, village based clearance, increasing the number of mobile response teams, regulating/supporting the scrap metal trade, and post clearance impact assessments.

  Regular Activities

 

- Arranging and chairing regular technical working group meetings of clearance operators and interested parties, on a monthly basis to share information and discuss technical issues

 

- Field monitoring visits to all provinces where operations are in progress, and to others in the where they are required but not yet established

 

- Assisting in the start up and introduction of new projects
  - Providing training in GIS systems and hardware
  - Being closely involved in forward planning and identification of clearance needs in line with local priorities and national obligations under the CCM