1. My delegation aligns itself with statements delivered by the distinguished representatives of Indonesia on behalf of the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) and by Cambodia on behalf of ASEAN.
2. Even though, the conventional weapons do not have destructive impact at the same level as weapons of mass destruction, but their extensive use can also cause harmful humanitarian impact with long term consequences. In this regard, the Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) presents a good example since it has humanitarian consequences long after the conflict ended.
3. The Lao PDR has gone through the traumatic experience of humanitarian and developmental impact caused by the use of conventional weapons. Therefore, we strongly support and actively participate in the work of the international community on conventional weapons control and disarmament. For this reason, the Lao PDR is a party to major international instruments namely the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and 4 of its protocols, and with particular importance given to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM).
4. Towards this end, being the second signatory to the CCM, the Lao PDR has been a proactive member of the Convention and hosted the First Meeting of State Parties (1 MSP) in 2010, when the State Parties adopted the Vientiane Declaration and Vientiane Action Plan for 2011-2015. These two important documents have charted out the road map for State Parties to further implement the CCM. Likewise, the Lausanne Action Plan, which was adopted in the 2nd Review Conference of the CCM in September 2021 will guide States Parties in making tangible and long-term progress toward universalization and implementation of the Convention for the period of 2021-2026,
5. The legacy of Indochina War has left behind numerous challenges which have prolonged until today as more than 270 million cluster sub-munitions were dropped on Lao soil and up to 30 percent of them failed to detonate upon impact. To this date, the Lao PDR continues to encounter negative consequences as unexploded ordnances scattered across our country have continued to kill and maim innocent lives, particularly children, and hampered socio-economic development and poverty eradication efforts.
6. To overcome these challenges, the Lao Government has adopted our national SDG18 entitled “Lives safe from Unexploded Ordnance” with the aim to remove the UXO obstacles to national development. Toward this end, the CCM obligations have been integrated into our National Strategy for the Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) called “Safe Path Forward 3” for 2021-2030 to continue addressing the problems caused by UXO. On this note, we count on the continued support and cooperation from the international community to help Lao PDR implement this specific national SDG18 along with other SDGs.
7. In conclusion, Lao PDR remains committed to continue working closely with all countries and development partners to enhancing international cooperation and assistance to countries affected by UXO and other explosive remnants of war in order to ensure that all lives are safe and people can enjoy their rights to development. I thank you, Mr. Chair.