In Lao PDR, on average, one man, woman or child is killed or injured almost every day by UXO (unexploded ordnance), mostly by cluster munitions. UXO contamination is an ongoing development challenge in the country. There appears to be a significant correlation between the presence of UXO and prevalence of poverty. Some of the most UXO contaminated areas are also among the poorest in the country. The presence of UXO causes food shortages in affected provinces, as it limits the expansion of agricultural production and villagers' ability to achieve sustainable livelihoods.
Lao PDR is the most heavily bombed country in history, with up to 25% of the villages contaminated with Unexploded Ordnance (UXO). During the period of 1964 to 1973, over 2 million tons of ordnance, including 270 million 'bombies' i.e. cluster sub-munitions, were dropped on Laos. With an average failure rate of 30%, approximately 80 million of them remained in Laos after the war. All 17 provinces of Laos suffer from UXO contamination.
Playlist shows six videos related to MDGs in Lao PDR. The country has experienced many remarkable advances over the decades, with the achievement of a number of the MDG targets likely. Real GDP growth has averaged more than 7 percent during 2006 and 2007. Poverty declined steadily from 46 to 26.9 percent according to the latest figures, and the country is on track to achieve the MDG target of halving poverty by 2015.
Despite progress work must be accelerated to ensure that all the MDGs can be met and that everyone can share in the nation's development. There has, for example, been little reduction in child malnutrition since 1990. Despite considerable efforts, 38 percent of children under five years of age are underweight and 41 percent suffer from chronic malnutrition. Maternal mortality rates at 405 per 100,000 live births are among the highest in the region.
In a special challenge to Lao PDR, the ever-present threat of unexploded ordnance (UXO) continues to destroy lives and hinder development. There is a strong correlation across the country between poverty and the presence of UXO and clearance is a precondition for the achievement of the MDGs.