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Last Updated: 22 November 2013

Support for Mine Action

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is heavily contaminated by explosive remnants of war (ERW), mainly unexploded ordnance (UXO) dating back to the war with the United States (US) in the 1960s and first half of the 1970s. Vietnam contains some of the most widespread and extensive contamination from cluster munition remnants in the world. There is, however, no precise figure measuring the extent of the remaining contamination.[1]

In 2012, eight donors contributed US$8.7 million for clearance and victim assistance.[2] Victim assistance contributions totaled $1.8 million with six donors supporting 12 projects with the ICRC, Project Renew, PeaceTrees Vietnam, the International Center/Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, Clear Path International, Solidarity Service International, Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, the Humpty Dumpty Institute, and Catholic Relief Services, in addition to Norwegian funding to the Survivor Network through the ICBL.[3] In 2013, USAID commenced a new three-year, $2.3 million project for people with disabilities.[4]

In 2012, as in previous years, Vietnam did not report national contributions to mine action or publish any details of land released through clearance or technical survey. Nevertheless, various sources indicate national spending may be significant. In April 2010, Vietnam released its 2010–2025 National Mine Action Plan. Although the plan did not include projected costs, a media article at the time of the plan’s release reported Vietnam “annually invests hundreds of billions of dong on disposing UXO and supporting victims.”[5] In 2011, the commander of the Army Engineering Corps of the People’s Army of Vietnam reported in an interview with the Monitor that Vietnam spent $89 million in 2009 and around $100 million in 2010 on mine action.[6] No comparable figures are available for 2011 or 2012.

The lack of transparency and legislative oversight also makes tracking government expenditures for mine action difficult. There is no national mine action budget. The government of Vietnam’s budget structure involves a combination of national and provincial revenue sources from taxes, fees, bonds, and state-connected “private” firms. In Vietnam, the Ministry of Defense is a self-contained military-industrial complex in which profit-making entities (road construction, telecoms, manufacturing, etc.) subsidize the ministry’s budget. The Engineering Command and army firms receive payments as revenue for the ministry, data that the Engineering Command must collect and compile. Research conducted by the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD) has found that as many as six central provinces in 2011 spent an estimated $4 million on mine action. Additionally, based on 2009–2010 data, government and private investor funds could account for as much as an estimated 90% of mine clearance in Vietnam. Like other affected countries where large investments are being made in public infrastructure (such as Afghanistan, Angola, and Cambodia), Vietnam is also improving its infrastructure through investments in transportation and poverty reduction that require parallel investment in demining. Little information is available on these investments.[7]

The new mine action center falls within a National Mine Action Plan for 2013−2015 released in May 2013. The plan calls for clearance of 1,000km² a year to support socio-economic development, giving priority to provinces with the highest levels of contamination and accidents. The Army Engineering Command estimates it would need at least double the current number of clearance teams to achieve such a target. In addition, Vietnam proposes to set up a new training center and a national database, which is understood to mean that the new Vietnam Mine Action Center will take responsibility for the database currently located at the Technology Centre for Bomb and Mine Disposal (BOMICEN). The proposed cost of the plan is VND14 trillion (approximately $677 million). The government hopes to raise a little over half of this figure from foreign sources.[8]

International contributions: 2012[9]



Amount (National currency)

Amount ($)


Clearance, victim assistance



United Kingdom





Clearance, victim assistance




Clearance, victim assistance




Victim assistance








Victim assistance




Victim assistance







Thematic contributions: 2012


Amount ($)

% of contribution




Victim assistance






Summary of contributions: 2008–2012[10]


Amount ($)















[1] See ICBL-CMC, Country Profile: Vietnam: Mine Action, 5 October 2012.

[2] Australia, Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), Amended Protocol II, Form B, 28 March 2013;

Germany, CCW, Amended Protocol II, Form B, 22 March 2013; Ireland, CCW, Amended Protocol II, Form B, 22 March 2013; Japan, CCW, Amended Protocol II, Amended Protocol II, 28 March 2013; response to Monitor questionnaire by Ingunn Vatne, Senior Advisor, Department for Human Rights, Democracy and Humanitarian Assistance, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 11 April 2013; response to Monitor questionnaire by Richard Bolden, Policy Analyst Mine Action, Arms Exports and ATT, Department for International Development (DfID), 7 May 2013; and US Department of State, “To Walk the Earth in Safety 2013,” Washington DC, August 2013.

[3] Email from Charles A. Stonecipher, Program Manager, East Asia and the Pacific, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, US Department of State, 20 July 2012. Australia, CCW, Amended Protocol II, Form B, 28 March 2013; Germany, CCW, Amended Protocol II, Form B, 22 March 2013; US Department of State, “To Walk the Earth in Safety 2013,” Washington DC, August 2013, Japan, CCW, Amended Protocol II, 28 March 2013; andTaiwan makes fresh donation to help Vietnamese landmine victims,” Focus Taiwan, 24 May 2013.

[4] US Embassy Vietnam, “Remarks by U.S. Ambassador David Shear at the Blue Ribbon Employer Council Awards and Launch of the USAID Disability Support Program,” 17 April 2013; and email from Rob Horvath, Manager, Leahy War Victims Fund, USAID, 2 August 2013.

[5]PM approves programme on unexploded ordnance,” Vietnam News (Hanoi), 29 April 2010. The equivalent of VND100 billion is approximately $5.28 million. Average exchange rate for 2009: US$1=VND17493.10, Oanda, www.oanda.com.

[6] Interview with Sr. Col. Phan Duc Tuan, Deputy Commander, Army Engineering Command, People’s Army of Vietnam, Geneva, 30 June 2011.

[7] Email from Ted Paterson, Head, Strategic Management, GICHD, 12 September 2012; and T. Paterson, “Financing Mine Action in Vietnam,” presented at Mine Action Donor Roundtable Meeting, Hanoi, 5 December 2011.

[8] Prime Minister’s Decision No. 738/QD-TTg, 13 May 2013; and interview with Sr. Col. Ban, Engineering Command, Hanoi, 18 June 2013. Average exchange rate for 2012: US$1=VND20691.8, Oanda, www.oanda.com.

[9] Average exchange rate for 2012: A$1=US$1.0359; €1=US$1.2859; ¥79.82=US$1; NOK5.8181=US$1; £1=US$1.5853. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 3 January 2013.

[10] See ICBL-CMC, “Country Profile: Vietnam: Support for Mine Action,” 5 October 2012.