U.S., Vietnam to Hold Fourth Joint Advisory Meeting on Agent Orange/Dioxin
Hanoi, August 12, 2009
The United States Embassy and the Office of the National Steering Committee on overcoming consequences of Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam (Office 33) in the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment announced today that Vietnam and the United States would hold the fourth annual meeting of the Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) from September 8-10, 2009.
The JAC, a bilateral forum for high-level scientific dialogue on Agent Orange/dioxin, works to improve bilateral scientific coordination and cooperation on the human health and environmental effects of Agent Orange/dioxin through discussions of the scientific aspects of the dioxin issue to provide policy makers of the two governments with sound, science-based advice.
U.S. JAC members represent the Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense, and the Department of State. Vietnamese participants include the National Steering Committee 33, which coordinates Government of Vietnam policy on Agent Orange/dioxin, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Vietnam Academy for Science and Technology.
Previous meetings focused on technical exchanges for environmental and health research and documented achievements, collaborative relationships and potential avenues for progress. Last year, JAC members established environmental and health task forces to continue cooperation. This year’s JAC meeting provides an opportunity to detail important bilateral cooperation on health and environmental measures over the past year, along with noteworthy contributions from the broader donor community.
After consultation with the Government of Vietnam, in October 2008, USAID announced the award of $1 million to three partners in Danang to implement disabilities-related programs. Since that time, the partners have reached several performance milestones. In June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology initiated a pilot project at the Danang airport to test bioremediation as a possible remediation technology for dioxin contamination.
In June, USAID issued a request for proposals to procure services to conduct an environmental and gender assessment for proposed dioxin containment activities and to develop engineering designs and plans for dioxin containment at Danang Airport. Funding for the USAID-supported projects comes from the 2007 Congressional Supplemental Appropriation of $3 million for dioxin mitigation and health activities in Vietnam.
Earlier this year, Congress appropriated an additional $3 million to further support dioxin mitigation and health activities, which will be used to buttress ongoing disabilities and remediation projects in Danang.