Author Archive of Janice

Agent Orange Day, August 10th: Da Nang Cleanup Project

 

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Agent Orange Day is today, August 10th. It marks the day in 1961 when the U.S. began aerial spraying of toxic herbicides over Vietnam. This year, Agent Orange Day marks the 51st anniversary of that fateful day. On this day we would like to draw your attention to the recent, exciting news out of Da Nang, Vietnam. On August 9, 2012, the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a joint project that will safely and completely destroy the dioxin in contaminated soils at the Da Nang airport. This announcement marks a dramatic new milestone in the collaboration between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments towards resolving the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam 37 years after the end of the war.

Ribbon cutting in Da Nang - August 9, 2012

The August 9th launch represents the product of efforts spanning multiple agencies in both governments and is a significant step forward in making Agent Orange history. We would like to draw your attention to just some of the media coverage that this event is attracting:

 

The Vietnamese Ministry of Defense & the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to launch a project to clean up dioxin in Da Nang, Vietnam

 

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Da Nang Vietnam, August 8, 2012 –– On August 9, 2012, the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will launch a joint project that will safely and completely destroy the dioxin in contaminated soils at the Da Nang airport. This announcement marks a dramatic new milestone in the collaboration between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments towards resolving the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam 37 years after the end of the war.

Make Agent Orange History_Vietnam_Dioxin_Da Nang Cleanuo Demining

Soldiers work to remove land mines from the site of one of Vietnam's most severe dioxin hot spots, a former U.S. airbase in Da Nang. This is the first step in a joint U.S.-Vietnam effort to clean up this toxic hot spot.

The August 9th launch represents the product of efforts spanning multiple agencies in both governments.  It is also the result of many years of private efforts to address every aspect of the Agent Orange/dioxin legacy in Vietnam.  Walter Isaacson, the U.S. co-chair of the US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin and CEO of The Aspen Institute, welcomed the news: 

“This ceremony marks the coming together of our two countries to achieve a practical solution to dioxin contamination. As important, the U.S. government is also devoting more resources to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in Vietnam, regardless of cause.  This is a humanitarian issue we can do something about, and the Aspen Institute is proud of its role in helping to convene the Dialogue Group and advance enduring responses to the Agent Orange legacy.”

The Aspen Institute has served since 2007 as the U.S. secretariat for the Dialogue Group, which includes prominent scientists, environmental experts, and former officials from both countries. The Dialogue Group is co-chaired by Walter Isaacson and Ambassador Ha Huy Thong, vice chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Vietnam’s National Assembly and convened by Susan V. Berresford, former president of the Ford Foundation.

As a follow up to its 2010 Declaration and Plan of Action to address the Agent Orange legacy, the Dialogue Group’s June 2012 Second Year Report offers well-researched recommendations from experts in both countries for addressing the needs of people and families whose challenges may be linked to dioxin exposure, cleaning up all the remaining dioxin hotspots and restoring damaged landscapes. The Dialogue Group is hopeful that its reports will inform each government’s efforts.

The Aspen Institute’s Agent Orange in Vietnam Program (AOVP) is a multi-year project to help Americans and Vietnamese address the continuing health and environmental impact of herbicides sprayed in Vietnam during the war. The program promotes dialogue on solutions to the continuing impact of the wartime use of herbicides in Vietnam. The program provides the U.S. secretariat for the bi-national US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin and manages the Agent Orange in Vietnam Fund supporting model projects benefiting people with disabilities in Vietnam.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

 

Sec. Clinton Emphasizes the Private Sector’s Role in Addressing the Legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam

 

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During a joint press conference on July 10th with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at the Government Guesthouse in Hanoi, Vietnam, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton drew attention to the significant role of the private sector in resolving the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

Reflecting on her discussion with her Vietnamese counterpart, Secretary Clinton said:

“As we discussed, I have worked very hard to make sure that the United States is addressing the Agent Orange issue. It is a legacy issue that we are – we remain concerned about, and we have increased our financial commitment to dealing with it. The Minister and I discussed consulting on having a long-term plan so that we can look not just from year to year, but into the future to try to determine the steps that we can both take. The Minister also mentioned the idea of getting the private sector involved in remediation efforts, and we will certainly explore that as part of this ongoing discussion.”

Secretary Clinton’s remarks come at a time when the needs of those affected by Agent Orange in both the US and in Vietnam are being addressed more comprehensively than ever before. While we are moving forward, much more remains to be done. Take a look around the Make Agent Orange History website, and the Get Involved section for more ways you can contribute to the movement of making Agent Orange history.

Read a full transcript and watch a video of Secretary Clinton’s remarks here.