Decades after the war, harmful effects of Agent Orange are still being felt by millions in Vietnam, including children. In 2007, responding to this humanitarian concern, the Ford Foundation convened a bi-national committee of private citizens, scientists and policy-makers working to address the long-term impact of Agent Orange in Vietnam.
In June 2010 the group, known as the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group, released a comprehensive 10-year strategy to address the long-term impact of Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam. The Plan calls on a shared investment of $300 million dollars to clean dioxin-contaminated soils, restore damaged ecosystems and expand services to people with disabilities. The Dialogue Group wrote:
“The Plan would be carried out in three phases over ten years and would cost an estimated $300 million. It would offer a significant part of the long-term solution to the Agent Orange/dioxin legacy in Vietnam. The U.S. government should play a key role in meeting these costs, along with other public and private donors, supplementing an appropriate continuing investment from the government and people of Vietnam.”
Specifically, the Plan proposes five key areas of action:
- To improve the lives of Vietnamese with disabilities.
- To contain and clean up dioxin at three priority ‘hot spots’.
- To set up a modern dioxin testing laboratory in Vietnam.
- To foster programs training the Vietnamese in the restoration and management of damaged landscapes.
- To educate the U.S. public on the issue.
America is at its best when it responds to humanitarian concerns, restores hope and dignity to a devastated people and closes wounds from the past. We all have an opportunity to do this in Vietnam today.
Read the full Plan, then: Join the Dialogue Group in calling for a new future for Vietnam »