IAEA welcomes technical cooperation growth

05 June 2017

The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's) Technical Cooperation program has produced another 15 agreements, which were signed during last week's conference to mark the 60th anniversary of the program. IAEA deputy director-general Dazhu Yang said the latest agreements were testimony to the importance of partnerships in the pursuit of development objectives.

All IAEA member states are eligible for support, although in practice technical cooperation activities tend to focus on the needs and priorities of less developed countries. The Technical Cooperation program provides support in the following areas: health and nutrition, food and agriculture, water and the environment, energy planning and nuclear power, industrial applications and radiation technology, safety, and nuclear knowledge development and management. Support is delivered through fellowships and scientific visits, training courses, workshops and seminars, expert assistance, and the provision of equipment and materials.

The International Conference on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Program: Sixty Years and Beyond, held between 30 May and 1 June in Vienna, had more than 1160 participants from 160 countries and 27 organisations.

Representatives of 11 countries - Benin, the Central African Republic, Cuba, Honduras, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and Vanuatu - signed Country Program Frameworks with the IAEA. These identify priority areas where the transfer of nuclear technology and technical cooperation resources will be directed to support national development goals and priorities.

Yang said the country program framework had been an "instrumental tool for strategic planning where priorities to be addressed through the Technical Cooperation program are identified". He added: "This framework will play a major role in the years to come to link, as appropriate and where relevant, national priorities with the UN Sustainable Development Goals."

An agreement was also signed between the IAEA and Thailand that will facilitate the organisation and hosting of IAEA activities, such as training courses and workshops in Thailand.

During the meeting, practical arrangements were also signed with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). The agreement with CARPHA provides a framework for joint work on the use of nuclear science to prevent disease and promote and protect health. The agreement with SPC - the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region - aims to increase collaboration in the promotion of science, technical expertise, research and innovation to address development challenges and support economic and social progress. The agreement with PAHO will support cooperation in fields that include quality assurance in radiation medicine, radiological safety, cancer control, non-communicable diseases and nutrition, and the development of health personnel in Latin American and the Caribbean.

Yang said, "Looking to the future, Sustainable Development Goal 17 recognises the role of science, technology and innovation as essential enablers for development, and emphasises the importance of partnerships as a critical means of implementation. Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires multi-actor collaboration, and cannot be addressed in isolation. Fostering partnerships that promote integrated approaches to development will support a more effective technical cooperation program, and will also ensure coordination and complementarity of activities."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News