|IAEA Technical Co-operation - A Partner in Development|
IAEA's Technical Co-operation Strategy
During the last 40 years the IAEA has delivered almost US $ 800 million in technical support to its developing Member States. In 1958, technical programmes aimed at building national capacity in nuclear science and technology were carried out in 42 countries. In 1996, ninety-five countries and territories participated in technical co-operation in 49 principal areas of activity ranging from nuclear power to radioisotope investigations of human nutritional status. These activities, financed entirely from the voluntary contributions of developed and developing Member States, are now aimed at producing significant and sustainable social and economic benefits using national capacities in nuclear science and technology.
Becoming an active partner in national development is a new objective for the Agency's Technical Co-operation (TC) Programme, however the IAEA is not a "development" organization. Its traditional TC role has been in research, development and demonstration of nuclear based "solutions." Expanding the benefits of these solutions beyond the demonstration phase requires financial resources, project management and operational support that exceed the Agency's traditional resources. "Partners in development" is a new term used to describe the process of connecting technology to the end-user, and the active engagement of a broad community of interests that join to produce significant impact.
This publication illustrates some of the significant benefits of IAEA assistance - how the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies are accelerating prosperity, improved human health and environmental sustainability in developing countries. Whether the realm of co-operation is breeding better food crops, eliminating insect pests, exploiting geothermal resources or ensuring that nuclear installations operate safely, the examples highlighted here demonstrate that IAEA-TC activities produce tangible results that are wise investments for the international community.
The featured activities are part of a new generation of "Model Projects" launched by IAEA-TC in recent years. They represent the wave of the future for Agency-sponsored work across the developing world, and are the bridge from "capacity building" to interactive development co-operation across many economic sectors in the 21st Century.
Model Projects must meet tough criteria: respond to priority national and regional needs; produce sizable economic and social impacts; employ nuclear technologies only when they have distinct advantages over others; and attract strong government commitment. As such, Model Projects stimulate a "problem-solving" approach - and a very intensive dialogue between the Agency and government partners. Together, they develop detailed work plans and objective performance indicators; and, as illustrated in this booklet, reach well beyond the counterpart institutions to beneficiary communities and the general public.
The stories appearing in this publication provide first hand perspectives illustrating clearly who benefits from IAEA Technical Co-operation projects: partner governments and specialized institutions; trainees; technology end-users in selected communities; and the natural environment upon which they all depend. We have purposely given special attention to the problem-plagued African continent, demonstrating the kind of progress that can be achieved there given the political will and the proper organizational framework.
But individual projects alone, even successful ones, are unlikely to yield broadscale and sustainable impacts unless they are part of a comprehensive developmental strategy. With this objective in mind, the Agency has launched several broader policy initiatives to better co-ordinate the uses and applications of nuclear technologies for maximum economic and social impact.
In the years to come, IAEA will be expanding the Model Project approach through "Country Programme Frameworks" that identify priority activities in each developing Member State, and "Thematic Planning" that singles out the most significant technical solutions for duplication across several Member States. These new programming mechanisms will ensure that IAEA Development Partnerships, both in each country and regionally, are focused on just a few priority areas that can produce the greatest benefits. It is most appropriate that the first thematic plan now becoming operational is in the area of radiation protection - meeting the Basic Safety Standards that are a statutory pre-condition for all activities involving ionizing radiation.
In some countries, the combination of increased investment, demonstrated technology and a more vibrant commercial sector is moving the development process forward very quickly. By strategically focusing its human and technical resources on areas of maximum benefit, IAEA's TC efforts will continue to meet the needs of its Member States, regardless of their level of development or technological sophistication.
Many nuclear techniques are relatively cheap, simple to handle and offer excellent and often unique benefits in areas such as pest control, water resources management, human health and environmental protection. The strong interest from developing countries in acquiring these techniques is resulting in a growing demand for IAEA Technical Co-operation.