Shared Pledge Shared Vision

The IAEA & Africa's New Partnership

by Ali Boussaha & Christian Sina Diatta

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The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is a pledge by African leaders to eradicate poverty and to promote sustainable growth and development. NEPAD is a "new framework of interaction with the rest of the world, including the industrialised countries and multilateral organizations." The agenda is based on regional priorities and development plans and its implementation relies on African ownership and management.

As a UN system organisation, the IAEA strongly supports the priorities identified in the Millennium Declaration and the New Partnership for Africa's Development. As a technical agency, the IAEA shares its recognized core competencies and technical expertise in support of NEPAD goals. Efforts aim at strengthening institutional capacity building in nuclear sciences and technology and promoting the sustainable application of nuclear techniques for social and economic development.

The IAEA has a membership of 34 African countries. The Agency supports them under its technical cooperation programme through provision of expertise, training opportunities and equipment in priority areas identified by the countries themselves.

For many African Member States, meeting basic human needs through the implementation of poverty alleviation strategies remains the top priority on the agenda for national development plans and international cooperation programmes. In the context of sustainable development, special attention is being paid to enlarging the contribution of isotopes and nuclear techniques in major areas of economic and social significance and to promoting regional cooperation in nuclear science and technology related fields. As a partner in development, the Agency has promoted and undertaken programmes to support African countries' efforts to address priority development issues particularly in the areas of health care, food and agriculture and water resources development.

The IAEA technical cooperation mechanism includes support to the African Regional Co-operative Agreement for Research, Development and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA), which today has a membership of 30 African countries. For 2005-2006, the IAEA has allocated over $37 million to Africa from its Technical Cooperation Fund (TCF), out of which $12.5 million is earmarked to support regional cooperative projects.

In total, eight AFRA Regional Designated Centres have been empowered by AFRA Member States to help promote peaceful applications of nuclear techniques. They target areas of non-destructive techniques, mutation breeding and biotechnology, radiation oncology and medical physics, radioactive waste management, irradiation processing and maintenance of scientific equipment. Improving national nuclear institutions capability as well as management skills of African managers, decision-makers and scientists at all levels of responsibility is one of the highest priorities of the AFRA programme. Particular attention is being paid to service-oriented activities that can generate income and contribute towards the sustainability of scientific and technical institutions. In various areas, regional cooperation is being promoted through networking to increase impact and to further self-reliance and long-term sustainability goals on the continent.

Ridding the Pest: Agriculture and Food Security

Cows

The IAEA's work in Africa supporting NEPAD's strategic priorities related to agriculture and market access is aimed at poverty alleviation and food security goals. Assistance deals mainly with the application of radiation and isotopes in pest control, with special emphasis on tsetse eradication, and improving crop production and increasing livestock productivity through better disease control, artificial insemination and feed supplementation. In terms of project funding, 20.8 % of the TCF resources are allotted under the technical cooperation programme for 2005-2006 to food and agriculture.

Among the many projects identified by African countries, the IAEA is actively supporting the initiative of the African Union (AU) to carry out and co-ordinate the Pan African Tsetse and Trypanosomosis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC), which was launched in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in October 2001. The objective is to free sub-Saharan Africa from one of the main persisting constraints to sustainable development. The tsetse infests 37 sub-Saharan African countries, 32 of them among the 42 heavily indebted poor countries in the world.

The Agency contributes directly in the field to the implementation of PATTEC's Plan of Action by supporting activities in several countries. The Agency support focuses on the transfer of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) in the context of area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) in support of creating tsetse-free zones in selected areas in African Member States. Assistance has been provided to establish/upgrade tsetse-rearing facilities in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and the United Republic of Tanzania; to perform test sterile fly release in Mali; to develop standardized recording, reporting and management system for field operations; to collect entomological and veterinary baseline data in target areas; and to carry out genetic studies of tsetse fly populations. Under the 2005-2006 programme, the Agency will continue providing support through national projects to activities connected to PATTEC in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda. Under a regional project, support will be given to the Member States' relevant activities in terms of awareness raising, technical planning, training and institutional capacity building.

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